Powerhouse by James Andrew Miller
The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency


6 Critic Reviews

Miller dutifully chronicles that success, but absent an author’s voice and critical eye, Powerhouse limps to a desultory finish line.
-Entertainment Weekly


A New York Times bestseller

An astonishing—and astonishingly entertaining—history of Hollywood’s transformation over the past five decades as seen through the agency at the heart of it all, from the #1 bestselling co-author of Live from New York and Those Guys Have All the Fun.

The movies you watch, the TV shows you adore, the concerts and sporting events you attend—behind the curtain of nearly all of these is an immensely powerful and secretive corporation known as Creative Artists Agency. Started in 1975, when five bright and brash employees of a creaky William Morris office left to open their own, strikingly innovative talent agency, CAA would come to revolutionize the entertainment industry, and over the next several decades its tentacles would spread aggressively throughout the worlds of movies, television, music, advertising, and investment banking. 

Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled with CAA, as well as financial information never before made public, author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, greed, and personal betrayal. It is also a story of prophetic brilliance, magnificent artistry, singular genius, entrepreneurial courage, strategic daring, foxhole brotherhood, and how one firm utterly transformed the entertainment business.

Here are the real Star Wars—complete with a Death Star—told through the voices of those who were there. Packed with scores of stars from movies, television, music, and sports, as well as a tremendously compelling cast of agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, private equity partners, tech CEOs, and media tycoons, Powerhouse is itself a Hollywood blockbuster of the most spectacular sort.


About James Andrew Miller

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James Andrew Miller is the author of Running in Place: Inside the Senate and Live from New York. He has also written for the New York Times, Life, the Washington Post and Newsweek. His various positions in television include Senior Executive Producer of "Anderson Cooper 360" and Executive VP of Original Programming at USA Network. He lives in Bucks County, PA. Tom Shales won his Pultizer Prize for television criticism in the Washington Post. He is the author of On the Air!, Legends, and Live from New York, and has written for publications such as Esquire, Playboy, Life, Interview, among others. He lives in McLean, Virgina.
Published August 9, 2016 by Custom House. 757 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Aug 28 2016
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Powerhouse
All: 6 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Reviewed by JAMES B. STEWART on Aug 09 2016

Perhaps I’m naïve, but I came away from the book with the sense that CAA’s most enduring legacy will be the impact its agents had on the lives and careers of their many clients, amply documented in “Powerhouse.”

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by JONATHAN A. KNEE on Aug 08 2016

The more serious problem with Mr. Miller’s approach to the material in this particular milieu is captured by an observation made by Tom Hanks: “Here’s the thing. Agents lie to you every day.” Far too many of the interviews in “Powerhouse” have the feel of a tale often told and perfected over time.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by NORMAN PEARLSTINE on Aug 12 2016

Miller dutifully chronicles that success, but absent an author’s voice and critical eye, Powerhouse limps to a desultory finish line.

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NY Daily News

Reviewed by LARRY MCSHANE on Aug 06 2016

Author James Andrew Miller wrangled on-the-record interviews with all the principal players for his riveting oral history “Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency.”

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London Review of Books

Reviewed by Andrew O’Hagan on Oct 06 2016

...the story told in James Andrew Miller’s riveting book is really about the personalities who invented the game. It is, more particularly, the story of what Michael Ovitz gave to the world and what that world took away from him. It’s Citizen Kane to a disco beat with the moral sophistication of Forrest Gump.

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The Hollywood Reporter

Below average
Reviewed by Peter Biskind on Aug 16 2016

Unfortunately, the book’s greatest asset — its worm’s eye view of the CAA saga — is perhaps its greatest weakness. In the introduction, Miller asserts that “CAA has played a major role in transforming the entertainment business and the media in general,” but the book never tells us how; the author never zooms back to give us the big picture.

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