5 Minutes for Books — How to Be Like Walt

I love my team over at 5 Minutes for Books. We each have a different favorite type of book, and so we are able to accomplish the goal of reviewing a large variety of books. We publish reviews for interesting and unique books along with recent bestsellers — for kids of all ages, gift-giving occasions, and most importantly — yourself!

Carrie found this book. When she’s not reviewing for us at 5 Minutes for Books, you’ll find her reviewing at her own blog, Reading to Know.

I don’t think its possible to say enough nice things about How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life. Seriously. At first I was deterred from it because of the cover art. It was distracting. I also knew absolutely nothing about Walt Disney when I cracked the pages of this 389 page biography published by HCI Books. When I finally did get around to reading it, I intended to skim it. As it turns out, skimming is the last thing I found myself wanting to do as I learned about the man behind the mouse: Walt Disney. I devoured this book, word by word!

Walt Disney has to be one of the most admirable men I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. Sure he had his faults and this book does not ignore them. However, in the grand scheme of things, he really was an above-board sort of fellow, devoted to his wife and family, with strong work ethics and a servant’s heart. I can imagine that he was absolutely charming to know.

I think the thing that I appreciated most in learning about Walt was his desire to dream big dreams. The focus of this book is teaching people the principals that Walt followed in his own life, and making them your own. Each chapter tells you a little more of who Walt is and then offers encouragement as to how you could pattern your own attitude to mirror his (It’s like a practical application section smack dab in the middle of a biography which is really unique and interesting, I thought!). Williams talks about how Walt lived life as an adventure, how he dared to do impossible things, how he lived for the next generation and how he unleashed his imagination.

For my part, I honed in on the fact that Walt was a great dreamer with an excellent imagination. He was constantly coming up with new ideas and new approaches to old ideas in order to improve life not only for himself but for his fellow man. He knew he had great ideas when he was met with opposition or someone told him that something “couldn’t be done.” If everyone had agreed with him that his goals were achievable, then he knew that he wasn’t dreaming big enough. Williams offers this about Walt:

Children are naturally creative because they haven’t learned to inhibit their own creativity. They still see the world with childlike wonder. They look up at the clouds and see castles, pirate ships, and dinosaurs; adults look up and see only clouds. “Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination,” said Walt. “But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it” (page 66).

Walt was never content with the status quo. He was always looking for something better and typically he found it. I would like to dream like that.

There are countless ways which I learned to admire the man Walt Disney. I appreciated his integrity towards his family, particularly. Even though he was extremely busy being the most popular man in the country, Sundays belonged to his family. Furthermore, he attended every concert and school event for his two daughters that parents were invited to attend. He wanted his children to know that they mattered to him and they grew up knowing that they did. His daughter, Diane, is the one who gave the go-ahead to Pat Williams to write this book. She admired her father and approved the idea of someone writing about Walt in such a way as to give people someone to look up. In fact, I do admire Walt Disney and I’m so glad to have read this book.

Yes, it takes a little time but all the time is worth it, I assure you!

Would you like to win a copy of this book (U.S. shipping addresses only)? Leave a comment, and please see our site’s Terms and Conditions of Use for a complete list of our Contest and Giveaway Rules.

The winner of last week’s book, The Baby Fat Diet, is #39 Lynn.

Stay tuned this week for my first-ever podcast interview with one of the authors of this book!


  1. says

    This sounds like a great read! I have been to Disney only a hand full of times in my life but now that i have kids i find myself more intranced with Disney than i was as a kid. I get to relive the excitement and joy through the eyes of my children and it is amamzing. I would love to know the man who was able to embody this experience into a place for family.

  2. Angela C. says

    I remember reading a biography of Walt Disney when I was in grade school and I thought he was a great man then. I would love to read this one.

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  3. MRS.MOMMYY says

    love reading about walt disney and all that went thru to make his dreams come true-sounds interesting

  4. Laura says

    Walt Disney was an amazing man and very talented man who had the vision of park where people could spend time with their children unlike anywhere else in the world. He definitely made that dream come true and we all continue to enjoy it and return year after year. It truly is a magical place.

  5. says

    I love reading about anything Disney and the man behind the mouse! We are actually going to DisneyWorld next week, so excited!!!

  6. herblady says

    I would *love* to win this book. Walt was part of my childhood. Thank you for the chance to win!

  7. says

    Oh my GOSH! I’d LOVE to win!! I am a HUGE Disney fan and even had the honor of playing Mickey Mouse and other similar height characters when I was in the Walt Disney World College Program my fresh. year of college. I would LOVE this book!!! It just sounds fabulous. Thanks so much!!!

  8. says

    I’ve always loved Disney and am fascinated by their seemingly endless creativity and imagination. I would love to get a little more of that back in my life!

  9. Rebecca says

    I just went to Disneyland, and would love to learn more about the amazing mind behind it all!

  10. alycep says

    Having been obsessed with all things Disney for 35 years, this would indeed be perfect for me. I have been in awe of the way he created a place where you could leave your troubles behind and enter a new, positive happy place if only for a day or 2.Love to read this book.

