The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

With 1924 ratings

By: Robert Iger, Jim Frangione, et al.

Purchased At: $28.00

Number-one New York Times best seller

A memoir of leadership and success: The executive chairman of Disney, Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year, shares the ideas and values he embraced during his 15 years as CEO while reinventing one of the world’s most beloved companies and inspiring the people who bring the magic to life.

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR

Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, during a difficult time. Competition was more intense than ever, and technology was changing faster than at any time in the company’s history. His vision came down to three clear ideas: Recommit to the concept that quality matters, embrace technology instead of fighting it, and think bigger - think global - and turn Disney into a stronger brand in international markets.

Fourteen years later, Disney is the largest, most admired media company in the world, counting Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox among its properties. Its value is nearly five times what it was when Iger took over, and he is recognized as one of the most innovative and successful CEOs of our era.

In The Ride of a Lifetime, Robert Iger shares the lessons he learned while running Disney and leading its 220,000-plus employees, and he explores the principles that are necessary for true leadership, including:

  • Optimism. Even in the face of difficulty, an optimistic leader will find the path toward the best possible outcome and focus on that, rather than give in to pessimism and blaming.
  • Courage. Leaders have to be willing to take risks and place big bets. Fear of failure destroys creativity.
  • Decisiveness. All decisions, no matter how difficult, can be made on a timely basis. Indecisiveness is both wasteful and destructive to morale.
  • Fairness. Treat people decently, with empathy, and be accessible to them.

This audiobook is about the relentless curiosity that has driven Iger for 45 years, since the day he started as the lowliest studio grunt at ABC. It’s also about thoughtfulness and respect, and a decency-over-dollars approach that has become the bedrock of every project and partnership Iger pursues, from a deep friendship with Steve Jobs in his final years to an abiding love of the Star Wars mythology.

"The ideas in this book strike me as universal", Iger writes. "Not just to the aspiring CEOs of the world, but to anyone wanting to feel less fearful, more confidently themselves, as they navigate their professional and even personal lives."

This book is surprisingly candid from the CEO of one of the world's most admired companies. I enjoyed that the book does not preach Bob's lessons, but rather uses clear examples to demonstrate how rational and emotional decision-making should be balanced. As a young professional, I admire the longevity of Bob's career, and this book offered multiple inspirational learnings that I will lean on for years to come.

- joseph_jackson

I admit that I am both logically and intuitively aware that I am completely and very much outside the target audience for this kindlebook that is The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years As CEO Of The Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger especially since I’m aware that it is outside my career destiny to work for Disney. Still, after being exposed to multiple insightful details in this book I realize that one of the multiple reasons I was inspired to look at this kindlebook is for me to help the ambitious side of my spirit /soul understand at least some ideas on what it means to take bolder andor strategically andor wisely calculated career risks/moves. I am still in the process of increasing my boldness and courage. However, reading about the author’s journey on how he balanced courage and self- confidence while taking professional moves that had beneficial long term career results helped increase my knowledge on some ideas to keep in mind to experience career evolution with longevity while still experiencing a sense of adventure to evolve professionally. There are a multiple number of factors that made this kindlebook purchase very much worth it for me (disclosure: I am fortunate to have pre-ordered this kindlebook with money made from my current job around August 19, 2019). Some of the multiple compelling features of the kindlebook; how the author got involved with the Pixar deal and his friendship with the late Steve Jobs, his career milestones with Marvel, the author’s side of the story on Lucasfilm and his connection with the original author of the Star Wars trilogies, brief snippets of some of his political viewpoints, multiple pictures of the author with his wife including a colorful photo image of the author with his wife who is wearing a Yoda dress, and much more.

- guillermo_castillo

While I read the book cover-to-cover in two sittings, the second-half of Bob Iger's pseudo-memoir is amazing and incredibly fast and entertaining - picking up after he succeeded Michael Eisner. Iger details the sequences of events in acquiring Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, and putting together the digital distribution strategy behind ESPN+/Disney+. Really worth the read about the trials and tribulations of deal-making at a massive Fortune 500 multinational corporation.

- bobby_gray

This was a wonderful book about Robert Iger's amazing life, career and positive outlook. With so many CEOs who aren't always good people, good for their business or don't care for their employees, it is a breath of fresh air to hear from someone who is grounded in reality, treats people the way they should be treated, forward thinking and committed to quality and his customers. His insights to years at ABC are fascinating, horrifying, and give an insightful look at the evolution of a major network.

