George: It seems like books about running your business the Disney way are a dime-a-dozen. It doesn’t mean they aren’t any good, but it’s obvious that the Disney Company is held in high esteem in regards to customer service and business innovation. Lots of businesses want to capture the magic (and money) of Disney and there’s a lot to choose from. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz by J. Jeff Kober is not your average “this is how Disney does it” business book. Kober worked at the Disney Institute before starting his own company, Performance Journeys, and continues to write and speak about transforming your business. But, as i mentioned, this book is a little bit different from all the others.
Jeff: Having read many of those other “make your business more like Disney” books, I wasn’t entirely looking forward to this one. Kobler really had to do something to make his stand out from the rest. And to be perfectly honest, I think he did just that. Despite writing about my least favorite Park, he presents the material in an interesting light. Instead of just listing things Disney does, he actually takes you on a journey through Disney Hollywood Studios itself.
George: I agree. Kober’s previous book really looked at customer service and this book takes a few steps away and offers more generalities, which is a really good thing. Kober visits each attraction, shop and restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and offers a bit of history–either about the location or something from the history of Hollywood that ties into the area. It’s surprisingly full of those awesome and nerdy little details that we love so much!
Jeff: I was actually pleasantly surprised with some of the stories he shared. Most of them had to do with that specific area, like George said, but a few were personal stories that he was recounting from his time working for Disney. Each story ties together pretty nicely at the end, and is followed up by a handful of questions that help to hone your business skills. Of course, people who don’t own their own business can get something out of it, also, and apply to their own work life.
George: As far as a business book, it’s pretty light, but it’s surprisingly nerdy when it comes to histories and details of the park. I’ve known Kober for years and he’s at the top of his game when it comes to performance management and customer service. He’s also a great storyteller and it shows in this collection of histories and anecdotes about Disney’s Hollywood Studios and stories about Hollywood and he entertainment industry. I’ve enjoyed all of Kober’s other works, but I was surprised by a few things. There were a few typographical errors in the book. I’m always forgiving of a book that comes out of a small press, but there were at least a handful of errors. Also, there were several call-out sections throughout the book that were done in a very odd font that was very hard to read. It seemed like an strange font to choose for a book.
Jeff: Agreed, the script font made those call-outs very difficult to see, and in some cases, I skipped them altogether because of it. However, these minor quibbles aside, the information contained in the book are great for any Disney geek, and chances are, you’ll learn a thing or two from it.
George: It’s an easy recommendation for both of us since Kober’s book presents such great information about the park. The chapters are short but packed with information, whether it’s historical or anecdotal. It’s easy to say that most everyone that picks up a copy is going to learn learn something and enjoy the book.
Are you going to pick up a copy of this book? What do you want to see in a book about Disney and business?
By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
Other places you can find George and Jeff:
- The 626 (Jeff)
- ImagiNERDing (George)
- From the Mouth of the Mouse (Jeff)
- Communicore Weekly The Greatest Online Show ™ (Jeff and George)
You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the MiceTube.