The narrative unfolds as more of an oral history than a memoir, covering everything from Biondi’s first stint as an investment banker for one of the earliest emerging cable networks to being hired—and eventually fired—as the CEO of the sprawling media empire that was Viacom. The end result is an anecdotal, and highly entertaining, peek into the innards of a glamorous industry, alongside a spotlight of the man driving many of the financial and business forces behind it. Munna acknowledges the bulk of Biondi’s recollections take place during the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s—a world away from today’s media—but points out that the underlying challenges are eerily similar.
Several chapters are built around Biondi—or Munna’s—learning moments, such as Biondi’s ambition to “do the right thing whether or not anyone was watching,” which feels pedantic in places, but the subject matter quickly reverts to more entertaining line-ups. The stories of Biondi’s work on well-known films—think Star Wars, When Harry Met Sally, Forrest Gump, and more—is absorbing, with amusing tidbits like Biondi’s marketing ideas for the hit movie Babe: “We could roll out Babe roller coasters at Universal Theme Park, Babe stuffed animals, Babe lunch boxes.” Hollywood fans, and those interested in the business behind it, will give this a standing ovation.
Takeaway: An insider’s view of the business—and glamor—driving Hollywood.
Great for fans of: A Story Lately Told by Anjelica Huston; What Just Happened? by Art Linson.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A