Summary

From Boise to Beijing, Mattel's toys dominate the universe. Its no-fun-and-games marketing muscle reaches some 140 countries, and its iconic products have been a part of our culture for generations.Now, in this intriguing and entertaining expose, New York Times best-selling author Jerry Oppenheimer places the world's largest toy company under a journalistic microscope, uncovering the dark side of toyland, and exploring Mattel's oddball corporate culture and eccentric, often bizarre, cast of characters.Based on exclusive interviews and an exhaustive review of public and private records, Toy Monster exposes Mattel's take-no-prisoners, shark-infested corporate style. Throughout this scrupulously reported, unauthorized portrait, you'll discover how dangerous toys are actually nothing new to Mattel and why its fearsomely litigious approach within the brutal toy business has helped their products to dominate potential rivals, such as Bratz. Engaging and accessible, Toy Monster shows you why today's toy business isn't always fun and games.
©2009 Jerry Oppenheimer; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Critic reviews

"Jerry Oppenheimer, best known for mordant biographies like Just Desserts (about Martha Stewart) or State of a Union (on Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage), has now trained his sights on the world's biggest toy company - its egos, scandals and flawed products. In his toyland, nothing is cute." (The Wall Street Journal)
"Fast-paced and engaging, this exposé will absorb readers until the last page and will forever change the way they think about the company." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Ron on 19-11-09

Shock journalism at it's best

I really enjoyed listening to this book, it was very well researched but it was a shame that none of the executives it "rubbished" agreed to an interview. The only reason it lost 2 satrs for me was because it was too one-sided. I understand that if you write a book describing all the bad things a company has done, it would not look good for the company. But as a business owner, I realise that there are always 2 sides to every story. Some things are just unforgivable, but other things only seem that way on the surface.
This book was very informative, shocking, amazing, and more. The title is perfect, the author deserves his spot at the New York Times, because this reads like an extended article. At times it even reads like a full editorial, where "fact" becomes "opinion", especially when he uses language like "fancy-shmancy". The narrator's voice was really annoying and robotic in the beginning but she settled into it nicely. This book is a bit long but definitley worth considering. Good stuff.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By RMorgan on 24-12-09

Oh, Barbie...please...

The business history of Mattel is an interesting story, but you might not believe it from listening to this book. The author constantly insinuates people not willing to be interviewed by him must have something to hide. He jumps around in the timeline. He ignores major portions of the story (president #2 doubled Mattel's sales volume; Oppenheimer does not give a single example of how or why). And he desperately needs an editor.

He describes an ornamental lion placed into a motion-sensitive camera (I'm guessing it MIGHT have been the other way around). He quotes one source that a central character's autobiography is flagrantly false, then continues quoting that autobiography at length anyway.

By the seventh chapter, it's obvious he's given up entirely and he goes on to remarkable syntax like "...as late as the early- to mid- 2000s..." Just when WAS that, exactly? And at this point, we haven't even made it to Part Two of the recording.

Narrator Dina Pearlman gives up at about the same time, as apparently does her producer. This leads to remarkable sounds like "ODD infinitum" or a "sin-GRR" who entertained at a party.

If you decide to muddle through, you will be shocked and entertained with some scandalous stories, but the below-tabloid prose style and the careless recording will challenge you.

Side note - Beyond nine other audiobooks, narrator Pearlman is best known online for her own autobiographical performance piece, "Casting Couch." After hearing her read this book for a few hours, you may reach your own conclusion of why she has yet to become a major TV star.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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