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The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons in Creative Leadership from the CEO of the Walt Disney Company: Lessons in Creative Leadership from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company Paperback – 10 October 2019
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The story of life at the top of Disney is a thoughtful tale of surviving disruption., Financial Times
Iger’s tenure as the leader of the world’s most lucrative dream factory has been one long CEO highlight reel. Iger is unassailable. He’s transformed his company from a stuffy media doyen into a sexy cultural force., TIME - Businessperson of the Year 2019
Nurturing creativity is less a skill than an art―especially at a company where the brand alone is synonymous with creativity. That’s a lot to live up to. Bob Iger has not only lived up to ninety-six years of groundbreaking history but has moved the Disney brand far beyond anyone’s expectations, and he has done it with grace and audacity. This book shows you how that’s happened., Stephen Spielberg
The Ride of a Lifetime is an entertaining example of a business memoir whose author does not pretend to be a superhero. Iger’s book works as an argument for the importance of emotional intelligence in business., New Statesman
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- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1787630475
- Product Dimensions : 15.3 x 15.3 x 23.4 cm
- ISBN-10 : 1787630471
- Item Weight : 348 g
- Publisher : Bantam Press (10 October 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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Robert has described all his ups, downs, challenges though every bit of sentences of this book. This is essential to read for all to know what a leader or a CxO person goes through before much-sought deals we saw in the newspaper or TVs. The book is full of some much raw evidence of acquisitions and the preparation against it, that it makes you feel the real warmth of tension. The book if full of tidbits of leadership lessons, that you'll cherish after reading this.
Keep inspiring the gen next, Bob Iger! :-)
The book is divided into 2 parts: the first one leads to his ascension to the top job at Disney and the second talks about his leadership years. It is thoughtful in parts, provides leadership lessons in others and is downright exciting in some, especially around the run-up to the acquisitions of Pixar or the creation of the Black Panther movie, which many thought was a bad idea because of the lead superhero being black. There are even the poignant parts, especially his relationship with Steve Jobs. Even as you get to know Iger the successful CEO well, he does occassionally provide insights into himself including his thoughts behind a possible run for the US President. Iger walks the fine line between being too humble about his achievements and glossing over his failures — “finding that balance between accepting credit and not making too much of the hype”, as he puts it. At one place, he talks about feeling guilty in front of his colleagues when attention and credit is directed towards him, and that is particularly endearing.
For readers looking to take away some leadership lessons, Iger provides his 10 lessons at the outset: optimism, courage, focus, decisiveness, curiosity, fairness, thoughtfulness, authenticity, perfection and integrity. And at the end, he also lists down in one place all the various business lessons strewn throughout the book.
There are a few aspects of his story that are missing though, for example, his initial rise from a lowly level at ABC (it's completely omitted for some reason) or the pressures of his job on his personal life — he covers the separation from his first wife in just a couple of lines. Iger does say, though, that this book is not a memoir and as the title suggests, it’s more about business lessons. I would disagree though — given the profile of the writer, that distinction will blur. The book is a fairly short one and a few more pages would have been more satisfying. Also, it's a pity that the book was written in 2019 — it misses out on the biggest challenge that Disney may have ever faced ... that of the corona virus!
Pros: Insights into the Disney story and into himself, useful leadership lessons
Cons: Some important aspects of his story have been omitted
My takeaways from this book
- Knowing who you are, even when you are the most important person is the way.
- Patience- Having patience with people, work,time is one of the most important thing moving forward
- Never settle for mediocrity- Magic can’t be average, and make your work or whatever you do magic.
- Take risks - Robert couldn’t scream enough emphasising the importance of risks. But then with willingness to take risk should come equally with a power for tolerance of failure for the same.
- Be creative and a mass seller- creating a product required by a few is just a waste of your resources.
- To be a leader, always remember to take everyone who made this possible with you.
Lastly , I think I am hundred percent in awe with Roberts personality as well as inspired in a way I can’t describe yet.
Footnote: Would love to read more about Steve jobs from what I read about him in this book created a huge drawing interest towards the same.
Top reviews from other countries
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).
Four great moves, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel and 20th Century Fox - all of which looked overpriced at the time and (the first three) proved to be bargains. The jury is still out on the fourth. And doubtless that will turn out to be a bargain. He may regret however not going the extra mile to keep Sky. But then again he may not. I wouldn't bet against his judgement which has proved to be impeccable. Most businessmen like him make one big mistake in their lives, they regret terribly, but he does not appear to have made one.
There will never be another Hollywood executive as successful as him, mainly because the opportunities will not be available that has had had. And he managed to get on with Steve jobs - an achievement in itself.
One flaw - why is he calling the new Disney streaming business Disney+, the same name as another competitor and not a very inspiring name at that. Surely he can do better. Also Disney+ may turn out to be his big mistake. The gamble is not only in the start-up costs and reputation loss if it goes wrong but also the licencing and royalty income lost on the Disney product. Disney+ could be a colossal mistake. Personally I would have rode the bandwagon and auctioned off the Disney material for the inevitable fortune it would attract from all the other streaming services. And, surprisingly Iger has not recognized the one big streaming opportunity that seems open - sports. And Disney has a huge advantage owning ESPN.
And as good as Bob Iger is I am afraid Jeff Bezos is better. When Bob is gone one can see Amazon making a bid for Disney. But having said all that he is one of the greats of American business. Walt Disney would be very very proud.
This book has made me want to be a better person, and continue to follow his advice. I might never be CEO of the Walt Disney Company, but I sure hope to be as good at resilience and leadership as Iger describes here!
Absolute 10/10 must read!!