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Book Review: Celebrity, Inc. by Jo Piazza

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Celebrity, Inc. by Jo Piazza gives an intimate — and incredibly thorough — inside look at precisely how famous people make money from their own fame. Ms. Piazza uses her years of covering celebrities as reporter, as well as her degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, to explain the business side of the celebrity industry. Most importantly, her writing makes the intricacy of business deals as interesting, if not more so, as the celebrities themselves.

This book peels back the curtain to reveal all of the details about this business in a series of 12 case studies. She looks at how babies, diets, scandals, and feuds can effect a celebrity’s earning power. She answers the age old question of how much an Oscar is worth. She looks at celebrity perfumes and other endorsement deals.

The chapter that I found most interesting, though, was when she looked at the value of a dead celebrity. She starts by examining how endorsement deals with the estates of deceased celebrities began and continues on to look at how it is managed today, how they decide what to endorse, and who really gets the money. This chapter really helps one understand how certain celebrities really are worth more dead than they are alive and why this is the case.

Celebrity, Inc. is an engaging look into the business of being a celebrity in America. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever flipped through those magazines at the supermarket checkout stand and wonder how much celebs are really worth.

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About Frank Nemecek

Freelance writing, indie filmmaker, and all around pain in the...