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

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  22,939 ratings  ·  2,091 reviews
A grand vision defined: The CEO of The Walt Disney Company shares the ideas and values he has used to reinvent one of the most beloved companies in the world, and inspire the people who bring the magic to life.

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 changin
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 23rd 2019 by Random House (first published January 2019)
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Kobe Bryant
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-ideas
I’m a huge admirer of Disney as an organization, and it was fascinating to follow Iger’s career there and [learn] how he shaped the company. There are countless lessons in this book, and it’s an excellent resource on leadership and problem-solving.”
Ali Abdaal
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
- Can't recommend this highly enough
- Listened to this at 2.6x on Audible. Finished it in 2 days. 10/10. Made me tear up in many parts.
- Probably would've gotten a little more from it if I were American and older, and therefore would've been familiar with ABC shows etc.
A few highlights:
- Wakes up at 0415
- Good enough isn't good enough
- If you want innovation, you can't be afraid of failure
- 'The way they conveyed their faith in me made all the difference'
- Great is often the result of the
John Katsanakis
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed how candid Iger chose to be here. Not a lot of sugarcoating at all. The narratives of the Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm acquisitions were all fascinating.
Vaidotas Juknys
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting but somewhat shallow read.

This book is an autobiographical victory lap Iger wrote about his career. He frames the book as a set of leadership lessons with the focus of the book being his work at Disney. He has many useful lessons to offer but the most fascinating parts of the book deals with how he managed to secure the big acquisitions made by Disney (Pixar, Marvel, LucasFilm & Fox).

However, I found the book be underwhelming on a more personal side. For an autobiography there seems
Avneesh Mehta
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part business lessons, part personal journey, and part the rise of today's dominant entertainment empire, this book is endlessly fascinating and consistently engaging. Chapters such as the acquisition of Pixar are written with the sort of nail-biting edge of your seat intensity that would make thrillers envious. Who knew board room meetings and phone calls could be so exciting? I think Bob Iger struck the perfect balance of personal and professional. A genuinely interesting and surprising person ...more
Ross Blocher
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bob Iger is the CEO of Disney and the kind of person who shows up on lists like Time's Most Influential and Forbes's Most Powerful People (at #49). He's been at the company for 45 years, CEO since 2005, postponed retirement a couple times, and now commands a $65.7 million salary (he's #9 on that particular list). This is his first, much anticipated book, authored as the more formal "Robert Iger". I was interested in reading it for a number of reasons: I happen to work at Disney, and Iger's decis ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Overall: This book is amazing! An incredible true story of Bob Iger's career and journey to his current role as CEO of Disney. Not the typical leadership book I expected but an amazing story of perseverance, passion, focus, forward thinking, and drive. So inspiring and well written, and he narrates the audiobook himself. Highly recommend this to all, it is an incredible story and will leave you inspired in more than one way.

“True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and no
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
As hard to believe as it is, there are many aspects of my life I could probably improve upon. To name just a few: I eat way too many pies. The pies I eat do not contain enough fruits or vegetables. Many folks are shocked at the overabundance of whipped cream topping my pies. And often times I will eat my pie extremely quick (sometimes even without breathing) so I do not have to share pie with my family or close friends. But like most people I see the New Year as a chance to start over and correc ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I was really hoping for more insights into how Disney was run and his leadership style. Was a light version of both. Some cool stories about buying Pixar but would have preferred way more details.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 2016 Bob Iger was in China to open the Shanghai DisneyPark, supposedly one of the biggest accomplishments and happiest days in his career as CEO of Disney. Before the opening he got two calls:

The first one told him that Omar Mateen walked into the pulse night club in Orlando and started shooting. He killed 49 people and 53 were injured - among them Disney employees. The investigation showed that he was in preparation of attacking the Disney Complex.

The second one was about a two year old boy
May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, biography
The Ride of a Lifetime is an inspiring and optimistic yet largely colorless account of Bob Iger's 45-year career in television and media. Disclosure: Bob was my boss's boss for several years, and it was probably a lot more entertaining to read due to personal memories of some of the office politics.

A potentially fascinating subject for this sort of book, perhaps the greatest entertainment industry leader of our time, shares insight into how he tackled impossible challenges coming up in the busi
I finished reading Robert Iger’s “Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Year as CEO of Walt Disney Company” two days ago and I am still blown away by the insights he shared and how much I have learned. If you are a CEO, Entrepreneur, Manager, in HR, part of a team or looking to learn about how you can advance in your current role, Robert Iger provides a roadmap and lessons that everyone can benefit from. As someone who loves learning about brands and how to tell a great brand story, gettin ...more
Laura Noggle
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, 2020, nonfiction
Iger comes across as very down to earth with solid business acumen.

Still— such large corporate monopolies make me uneasy.

What will Disney buy next?

“Innovate or die, and there’s no innovation if you operate out of fear of the new or untested.”
The leadership components of this life story are enlightening and applicable.

But what I picked up this book to learn was in-depth insight into managing the creative process, negotiating difficult personalities, and creating a unique creative culture at Disney and subsumed companies. Although the book told a coherent, clear storyline with interesting vignettes, it ultimately glossed over key moments in the general sense, rather than diving deep and mining their emotions. Some examples:

1.) Charac
Scott Rhee
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While you can’t, rightfully, attribute any company’s success to the work of one person, the right type of person---a leader, versus just a manager or a chief executive---at the head of a company can make a huge difference.