His Disney career was frought with challenges, but he rose above them and remained the better man. His visionary view of knowing that the stale model Disney operated under needed to be upended. Many criticized his choices, decisions and views, but they were proved spectacularly wrong. I loved the stories about Steve Jobs, the acquisition of Pixar and how things turned around. My favorite parts of the book were about Marvel and Star Wars, since I am a huge fan of both. The tremendous success of Marvel films lies in the fact the films are made by fans for fans and are high quality with strong stories, wonderful characters and excellent production. He mentions Black Panther as one of his personal favorite projects, not believing naysayers that claimed films about women and blacks would not do well. The incredible success of both films proved him right. Despite some Star Wars fans misgivings, I am grateful that Disney bought Lucasfilm and gave us new Star Wars content. New films, books and shows are being created and I have already signed up for Disney +. As I write this, it was just announced that Marvel's Kevin Fiege will be working on a Star Wars film. I can't wait for that, it Wil be epic!
Throughout the book, he shares his tips for successful business and management. A good portion is common sense, which is in short supply in many areas. I read this book using immersion reading while listening to the audio book. Mr. Iger reads two portions at the beginning and end of the book and is a wonderful narrator. The rest of the book is ably handled by Jim Frangione. A wonderful, positive life affirming, uplifting read.

- owen_ramirez

This was an incredibly well-written and very thoughtful firsthand account from a great CEO and as I learned from the book, also an empathetic leader with real integrity – such a page turner that I read it in a single sitting! He did a wonderful job of recounting/contrasting his work experiences (ie such a different culture at Cap Cities vs. Disney under Eisner, innovation required in the face of old media disintermediation…etc) along with all the different personalities with whom he worked/managed, with very relevant, overarching leadership tenets/takeaways from each anecdote perfectly strung through the narrative. His lessons were so insightful that I took pictures of the text of his best takeaways only to find that he cleverly reiterates them all in the appendix!

It’s also very motivating for young business leaders to read such an honest account of obstacles that even the most successful CEOs experience. Iger did a great job of constantly reinforcing that a successful outcome in a difficult situation requires an even temperament and empathy/respect in working with others to turn a potential confrontation into a win. It was a really incredible read!

- liberty_ortiz

The book is useful in that it tell the story of Disney from one man's (CEO) perspective. But if you've picked up this book hoping for some genuine insight on the corporate career ladder or doing well in business then you've picked the wrong book. Some useful business tips in there too.

The problem is this, corporate career type people are just like politicians. They never tell it straight. There's always some politics going on. There isn't a lot of boldness in this book. I would recommend a book written by an entrepreneur instead, they tend to be more bold and actually take a meaningful view on something (right or wrong).

- finley_collins

Bob Iger has pulled off the impossible - how to be entrepreneurial in the ultimate corporate environment. His pre-CEO years are particularly fascinating and little documented elsewhere

- malcolm_patel

Robert Iger comes across as a strong and straightforward man. Clear in vision, possessing strong principles, moderate & temperate. Humble too! Sounds simple but he might be one of the few humans on Earth who is able to practise what he preaches.

- brecken_wilson

A wonderful book on leadership principles, humanity, passion and all it takes to be a great leader. Enriching and a must read!
He’s a humble and righteous business leader and an example to follow.

- rory_cook

Loved the book, read it in less than a week. Amazing story and true example of the meaning when someone starts from the bottom.

- thaddeus_rogers

I enjoyed every page. Reading and learning without realising it. Lots of leadership skills learnt. Will recommend for everyone. Tips that apply not just to being a leader but in personal life. Loved it!

- raiden_jimenez

Such books dont come along very often. Robert Iger is a business legend after his performance as CEO of Disney and it was incredible reading about his rise from being a weatherman to the CEO of the largest entertainment company in the world. The book is insightful and theres a lot to learn from the experiences shared by Mr Iger. The only complain I would have from this book is that it was a little too brief at times and could have been more detailed. I felt under 300 pages did not do complete justice to his legendary career. Having said that, its still one of the best books ive read in a long time. A must read.

- braylon_reed

I really enjoyed this. Some great stories about Disney’s mega deals and the personalities involved and packed full of lessons about how to manage at the highest level with integrity & without being a complete sociopath. Added bonus is that it’s very concise and and not rambling on unnecessarily.

- kyla_mendoza

Great read and lesson learned summed up in last chapter. Keep up with technology, there is no going back. Not that many of us will end up running Disney.

- rosie_wood

A very well written, thoughtful & incredible book that I finished in a day! A great lesson on how to lead with humility, empathy and integrity. Definitely recommend this book.

- devon_thompson

Thoroughly enjoyed it and some good food for thought.

- zechariah_baker

I absolutely enjoyed Bobs take on leadership and problem solving. Very applicable to situations different from the business world, like for example the medical world.

Very good read, highly recommended.

- iker_richardson

What an amazing story!! It covers keys points in the journey to leadership. Highly recommended for anyone in looking for self growth.

- mila_robinson

Enthralling and more interesting than I expected.

Also gives an insight as to how the mouse tends to operate and their thought process.

- manuel_kelly

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