How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic in Your Every Day Life

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-08-01

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An inspiring biography of one of the most influential and beloved figures of the 21st century, based on more than a thousand interviews. "I've read every book that has ever been written about Walt Disney, going back to some that were published in the 1930s. [How to Be Like Walt] is by far the most enjoyable to read of them all!" Tim O'Day, Disney Scholar "How to Be Like Walt is a fitting tribute to Walt's memory and an important contribution to the Disney legacy . . . Now more than ever, we need people with the qualities Walt had: optimism, imagination, creativity, leadership, integrity, courage, boldness, perseverance, commitment to excellence, reverence for the past, hope for tomorrow, and faith in God." Art Linkletter How to Be Like is a "character biography" series: biographies that also draw out important lessons from the life of their subjects. In this new book-by far the most exhaustive in the series-Pat Williams tackles one of the most influential people in recent history. While many recent biographies of Walt Disney have reveled in the negative, this book takes an honest but positive look at the man behind the myth. For the first time, the book pulls together all the various strands of Disney's life into one straightforward, easy-to-read tale of imagination, perseverance, and optimism. Far from a preachy or oppressive tome, this book scrapes away the minutiae to capture the true magic of a brilliant maverick.

Author Biography

Pat Williams is senior vice president of the Orlando Magic and father of nineteen children, including fourteen adopted from four foreign countries. A lifelong fan and student of Walt Disney, Williams has written more than thirty books. Jim Denney is the author of Answers to Satisfy the Soul and the Timebenders science fiction series. He has collaborated with Pat Williams on several books, including Go for the Magic!, How to Be Like Jesus and The Three Success Secrets of Shamgar.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Art Linkletter ix
Chapter One: It All Started with a Boy 1(18)
Chapter Two: Anything Is Possible 19(32)
Chapter Three: Imagination Unlimited 51(22)
Chapter Four: Animated Leadership 73(36)
Chapter Five: Betting the Studio 109(18)
Chapter Six: Triumph to Tragedy 127(22)
Chapter Seven: The Plus Factor 149(28)
Chapter Eight: The Man with Stick-to-it-ivity 177(40)
Chapter Nine: A Sponge for Ideas 217(14)
Chapter Ten: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow 231(14)
Chapter Eleven: Living for the Next Generation 245(18)
Chapter Twelve: A Man of Singular Focus 263(36)
Chapter Thirteen: The Show Must Go On 299(28)
Chapter Fourteen: The Real Walt Disney 327(36)
Chapter Fifteen: Walt Lives! 363(28)
Acknowledgments 391(4)
Bibliography 395(5)
About the Author 400


Chapter OneIt All Started with a Boy When Walt Disney was just a boy, his father put him to work in the harsh conditions of a Kansas City blizzard then kept the money Walt earned. Even so, Walt embraced a nostalgia for his early years while dreaming big dreams of the future. I came to Orlando, Florida, in 1989 to help build a brand-new NBA basketball team, the Orlando Magic. Soon after I arrived, I discovered that everywhere you look, Orlando bears the imprint of one personality: Walt Disney.Walt never lived in Orlando. He only visited the town a few times before his death. Yet his vision and values have made Orlando what it is today a city unlike any other. You sense it in the optimistic spirit of the people you meet. You see it in the clean, broad streets and beautifully designed buildings. Walt's spirit is alive in this town.We named our team the Magic not only because the Magic Kingdom is practically next door, but because of the way Walt's magical personality has touched this community. While working to build our organization, I received help and encouragement from Disney executives, and came to know many of them well. Some, such as Bob Matheison, Dick Nunis and Bob Allen, were personally mentored by Walt. In August 1986, at an event at a Disney hotel, I sat next to Dick Nunis, who was then head of Disney Attractions. Dick began with Disney in 1955 and had known Walt well. So I asked him, 'What made Walt Disney so successful?' Then I spread out a napkin and jotted down everything he said. Dick shared story after story of Walt's life and I wrote each one down. Those stories helped shape my previous Disney-inspired book, Go for the Magic.In the years since I came to Orlando, I've made a second career of studying the life and words of Walt Disney. I've read every book I could find about Walt, and have spent hundreds of hours interviewing people who knew him. Though I never met Walt, I feel I know him well.Some people have told me it's impossible (even foolhardy) to attempt a book called How to Be Like Walt. 'The man was one of a kind nobody can be like Walt!' they told me. Yes, Walt was unique but does that mean there is nothing we can learn from him? Don't you believe it, my friend! There isn't a day that goes by that I don't apply one of the lessons of Walt's life to my own career and personal life. Though I never met him, Walt is one of my mentors. My life has been deeply impacted by this man. It would be fair to say that the Orlando Magic would not exist if not for Walt's influence.The title of this book is How to Be Like Walt but I'm not suggesting that you should open a cartoon studio or build a theme park. Whatever your dreams and goals, the lessons of Walt's life will serve you well. Whether you work in the field of entertainment, the arts, finance, industry, sales, government, philanthropy or religion, you will have greater success and make a greater impact on the world if you apply the principles of

Excerpted from How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams, Jim Denney
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