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

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  65,191 ratings  ·  5,173 reviews
A grand vision defined: The CEO of Disney, one of Time’s most influential people of 2019, shares the ideas and values he embraced to reinvent one of the most beloved companies in the world and inspire the people who bring the magic to life.

Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, during a difficult time. Competition was more intense than ever and technol
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published September 23rd 2019 by Random House
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 ·  65,191 ratings  ·  5,173 reviews

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Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
- 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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Avneesh Mehta
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, memoir
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
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
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Hots Hartley
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
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, nonfiction, business
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.”
Riku Sayuj
Read Creativity.Inc & Ride of a Lifetime back to back if you want to see both sides of one of the most fascinating and well executed mergers of our times.

This is largely a chronicle of acquisitions by Disney under Iger, and not very engrossing for me, but the Pixar section was fascinating.
Scott Rhee
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
Gaby DB
Jan 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Iger chose to be honest, straightforward, and structured with his words and the way he told his story, which definitely reflects his character. With risks, innovation, leadership he impressively transformed Disney and I really enjoyed reading exactly how. It’s an inspiring and unique journey worth learning from.
Mario Tomic
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

James Scholz
Feb 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

wasn't aware of Bob Iger before this book. after reading, it's clear how Disney became so successful with this guy at its helm. enjoyed it a lot more than expected and learned a lot.
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lessons learned by Robert Iger.
Lessons shared by Robert Iger with generosity, optimism and decency.
Fostering risk taking and creativity, building a culture of trust, fuelling a deep and abiding curiosity are just few great examples of his inspiring lessons.
Girish Joshi
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I finished reading this book last night, my first reaction was: 'Oh my god! This was such a treat. Why did it end so soon?'. I thought about Disney, the company behind some of my cherished childhood memories. And then I thought about the man who was behind running this amazing company. My thought train took me almost a decade back, when I first set my foot on Hong Kong Disney Land. I remember being mesmerized by the Disney parade, I was grooving, dancing, smiling, happily forming memories I ...more
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give it more than 5 stars
It is hands down the best book I read on leadership. Unlike every other book in the realm, it isn't prescriptive. You're going through the journey with Bob and understand why he believes in the things he does. The ups and downs of the journey gave me goosebumps and really drilled into my head those core principles that Bob lives by. I can't stop crushing on Iger after this book hahaha. Absolutely loved the book omg.

I also got a physical copy of it because
Ursula Johnson
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film-tv, audible
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
Jordan Schneider
It's no Shoe Dog.

Iger pulls too many punches for this to really entertain. In his Bill Simmons podcast interview, he mentions that he spent a weekend softening the edges and calling people out less. He should've waited to write this until when he actually retired, but then again this is part business memoir part ‘I want to be a politician’ book so what can you do.

His relationship with Jobs was touching and the acquisition stories were illustrative of how personal relationships matter even in the
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Justas Šaltinis
"True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else."

"Ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can."

"We all want to believe we are irreplaceable. The trick is to be self-aware enough that you don't cling to that notion that you are the only person who can do this job."

"You cannot win on the defensive. It's only about the future. It's no
Sep 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5* I would recommend this book to those who are drawn to it from a business perspective over the human interest story. The business aspect of it was interesting and I learned a thing or two about the corporate world and how it ticks. However I picked this book up for the human interest aspect and it really didn't offer much in that way. ...more
A dry play-by-play. There is a quick summary of his leadership principles in the last part of the book. Skip the rest and read that portion.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bharath S
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Robert Allen Iger is an American businessman who served as the CEO of The Walt Disney Company between 2005 and 2020, as well as the chairman of the Board and executive chairman.

He previously served as the president of ABC Television between 1994 and 1995 and the president and COO of Capital Cities/ABC from 1995 until its acquisition by Disney in 1996. Iger was named president and COO of Disney in

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