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Review: Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller

Before this book, I had no idea what the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) was. I didn’t know what they did or the power they held in Hollywood. I ended up learning more than I had imagined.

I was surprised to learn that it’s a big deal. CAA is one of the largest talent agencies. So many celebrities, producers, and athletics have been representative by this agency. For example, Nicole Kidman, Will Smith, David Beckham, Meryl Streep, David Letterman, and Former Vice President Joe Biden are or have been clients of CAA once in their career.

Because of their enormous list of celebrity clients, it makes sense that they would be very powerful in Hollywood.  It was so interesting reading about the movies and decisions that only happened because a CAA fought to make it happen.

For start to finish, I was hooked. This wasn’t a small book. It was around 700 pages. The amount of detail was not overwhelming or boring. It was always entertaining. It is the history of CAA, but it does include many outrageous, funny, and heartwarming stories about celebrities from the CAA agents.  

It’s a little hard to describe the way the book was written. It was written as an interview, but the questions were not included. It was told from the POV of many, including the founders of CAA, agents, and celebrities. Each person didn’t get a whole chapter, instead the POVs were woven together to create a complete story starting in 1974 and ending in 2016.

There’s something so fascinating about Hollywood. It’s like everyone there is part of one secret club, and you’re not in until your in. Obviously, this book didn’t give away all of Hollywood’s secrets, but it did provide a tiny peak into the exclusive club.

Hollywood is not as glamourous as it seems. Although CAA agents were not thrusted in the limelight and worked behind the scenes, it was interesting to see how their job impacted them. They worked hard to get and maintain their jobs at CAA, and it was not always rewarding. There were stories about betrayal, addiction, and failure.

Powerhouse didn’t paint CAA as the best place to work. It showed the ugly side of the business, and showed that it’s a dog eat dog world. And it interesting to read different accounts of the same story. Because no one has a perfect memory, some details told by one person were different when told by another.

Final Analysis

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency provides a look inside the inner workings of Hollywood. It doesn’t glamourous it or paint all celebrities as saints. Instead it shows Hollywood from the perspective of those who manage it. It’s full of interesting tales about how CAA became what it is today and the impact of the agency on celebrities and its agents.

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