BOOK REVIEW: The Ride Of A Lifetime by Robert Iger

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

In 2005, Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company during a difficult time. Morale had deteriorated, competition was more intense, and technology was changing faster than at any time in the company's history. "I knew there was nothing to be gained from arguing over the past," Iger writes. "The only thing that mattered was the future, and I believed I had a clear idea of the direction Disney needed to go." It came down to three clear ideas: 1) Create the highest quality content Disney could produce. 2) Embrace and adopt technology instead of fighting it. And 3) Think bigger--think global--and turn Disney into a stronger brand in international markets.

Twelve years later, Disney is the largest, most respected 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 Iger is recognized as one of the most innovative and successful CEOs of our time.

Now, he's sharing the lessons he's learned while running Disney and leading its 200,000 employees--taking big risks in the face of historic disruption; learning to inspire the people who work for you; leading with fairness and communicating principles clearly. This book is about the relentless curiosity that has driven Iger for forty-five years, since the day he started as a studio supervisor 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 evolving Star Wars myth.

My Thoughts:

I don’t read many business books, but a friend of mine recommended this to me and I was interested in the story of how Bob Iger was able to reinvent the Disney brand so dramatically. This book is part-memoir and part-entrepreneurial guidebook – both were interesting though I would have liked a little more of the former and less of the latter.


Bob Iger became the CEO of the Walt Disney Company at a very challenging time. The nephew of Walt Disney had made a vote of no confidence in the existing CEO, there’d been a major board reshuffle, profits were down and many thought Disney’s movies was old-fashioned, cloyingly sweet, and conservative in their values.


Twelve years later, Disney had somehow managed to re-position itself as the largest media company in the world, having joined forces with many of its most feared competitors including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. The story of how Bob Iger affected this transformation is truly inspirational – basically he believes in innovating and taking risks, inspiring through strong leadership, ensuring a fair, just workplace, knowing your core brand but being prepared to seek new markets, and having belief in yourself (he is certainly reaping the rewards of this belief, apparently earning a staggering $65.7 million annual salary – though this is not, of course, mentioned in the book).


It gave me a lot to think about!


You might also like to read Phospheresence by Julia Baird:

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Kate Forsyth
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