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Powerhouse

The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency
Written by: James Andrew Miller
Length: 25 hrs and 1 min
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An astonishing - and astonishingly entertaining - behind-the-curtain history of Hollywood's transformation over the past five decades as seen through the agency at the heart of it all, from the number-one best-selling author of Live from New York and Those Guys Have All the Fun.

In 1975, five young employees of a sclerotic William Morris agency left to start their own strikingly innovative talent agency. In the years to come, Creative Artists Agency would vault from its origins in a tiny office on the last block of Beverly Hills to become the largest and most imperial, groundbreaking, and star-studded agency Hollywood has ever seen - a company whose tentacles now spread throughout the world of movies, music, television, technology, advertising, sports, and investment banking far more than previously imagined.

Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that hot-blooded ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled CAA as well as financial information never before made public, acclaimed author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, drugs, sex, greed, and personal betrayal. Powerhouse is also a story of prophetic brilliance, magnificent artistry, singular genius, entrepreneurial courage, strategic daring, foxhole brotherhood, and how one firm utterly transformed the entertainment business. Here are the real Star Wars - complete with a Death Star - told through the voices of those who were actually there. Packed with scores of stars from movies, television, music, and sports as well as a tremendously compelling cast of agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, hedge fund managers, tech CEOs, and media tycoons, Powerhouse is itself a Hollywood blockbuster of the most spectacular sort.

©2016 James Andrew Miller (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kristopher KR
  • 2020-05-17

Full Circle, it seems...

“Live From New York” was the last book that I physically couldn’t put down. Never had I read a book from beginning to end in such a short time. The stories about SNL from all the names we know and a few we forgot were involved was simply fascinating and nostalgic at the same time.
“Powerhouse” reads in much the same way, except for the fact that most of the names involved are unfamiliar and for the most part, they are self-congratulatory. However, some of the stories are interesting.
This book is certainly not for everyone. If you don’t care about the movie/tv business, then you won’t find this book interesting except to discover just how cutthroat Hollywood can be.
By the end, it really felt like a bunch of bragging from every direction. And I found it sort of amazing how the whole story more or less came full circle.

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  • Mark Rockwell
  • 2020-03-10

Way too long!

This book is like a reporter’s notes for a much more concise, readable book. This book should be an “endnotes appendix” to a much shorter narrative.

All that said, the story of CAA is a good one, and however told it’s a fascinating listen. But I highly recommend 2x speed or faster.

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  • Mark Bleckley
  • 2019-12-01

Disjointed storyline and one-aided.

It was really hard to follow a storyline. The whole book is a series of disjointed interviews. It was also very on-side, focused one all the wins. I would have liked to hear more about the disasters, failures, and struggles also. There was also almost zero time spent on how the industry viewed CAA and the players along the way. I know their relationship with the studios was not always so rosy.

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  • Madmakx
  • 2019-09-14

Superficial and skin deep

There are no great insights here and the narration is annoying at best. This book is a series of comments from interviews that is somehow stitched together with NO actual editorial commentary or deep observations. Some of the most colorful people in Hollywood come off dull and flat.

The three narrators present this bizarre assembly of comments as if trained by by “Siri” or “Alexa”.

You won’t learn much about the super agency and will be left to fill in the blanks on your own.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-02-20

Rambling

This is a rambling disorganized portrayal of what should be a great story. Perhaps it would be best to read it. I recommend it fir people in the entertainment industry and communications majors.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-11-30

Good info..bad structure

Some cool stories and behind the scenes info on Hollywood agencies and the players. Slow structure with tons of short quotes from pieces of interviews and very repetitive.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tomas Dvorak
  • 2018-09-16

oral history

This is an oral history of CAA. It is 95% transcribed interviews with CAA employees and clients. Has lots of potential, but if you are looking for a multiple angle,deep analysis of the agency business this book is not it.

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  • Jeff Ferre
  • 2018-08-22

Tough w/ 3 narrators but very informative.

Once again, authors are not the best narrators and using a male and female narrator for all male and female quotes was tough to get used to. Could have used less of the long (self promoting) quotes, or perhaps more of the counterpoints from David Geffen and Ari Emanuel.

Despite that, it was very informative and I learned a lot about a Hollywood institution.

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  • Justin
  • 2018-07-26

Great book!

It was a great read, and I'm really glad that I listen to it. I now have a much better understanding of how it works in this world, and it was also very entertaining. I couldn't get enough.

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  • Tom Barreiros
  • 2018-06-06

Pulled back the curtain on a lot of events!

The story and performance made a dense subject enjoyable. CAA affected the lives of so many people and it was very interesting to learn about it all.