The history of the 20th century is the history of business ascendant and the history of powerful businessmen and women: Coco Chanel, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey. These are just a few names at the top of a long list of people who have made a
Mario Tomic
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book contains a lot of key lessons for success. The first big lesson that stood out to me was the importance of developing relationships and how Bob Iger, over time, become one of the most respected and trusted CEOs. This was crucial for Disney's success as they were acquiring other companies. It's clear that Bob viewed acquiring companies through the lens of taking care of people that works at that company, respecting their work, and putting them in a position where they can succeed.

Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
There’s a subtle lack of humility here that I found off-putting and that undermined my desire to admire this accomplished CEO. (1) Iger almost never talks about his reports or supporting team: 98% of the book is about his bosses, the board, and his acquisition targets. It’s as if he did it all himself. (2) Iger too frequently “punches down.” In the Eisner episode, Iger makes an interesting authorial choice: he includes a summary of the seven complaints that Roy Disney made about Eisner. This all ...more
Mohit Narang
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read becuse Bill Gates recommend this book for a bussiness book . I think it is not a bussiness book more likely memorial or experience book yah it haves great leadership Principle but only few bussiness principles (but that are great) . You also say this an autobiography of Robert Iger
If you like actual leadership principle that works in real world pick this book
& I read some 2 or 3 star review they expect this book contain Disney strategy actually it contains but people don't understand very
Ursula Johnson
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, film-tv
A Positive, Life Affirming, Uplifting Read

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 insight
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bob, I hope you read this someday. I love Disney. Many of the films made by Disney have made a deep impact in my life. I decided to read this book because I wanted to know what was happening in the background. Little did I know what ride I was in for. I cannot state all the things that I liked about this book because that will be too long. I just want to tell you that this book has given me a lot of satisfaction of some kind, and much-needed courage to handle difficulties in life. I am really gl ...more
Bharath S
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Bob Iger, the current CEO & Executive Chairman of Disney, has reflected back on his life and provided a portrait of his learnings as honestly as he can in this book. It's by far the finest memoirs I've read in years.

Iger reinvented Disney to its truest core, turned it into a true Global Company backed with the latest technology. Through his shrewd negotiation skills, he has successfully led acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Film & 20th Century Fox to turn Disney into a powerhouse organisatio
Mico Go
From the outside, you assume that a brand with as much presence and history as Disney has been always at the top of their game, excelling and thriving. Yet, Iger’s retelling of the story since his getting on board in 2005 elaborate a much more challenged, and complex stance — making the success they’ve achieved nothing short of deserving.

I loved how Bob Iger candidly talked of the journey, and does not shy away from the nitty-gritty, with no sugarcoating even in the slightest; it was refreshingl
May 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir, economics
I found this very dull. I understand why Bill Gates loves it. It is completely politically correct, often clichéd. So dry it is almost inhuman. Iger is probably somewhat aware of this, so he throws in as many Steve Jobs anecdotes as he can—which I think is also evidence of his creative insecurity. The business part of the story is also rather dull. While Iger has a huge ego, and thinks his leadership skills would make him a great US President, the only details we get are how he negotiates deals ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
My dad forced me to read this.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love memoirs, and this was a different one than I had read before. Man, CEOs are just different creatures to me. Somewhere early on, Igor says that he's been getting up at 4:30am for as long as he can remember, just because, and I was like ok, you're kind of unrelateable :P Also, I'm just not in the headspace where I can think about BUYING PIXAR because my animation studio isn't doing too well. But, these "unrelateable" things are what made this book so fun to read, I enjoyed seeing Igor's per ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't really know who Bob Iger was until I read this book. I read it because it showed up on NPR's Favorite Books of 2019 and he's the CEO of Disney (who doesn't love Disney?). Even though I'm a teacher with degrees in science, I love a good business memoir and this book did not disappoint. It was amazing! I have no much respect for Iger and the ethics and morals he brings to big business. I really enjoyed reading how he negotiated with Steve Jobs to purchase Pixar, and with George Lucas to a ...more
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been intrigued by Bob Iger for the last year given everything he’s doing with transforming Disney and the entertainment world. This is a cool take that, believe it or not, gives a down-to-earth look at what it might be like to run the most compelling brand in the world. Really cool look at leadership, disrupting the industry you’re in, acting quickly, decisively and with compassion, and following your instincts. Not to mention, it’s cool to read a business book that talks about Pixar and Ma ...more
Divya Voleti
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the best business and leadership book I have read while referencing so much pop culture at the same time! Story is wonderfully told and not a dull moment in the book (the audio version is great because he is a great narrator). Full of inspiration! He discusses some big decisions he made during his career and breaks them down, talks about structuring businesses and how he managed a mammoth entity like Disney - I really learnt a lot! Definitely not your average preachy business book.

Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-books
Great Lessons

I was pulled in by the book right away. The foreword was captivating and the rest of the book did not disappoint. Iger shares some very strong sentiments to being a good boss, I appreciated what he had to say about the aspect of leadership. As a Disney fan, I was very interested in his time working with the company. The stories were engaging and insightful to how the company runs. I’m glad I picked this up!
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