Michael Eisner is an American businessman who served as Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company from 1984 to 2005. Prior to Disney, Eisner worked as CEO of Paramount Productions and served for a brief time at NBC, CBS, and ABC.

Walt Disney Productions had really been struggling since Walt Disney’s unexpected death in 1966 and had barely survived hostile takeover attempts when its shareholders brought on Eisner and former Warner Brothers chief Frank Wells to turn the company around. A turn the company around they did!

During the early part of the 1990s, Eisner and his partners set out to plan “The Disney Decade” which was to feature new parks around the world, existing park expansions, new films, and new media investments.

Noteworthy Films Overseen By Eisner:

  • The Little Mermaid
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Lion King
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Aladdin
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Pocahontas
  • Mulan
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Pretty Woman
  • Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.

Note: He also launched the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise with The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, and partnered with Pixar Animation Studios on features such as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Monsters, Inc..

Parks Spearheaded By Eisner:

  • Disney-MGM Studios (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Disney’s California Adventure
  • Euro Disney (Disneyland Paris)
  • Walt Disney Studios
  • Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Tokyo DisneySea

Attractions Greenlit By Eisner:

  • Star Tours
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • IllumiNations
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Splash Mountain
  • Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune
  • Expedition Everest
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Fantasmic!
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Captain EO
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Soarin’
  • ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
  • SpectroMagic

As you can see, Eisner made a stride while filling Walt’s giant shoes. And despite any controversy regarding the once CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Eisner’s achievements and go-getter attitude proved to help the company far more than it ever hurt.

Sure, Walt Disney may have three times the amount of noteworthy catchphrases, but go ahead and give the following quotes a read. You are likely to find a great deal of wisdom in the words of Michael Eisner. After all, without him, we would not have the Disney we know and love today!


  • “A brand is a living entity and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.”
  • “A decision will be made before it’s too late or soon thereafter.”
  • “Balanced emotions are crucial to intuitive decision making.”
  • “Content has always driven the business. Now it’s no longer the queen to a king of distribution; it is the king, king, king because the consumer has a complete choice.”
  • “Creativity can flourish within sensible financial limitations.”
  • “Diversity is a great force towards creativity.”
  • “Doing stuff that I don’t have to talk about because I’m not in a public company is fantastic.”
  • “Failure is good as long as it does not become a habit.”
  • “Fear of failure is a far worse condition than failure itself because it kills off possibilities.”
  • “I don’t think individual achievement in business is the most meaningful way for it to operate.”
  • “I find that no matter how long a meeting goes on, the best ideas always come during the final five minutes when people drop their guard and I ask them what they really think.”
  • “I think when you get inured with the past, you get committed to the past, you stop growing.”
  • “If it’s not growing, it’s going to die.”
  • “If you’re really good, you should express yourself…a lot.”
  • “I’m not sure I was a typical head of a company. Most people that run big companies come out of sales and they come out of marketing and they’re quite serious and they have MBA’s from very good schools and things like that. I’m an accidental CEO, thank the Disney Company.”
  • “In every business, in every industry, management does matter.”
  • “Management is not a science, it is an art.”
  • “My best idea was to not accept my wife’s negative reaction when I asked her to marry me.”
  • “My strength is coming up with two outs in the last of the ninth.”
  • “Privacy laws are our biggest impediment to us obtaining our objectives.”
  • “Recovering from failure is often easier than building from success.”
  • “Sometimes you have to be worn out and burnt out to become authentic and original.”
  • “Succeeding is not really a life experience that does that much good. Failing is a much more sobering and enlightening experience.”
  • “The company should be run from a creative point of view rather than a financial point of view.”
  • “The movie business has always been like the wild-catting oil business. Everyone wants a gusher.”
  • “The odds of being successful are the same for every group that is educated in America. It’s just that the group that is not wealthy is 95 per cent of the population.”
  • “The only thing that gives [new technology] purpose is the kind of creative content we all produce.”
  • “The whole business starts with ideas, and we’re convinced that ideas come out of an environment of supportive conflict, which is synonymous with appropriate friction.”
  • “There’s a fine line between what would characterize you as a troglodyte and what would characterize you as a brilliant, avant-garde, forward-thinking genius. There’s some middle ground.”
  • “There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.”
  • “To punish failure is yet another way to encourage mediocrity.”
  • “User-generated content is not done by professionals. The best user-generated content eventually becomes those people gravitated in the professional world.”
  • “We all know that the Disney brand is our most valuable asset. It is the sum total of our seventy-five years in business, of our reputation, of everything that we stand for.”
  • “We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.”
  • “Well, when you’re trying to create things that are new, you have to be prepared to be on the edge of risk.”
  • “When I read biographies, I’m only interested in the first few chapters. I’m not interested in when people become successful. I’m interested in what made them successful.”
  • “Years later, I found myself running a network television division and then a movie studio and now an entire entertainment company. But, much of the success I’ve achieved can be traced to the direct and metaphorical lessons I learned in building those campfires.”
  • “You can’t succeed unless you’ve got failure, especially creatively.”
  • “You either play by the rules, change the rules, or get out, altogether.”
  • “You just have to make sure the model you’re working on does not undersell your product.”