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Camp [Hardcover]

Michael D. Eisner

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Book Description

June 1 2005
Over the years, as a camper and a counselor, Disney CEO Michael Eisner absorbed the life lessons that come from sitting in the stern of a canoe or meeting around a campfire at night. With anecdotes from his time spent at Keewaydin and stories from his life in the upper echelons of American business that illustrate the camp's continued influence, Eisner creates a touching and insightful portrait of his own coming-of-age, as well as a resounding declaration of summer camp as an invaluable national institution.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (June 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446533696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446533690
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #550,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

No one who attended the Walt Disney Co.'s 2004 annual meeting could forget Michael Eisner's sangfroid before a throng of shareholders who were calling for his ouster.What helped calm Eisner during the storm, we now learn, was writing about the lessons he (supposedly) learned all those years ago at Keewaydin, the Vermont camp where Michael and other Eisner lads before him and after spent many happy summers.Eisner is a man of powerful charm and if one knew nothing else about him, this valentine to a place that is clearly his Rosebud might win the reader over (though an attempt to bring current interest to the account by following two disadvantaged youngsters transported to Keewaydin—thanks in part to the largesse of the Eisner family—doesn't really work). The account intercuts between Eisner's experience and the experience of Keewaydin campers today, with a healthy salting of lessons learned, along with a sprinkling of Eisner family history. Eisner perhaps unwittingly paints an unflattering portrait of his father, whom he calls Lester instead of Dad, while paying extensive homage to Lester's stand-in, Waboos, longtime Keewaydin director.Anyone lucky enough to have a happy, hokey place like Keewaydin in his life—a place of simple, steadfastly unchanging charms—can sense Eisner's manifestly genuine love of the experience.But as it happens, we know quite a lot about Eisner and much of it isn't flattering. [Masters has written and spoken widely and critically about the movie business, Disney and Eisner.—Ed.] So it's hard to stay focused on the Camp text when one's eyes keep rolling. (As when he writes, "Working in business can be another canoe trip.") Eisner tells us the Keewaydin code calls for a camper to be honest, loyal and "willing to help the other fellow." When he then says, "Many of my principles were Keewaydin principles," it's easy to wonder what other Keewaydin alumni might make of that statement.Eisner seems irresistibly drawn to write. That much came through during the Katzenberg trial (notes from Eisner's previous book—Work in Progress—were the source of his famous "I hate the little midget" quote). It happened again in last year's shareholder suit over the hiring and firing of Ovitz as Disney's president. On the witness stand, Eisner had to explain away his own memos calling his former pal a "psychopath" and a liar, among other things.Eisner could not stop himself then, and he cannot stop himself now. Camp was delayed last year, in the midst of the Disney drama, and Eisner comments tartly in his prologue that he was distracted by "people who could have used a few summers at camp earlier in their lives."Perhaps it would have helped if that Keewaydin code had included an admonition to "know thyself." 8-page photo insert. Kim Masters covers the business of entertainment for NPR and is the author of The Keys to the Kingdom: The Rise of Michael Eisner and the Fall of Everybody Else (HarperCollins).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Hilariously dishy....An E-ticket ride through the world's swankest summer camp."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes for a happy BART ride Jan. 25 2006
By Cmac-breed - Published on
One of the most powerful men in Hollywood says that much of all he needed to learn he learned at camp. He cites examples and weaves them with the present day experiences of two Orange County boys. Seldom has changed within the boundaries of Keewaydin over the last 80 years.

I liked the way that the two men blended their helps to make one not focus so much on who said what and stay with the story. Having attened a summer camp (Camp Beaverbrook in California) from 1977-1985 (until it's closing) I, too, can say that much of who I am today is derived from those experiences which give a child a parallel universe to school/home.

His retellings of the pivotal experiences that made him "part of the club" of adults and his realization that at 18 he was IN CHARGE of other people's kids just emphazises how "help the other fellow" is so ingrained in everything that this camp does.

Mr Eisner/Mr McPhee were "helped" into that sometimes horrifying revelation by experienced staffers who I KNOW kept an eye out all summer for transitional teens such as these.

I loved the fact that so many folks return each summer to be "staffmen"; a vision I had for myself regarding "my" summer camp. I was happy to see that people did indeed get that chance because my noncamp friends just didn't "get it" when I would say that had my camp remained open, my vacation would have been spent there.

Thank you, Mr Eisner and Mr McPhee for adding some oomph and credibility behind a general summer camp that focuses more on individual growth in a team environment than on competitive "brackets and ladders" ranking children far too early in their lives.

Individual accomplishment for the good of the team so that everyone can "win". (please do NOT confuse this comment with the silly "self-esteem" movement)

America's shareholders would be far better served by this same approach in Corporate America.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, for campers or parents of campers Aug. 6 2005
By Chipcinnati - Published on
I enjoyed the book. As a former camper myself (at another summer camp far away), I enjoyed the memories of my own that came back while reading Eisner's memories.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need to be a camp lover.... Jan. 21 2012
By Nancy S. Kyme - Published on
Verified Purchase
This work does not aspire to be great literature, nor does it need to. Its simple title, "Camp", says it all. Camp is, and should be, an interlude of simplicity amid adolescent confusion to emphasize life's basic truths; help the other fellow, success requires planning, only you can steer your own canoe, and teamwork is more important than winning. For those of us who love camp, we relish any opportunity to relive the experience. This book accomplishes this. But, more importantly, it reaffirms camp's worth to those brave parents who will make the sacrifice to send their children away for the summer. I appreciate this book, and understand Mr. Eisner's motives in seeing this work to fruition. Not only is it a tribute to his camp, but it validates all camps, and if it keeps such institutions thriving, this work is a success. Mr. Eisner has achieved much to be proud of, especially in the world of Disney, entertainment, and business. However, it would not surprise me if he places "Camp" above it all.

Memory Lake: The Forever Friendships of Summer
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Oct. 2 2007
By Amanda B. Reckonwithe - Published on
Eisner's descriptions of his experiences as a camper really hit home for me, I would recommend this book heartily. Coincidentally I also was a Beaverbod (attended Camp Beaverbrook) run by Amee and Niha and Mr Mahnke's Brother. The experience described in Eisner's book is much more "East Coast" than my own experience but still rings true if you ever went to summer camp. His descriptions of the aging Camp Director and the emotions he evokes are great. Good read!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like Beaverbrook Sept. 26 2007
By Kort E. Van Bronkhorst - Published on
Eisner's book is a wonderful reflection of his experiences over many summers at a prominent northeastern "sleepaway camp." Being a northern Californian, I was not exposed to this particular genre of camp experience, but my brothers and I were fortunate to attend a wonderfully similar enclave three hours north of us called Camp Beaverbrook, which featured most of the same experiences (save for the wonderful natural lakes) that Mr. Eisner recounts. Our camp directors, "Amee and Niha" (Bob and Marion Brown from Orinda, California) built the place by hand and created a wonderful place for young people ("Beaverbods," we called them) to grow up and learn to live with others. Mrs. Brown even wrote her own reflective book called "Past Tents," which is unfortunately out of print. If you enjoyed Mr. Eisner's book, you should also see the movie "Indian Summer," which never ceases to bring a tear to my eyes.

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