  11. Becky Grayson says

    This sounds like a fantastic read. Something that I wouldn’t have thought about reading before I read the review.

    Thanks so much!

  12. Elizabeth Ray says

    I’ve always been fascinated with Walt, but I’ve never seen this particular book. Count me in!

  13. Pat says

    Thank you for a delightful book review. What a great incentive to read a
    good book!

    Thanks also for the contest. Best wishes for a happy & prosperous 2009!

  14. ellen cunningham says

    Ever since our honeymoon at Disney my husband has been a Disney fanatic so count me in.

  15. Francine Anchondo says

    I love disney anything and would be interested in reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. says

    How refreshing to know that someone like Walt Disney isn’t covered in dirt! I would love to read such an optimistic book!

    I subscribe to your feed and newsletter. :-)

  17. says

    I would love to get to know a Mr. Disney a bit better. I think he shares a wonderful message. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this contest for such a great book.

  18. Shirley Hodge says

    I am afraid that I agree with DeMille a great friend of Walt’s who said that if Walt Disney could see what is being created and shown on TV in his name he would turn over in his grave. I recently spend some time with my grandaughter watching TV especially the Disney channel and was apalled at what I saw being broadcast for young children.

  19. says

    This book would be a keeper.

    And wow, I did attempt reading through those terms and conditions but OMG… I don’t have the patience to read all that. I’ll just try to behave myself and hope that will suffice. 😉

  20. hawkshoe says

    Having been to Disney world over 10 times, I would be very interested to read all about the man resposible for such an incredible place.

  21. Ken Stross says

    I grew up with ‘Uncle Walt’ every Sunday night on the Wonderful World of Disney. This sounds like an excellant addition to my Disney library.

  22. Monique Bradley says

    I am a huge Walt Disney fan! He is absolutely one of my heroes. I’d love to read this book.

  23. says

    Looks like a good book! I’ve always been fascinated by Walt Disney and all that he accomplished. I’d love to read his full biography.

    And I think I’m going to add this book to my Amazon.com wishlist. :)

  24. David Clark says

    I am part of a family that is multigenerational Disney fans. We all love different projects that have come from the Disney company. My youngest is a certified Mickey-oholic!

    Thanks for the contest!


  25. Ashley says

    this sounds like a wonderful book and i would love to read it. I am always trying to strengthen myself and how better to learn but from Walt Disney.

  26. Renee G says

    I’d love to read this. We’re big fans of anything Disney.


  27. ky2here says

    I’d like to be like Walt – except for cryogenically stored decapitated head thing. That’s just too far for me.

  28. Pam says

    I am a huge fan of walt disney and would love to read this book. I had the priveledge of attending a seminar on disneys organizational/ creative thinking. It was very interesting and i still use one of the worksheets. Please enter me.

  29. Paula Harmon says

    I want to be more like Walt, and catch Disney magic everyday in my life. It wouldn’t hurt to have a little of his money too…

  30. Kathy Davis says

    I love Disney This would be really cool what do you think Disney would think of the movies they are making today….

  31. sito says

    Back in the day, Walt introduced the shows on The Wonderful World of Disney and I thought he had the greatest job in the world. I’d love to win a copy of this book.

  32. Janice Wright says

    I remember watching The Wonderful World of Disney on almost every Sunday night. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  33. Joe N says

    Walt Disney has brought so much joy to so many. He is at the top of my list of people I wish I could have had dinner with. I would thoroughly enjoy reading this. Thank you for the opportunity!

  34. Diane says

    I’d love to read this book. I’m a huge fan of Disney- own a bunch of Disney DVD’s and had an annual pass to DisneyWorld for 3 years when I lived in Florida. And I don’t even have kids!!

  35. Auriette says

    I worked at Disney World for a couple of years. While I disagree with some of the decisions made by management then (in the ’80s) and more recently, I admire what Walt Disney built. For that reason, I’d love to read the book.

  36. says

    I love Disney – the theme parks, the movies – I would most definitely love to read more about the man behind all the imagination, fantasy and positive messages and energy. Walt seems to have left quite a legacy from his dream that started with a mouse.

  37. Katherine Newton says

    I’d love to win this book. I love reading and am running out of books to read..I’d love to have one just delivered to my door!

    Thanks for the contest.

  38. Sandra Schmidt says

    I have always love Walt disney. It would be great to read more about him. Thanks for the chance to win!

  39. Laura Pruett says

    I would love to read my son this book so that he could understand the man behind the cartoons.

  40. Valerie Furr says

    We have yet to take our two little girls to Disney World waiting for them to be big enough
    to enjoy it now we are expecting a little boy. This Rocking Horse is the cutest thing I have seen. This would be awesome for the new little boy. Walt Disney is a great imaginative person and made the world a better place to be with his
    parks he has built. I went several years ago and it was awesome would love this book. Thanks for a chance to win.

  41. Diane S says

    i would love to win this book, have never fully read the bio of Walt but I hear it is interesting. And the fact that this book lays it out there for you too read and all is great. I am a total child at heart…..Mickey Mouse Rules.

    Thank you for the contest.