Sunday, April 19, 2009

Book Review: Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel

When I started reading the first couple chapters of the book Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel by Jerry Oppenheimer, my first mental thought was 'Wow! This was like the National Enquirer meets the Wall Street Journal'.

The book starts out talking about Jack Ryan, the "father" of Mattel's Barbie Doll. Ryan pursued real life Barbies, to the point of having his wives have plastic surgery to look like the Barbie doll. (By the way, do you know what Barbie's measurement would be if she would a real live woman? See the answer at the end of this article.) Ryan had wild parties, numerous bedroom escapades, and a series of wives including Zsa Zsa Gabor.

There was Ruth Handler, the ruthless founder of Mattel. She was eventually involved in a financial scandal, that caused her to lose her position with the company. Then there was Jill Barad who moved up the Mattel ranks very quickly, and was referred to as a young Ruth Handler.

What I like about this expose is that it is very thoroughly researched with numerous interviews, and everything was documented by Oppenheimer. What most surprised me was that I have been a small shareholder of Mattel for many years and I never knew about the scandalous background of this famous toy company. What a great movie Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel would make. A fascinating and fast-paced business book.


Answer to the above question: 39-18-34

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