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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

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. Morale had deteriorated, competition was intense 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 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 he is recognised as one of the most innovative and successful CEOs of our era.

In The Ride of a Lifetime, Robert Iger shares the lessons he’s learned while running Disney and leading its 200,000 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 book 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.

©2019 Robert Iger (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Ride of a Lifetime

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    4 out of 5 stars

Makes me never want to be an American CEO

To clarify, it was eye-opening. You'd expect a CEO would have to make hard decisions, dream big and take huge risks. But what was a bit of a reality check was how much time and energy goes into massaging people's egos, and managing a Board with their own agenda, who criticize from an ivory tower without ever getting their hands dirty. The politics and games, especially those played with Disney's former CEO Micheal Eisner, left me somewhat unsettled. The median tenure for CEOs at large-cap (S&P 500) companies was 5 years as of 2017. That's absurd to me. Overall, I preferred the second half of the book (which focused on Iger's leadership as CEO) to the first half (which focused on his long and bumpy road to the top, from a nobody at ABC). There are some amazing stories about the very difficult and far-reaching decisions he has had to make as CEO. Here's one I'll always remember: 30 mins before Disney was to announce their acquisition of Pixar, Jobs confided in Iger, telling him he has 4 years left at best. At which point Iger had to decide, on the spot, whether to call off the deal (a deal that he has fought his Board tooth and nail for), now knowing that Jobs was no longer part of the package for the long run (He goes ahead and the rest is history). Iger's story is also a great case study on mergers and acquisitions. Every major decision he has made focused on three fundamental pillars of his strategic vision: generating the best creative content; fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology; and expanding into new global markets. Content and IP, for example, are one of Disney's key to success. Disney characters make Disney what it is. Which is why Pixar, and it's ability to create immortal characters, (along with its cutting edge animation technology) made sense as an acquisition. Iconic Characters. The same thing that drew him to Marvel, and later, Lucasfilms. Because what can be more iconic than Star Wars and the Avengers? All these characters have extended to generate revenues across the Disney empire - from films, to TV, to theme parks, to licensing. And with every aquisition Iger is keenly aware of how to manage people, and how to retain the culture that made the company worth acquiring in the first place. There's a lot more in there on leadership lessons in a creative world. It's a really lovely read. I strongly recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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Very Nice!!!!!!

I loved this book and about the journey of the author and lessons it taught me.

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Lessons for life

Loved and lived it through the eyes of Robert Iger while he handles both corporate and personal life skilfully

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A life story with lessons learnt along the way

From beginning of the career to all the way up, lessons learned by Robert are invaluable.

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great read on leadership

loved it. narration was great and inspiring. the journey of Robert is incredible and motivational.

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One of the best business book

Loved it. After listening the book, I have become fan of Robert Iger. The values, the commitment and the smart and hard work he shown is really commandable. And it should be read and listened by every businessman.

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Awesome book

Great book. Very inspiring. The audio is also great. Loved every bit of it. If you enjoy inspiring leadership books. This book is for you

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Great book on leadership & corporate culture!

True gem. Must read for managers in leadership role. Robert Iger is not only one of the tallest corporate leaders but also a natural story teller. Great content in simplified manner that keeps you engaged for long time.

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Amazing listen

This has been a very good listen, indeed ride of lifetime. Very good lessons shared based on experience, traditional wisdom, roots are the same, vehicle to take things ahead are different.

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Good read

Totally motivating. Must read. Very good lessons to be learnt from it. Voiceover is also good.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-09-20

Authenticity and Humility

Through out the story it is clear that Robert is true to himself, he knows his strengths and weaknesses and shares it wit us. He exuded humility better explained in our country as Ubuntu. Wether it’s with Mr Murdock or his employees. His Values are consistent. Thank you at 62 and semi retired giving back to our youth, it resonated with me. I learned a lot. I had some of my own leadership style reinforced.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-04-20

Amazing book on leadership and life lessons

If I can summarise, the book is like having a mentor that assists you through their own experience of life and business to make sense of the world, leadership together with what it takes to create a successful business. It also gives one a view of what Disney is all about. I had little knowledge to the scope Of the business and the priority of the organisation but through Robert Iger book. I can see myself as a future investor in this organisation.

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  • Bert
  • 06-11-19

Awesome Insights

Gives good insight into how Robert ran Disney and made it into the success it is today in an ever more volitile business environment.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hardus
  • 03-11-20

Amazing book.

What a great read. Real live examples portrayed and great example for any CEO. The summary at the end contain really usefull takeaway that will make a big impact on a company

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  • DM
  • 26-10-20

Outstanding !!

One of the best books on leadership I’m ever read and all wrapped in a thoroughly entertaining life story. Hope Iger runs for president of the US in 4 years time!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-10-20

This book is such an inspiration

This is an engaging story with many lessons about disruption and management. Its a great way of looking how a giant company could reinvent itself.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-10-20

Great book

I enjoyed it, and very informative about the business values one should stand by. Highly recommended recommended

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-09-20

Excellent book on leadership.

Such a great book for those who are career minded no matter the industry. In a world that is changing faster than ever Robert Iger succeeds in putting over that a company is not anything if it’s not it’s people, embracing technology is not optional and having the courage to push the limits is essential.

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  • Varun
  • 23-08-20

The book is truly a Ride of a lifetime

The book excellently talks the journey of a company man all the way to the top and leading a company through a massive rebuild.

