Walt Disney

Wesley's Review

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve slowed down on my book reviews. This one really bogged me down and took what I felt like was forever to finish.

This is an exhaustive biography of one of the world’s best-known entrepreneurs. I’ll go one step further and say that from name recognition alone, Walt Disney is historically the world’s best-known entrepreneur. Even a two-year-old in China knows the name. What most people do not know is the entrepreneurial journey behind the name so prominently featured on parks, movies, shows, merchandise and what seems like everything else in the world these days.

Mostly, what people do not know about are all the total failures Disney had on his way to success. I certainly did not and it was refreshing to to read. We just assume that geniuses like Disney had it so easy on their path to greatness. This book tells the story of a man who failed to success through brute persistence and extreme work hard. Even the things we all think were successes were total failures. Dumbo, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia and so much more nearly put Disney into bankruptcy over and over. Then through pure luck he would stumble on an idea like merchandising, Cinderella, Davy Crockett and especially Disneyland that saved him from absolute devastation.

That’s a refreshing story for entrepreneurs like me. One day we think we are taking over the world. The next day we think we are going out of business. There’s never an in-between. The bipolar cycle repeats itself over and over and over again, and it’s through persistence and hard work that we keep our operations together with our fingertips. Walt Disney’s is the story of every entrepreneur. He just happened to have more creativity, the ability to see the future and a bit more luck that led him to eternal fame. More than that though, he dreamed big and risked bigger.

This was a long biography and like every long biography I’ve ever read, there were parts that didn’t keep my attention. There were many more parts where I could not put the book down. Gabler obviously spent years doing research to write this book and it paid off to show the complete view of such a fascinating figure who built a global phenomenon many times over. I really enjoyed this one and recommend it to everyone.

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