Am I Next? The Murdoch Method -- A look at Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Book Review

I was extraordinarily excited to receive an Advance Reader's Copy of "The Murdoch Method: Observations on Rupert Murdoch's Management of a Media Empire" by self-described long-time friend and business consultant Irwin Stelzer

(Pegasus Books, Publishing Date:  May 2018 ISBN-13: 978-1-68-177792-4 PRICE USD 26.95)

Want to be a newspaper proprietor? A movie mogul? An icon? Irwin Stelzer’s inside knowledge shows us how it’s done.
— Maurice Saatchi (Baron Saatchi is the co-founder of Saatchi & Saatchi, the international advertising enterprise.) 

Unfortunately, I must describe the book as thin on insight and tedious in the type of detail that can be routinely found in other media sources.

This is not an easy read, or even a compelling tale, offering me little in substantiation of Saatchi's advance praise.

That Murdoch imagines himself to be an outsider fighting against the entrenched toffs and powers that be are less important than gaining insight into his thinking process -- which this particular volume fails to sufficiently elucidate. 

As for Murdoch's business philosophy, I can find little more than: 

one, create an "us versus them" environment to concentrate your employee's efforts against a suitable target;

two, engage in the type of financial engineering that allows you to attract and reap the benefits of your investment in brilliant men like Barry Diller, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and others whose insights and outstanding operational expertise created value to be passed on to the next generation; and

three, provide a flexible environment that is risk tolerant and accepts mistakes will be made.

That Murdoch may hate confrontation and prefers others to perform his dirty work or that his more liberal sons take some measure of direction from their uber-liberal wives is almost inconsequential to the Murdoch story while creating suspenseful doubt for the future of the enterprise under the son's management.

This is not the book that I imagined and cannot recommend it to anyone seeking insight into Rupert Murdoch's business philosophy or even an unvarnished recounting of significant business accomplishments. 

And, since this is an advance copy, perhaps the author still has time to supplement the material on Disney which appears to be Murdoch's latest corporate play. Selling off 21st Century Fox assets (including the film and television studio and a controlling stake in the Sky operation) to Disney for $66 billion in an all-stock sale which will leave Murdoch approximately 4.25% of Disney stock according to published reports. How the pieces will be re-arranged in the Murdoch empire would be a modern tale worth telling.

Is this a ploy to avoid inheritance taxes, avoid or mitigate necessary regulatory approvals, take the Murdoch enterprises private, or secure control for the second generation? But it may be a more compelling story than a tedious rehash of historical events through the eyes of a consultant that tries hard to establish his independence from his subject.

I recommend waiting until the book hits the remainder table or is heavily discounted to a few bucks by Amazon. Since there appears to be little in timely content, the wait may increase the price/value ratio significantly.