'Tell to Win' author and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber reveals the key to making deals

By Adam Markovitz
Updated March 11, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

In Tell to Win, Mandalay Entertainment CEO (and former Sony Pictures chief) Peter Guber says a good story is the key to making deals in business and life. Here are a few of his A-list examples.

1. Jack Nicholson was wary of playing the Joker in 1989’s Batman. So he invited director Tim Burton and Guber on a horseback ride to talk it over. When Burton protested that he didn’t ride, Guber told him, ”You do now.” Burton rode, and Nicholson took the part.

2. When Michael Jackson wanted to get into the movie biz in 1991, he had to convince Guber that he understood the life-and-death storytelling at the heart of moviemaking. So he did a demonstration — with his pet snake Muscles and a soon-to-be-lunch mouse.

3. At a pivotal moment in the 1992 presidential race, Bill Clinton and Guber persuaded Hollywood players to make campaign contributions by likening the moment to the climax of High Noon, the white-knuckle Western starring Gary Cooper.