The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
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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."
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.
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!
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).
He’s a humble and righteous business leader and an example to follow.
Very good read, highly recommended.
Also gives an insight as to how the mouse tends to operate and their thought process.