on August 7, 2014
As Zack Greenburg walks his reader through the maze of Michael Jackson's financial life, he demonstrates how the thread that ran through all of the phenomenal, record-breaking successes of the King of Pop was the man himself.
As in most things Michael Jackson, the media have typically provided over-the-top and misleading coverage of MJ's business dealings, overlooking his entrepreneurial prowess, visionary acumen, and genius. Zack reveals the surprising inside stories of MJ's acquisition of the largest music catalog in history, of his fantastical 2700-acre Neverland that reflected his core personality, and of the stratospheric earning power of the King of Pop. He also interprets the downfall of MJ and of his financial status in a thorough, credible, and interesting way, in parts difficult to read because of the pathos and victimhood in the story.
Although the public was fed negatively skewed material about MJ's finances across the years, Zack shows how the lens and yardstick with which MJ was perceived and measured were generally inaccurate and distorted. He presents the reader with a fascinating case study of the King of Entrepreneurship, who set the bar in so many areas for other artists to follow his lead. He was a game changer, whose soft voice and steel will combined to effect new ways of marketing music and monetizing celebrity. MJ studied the greats - in music, dance, and finance - and then became greater, a goal that he set for himself as a very young man.
MJ was indeed a trail-blazer in everything he did - dance, music, film, life-style, philanthropy - with risk-taking decision-making, out-of-the-box thinking, driving ambition, and a level of perfectionism that fueled his bigger-and-better obsession. And MJ achieved his #1 status in the music industry in spite of his poverty-level childhood, barriers of racism, and numerous obstacles that included false charges of criminal behavior related to children.
Using insights from his own background as a child star, Zack Greenburg demonstrates a real understanding of the "delicious, terrible, reality-bending world of show business." MJ dealt with that world for his entire 50-year life. He went from very poor to very wealthy to both poor and wealthy at the same time! During his last years MJ held valuable assets but was cash poor, which situation compelled him to return to rigorous preparations for a return to the stage. His untimely death, at the hands of his doctor who was treating him for insomnia with inappropriate drugs, ironically reversed the downward spiral of MJ's finances with dizzying speed. Today he is the highest-earning celebrity, and it was his intelligence, hard work, and creativity that have achieved that pinnacle.
Zack's writing is both fluid and powerful. It is somewhat similar to poetry in that he uses vivid images, similes, metaphors, and concise sentences. The writing style is one of the greatest strengths of this book. Having interviewed more than 100 people from MJ's life from various periods of his life, Zack also used many other primary sources to validate his extensive research.
Michael Jackson, Inc. is a must-read for Michael Jackson fans and for anyone who is interested in the financial workings of show business. It is a compelling study of the cost of fame and fortune and of the mind of the genius who was Michael Jackson.
Karen Moriarty, Author, "Defending A King ~ His Life & Legacy"