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  • John Eccles
  • 19-07-20

The Ride of a Lifetime was also a great listen.

It was really interesting to get an insiders perspective on the recent history of Disney. And valuable to get to know Robert Igor, one of the great corporate leaders of our time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-06-20

Good, but what it is felt a bit missleaded

I really liked the book and the reader. It's an interesting story about his work life. I did not feel like I got a lot of lessons in creative leadership. There are some tips and he explains how he made choices, but I feel it's more his personal experiences than concrete advise.

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  • Lenny McCarthy
  • 01-06-20

interesting but far to much self praise. .

It's an interesting story in terms of his journey but i expected more insight into various career roles. He doesn't talk enough about day to day difficulties or challenges and learnings from mistakes. The appendix was of most interest to me - maybe i wasn't the target audience and should have researched the book more before hand.

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  • Remy
  • 02-08-20

One take away- avoid getting in the business of selling trombone oil

There is a lot to take in with some brilliant nuggets of knowledge. Good leadership isn’t about being indispensable, it’s about willing to let others step into your shoes.... I wish we all saw the world from his eyes.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tarjinder
  • 25-09-19

Disney and leadership

I enjoyed this and i found it helpful as a buissness information source the constant quest for continual perfection is one of the things i found useful such as the constant quest for improvement and great political speeches. also im very impressed with the job the bob iger has done for Disney his actions where roseanne bar and john the dirty exec were honourable

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rachel Delaney
  • 15-01-21

Fascinating and compelling

The story evolves naturally and in an easy to follow way despite many interwoven storylines and a vast supporting cast spread over decades. He interweaves storytelling with life lessons and reflection and spends just enough time on the detail to drive home what's important without getting bogged down and slowing the pace.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-01-21

How to be a better leader, and a better person

Robert Iger is the CEO of Disney and has lead the company through some of the most innovative and challenging periods of it’s history, including the acquisition of Pixar, the development of Shangai Disney and the move to the streaming platform Disney+, the idea of which first came to mind much earlier than one would imagine. Ride of a lifetime details how an ordinary boy managed to navigate his way from humble beginnings to become one of the most respected business men in America, bringing us from his early start in tv, to becoming the head of a network, before moving on to one of the biggest juggernauts in entertainment, Disney. Along the way the reader comes upon interactions with other business and entertainment greats such as Michael Eisner, David Lynch and Steve Jobs, to name a few. I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Iger doesn’t seem to hold much back in the way of opinion, whether he is analysing business decisions that were made, or the behaviour and actions of others and himself. He is very open, and at times, vulnerable and it allows a great insight into a mindset of a man who has achieved so much success. I do not regularly read business autobiographies but it is hard not to read this and compare it to another which I have read (well listened to, really) which is Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. There are a lot of similarities to the style and openness of the writer that really drags you into the book and I consumed both of them in a matter of days. I would probably say Shoe Dog is the better book, simply because it was a much more arduous and dramatic journey than that of Iger’s, although it does seem like Iger’s story is far from over yet and his hints of political ambition could lead to a whole new avenue to be explored and consumed. I don’t really have anything negative to say about the book. It was a very enjoyable, fast moving read, with many familiar names and settings that were fascinating to hear about in more detail - things like the Pixar studio, and John Lasseter, or Roberts relationship with Steve Jobs for example. However, if I was to pick at anything in the book it might be that these nuggets of familiarity, that help draw you in, also help disguise the fact that this story is fairly straightforward, even if it is a monumental rise. Yes, there are stressful times but rarely moments of real danger or failure. Iger’s promotion from where he began, to where he is now is extraordinary and is a testament to the character of the man, but there is no moment of magic that strikes out, that I can put my finger on and say “here is where Iger made his mark”. I am not saying such moments should exist but it does make for a better, more enticing tale. Overall though I would recommend this book. It can be read as a _how to do well in business_ book but that is not of much interest to me and yet I still gleaned much from it. I believe that is because the traits that Iger possesses and extols, that made him the man is - things like decisiveness, humility, open-mindedness and assertiveness - do not simply make you a better leader but a better person.

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  • MR Paul Kinahan
  • 28-12-20

It's worth your time

A very interesting look inside the world of big business. Bob seems like a decent guy and I'm glad that still matters at this level of society.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-12-20

An exciting story

An exciting and gripping story like a real corporate/work life story put together as though it is an adventurous Ride - as in the title -with a lot of useful lessons for all.

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  • Dennis R Lindsey
  • 19-11-20

A great teaching story about tenacity and risk taking

I enjoyed every minute of this story behind one of the most amazing rises of a giant in the entertainment industry. This book perfectly compliments the Steve Jon’s biography. I can’t praise the writing and the reading of this book enough.

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  • Cogg
  • 11-11-20

fascinating read, excellent audio production.

great to hear from the man himself and the main voice provider was a good choice. thank you.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-03-20

Could have read this on Wikipedia

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a wasted book. However, I feel like most of the information that was in this book could have been summarized on his Wikipedia page. The book lacked that edge that makes you want to keep reading, the piece that keeps you enthralled. Not disappointed that i read it, but wouldn't reccomend it to my friends

4 people found this helpful

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  • Komal Rehman
  • 19-10-19

great story of an ordinary mans rise to the top

the one thing i could've used more of was a slightly deeper analysis of the creative process and what makes separates good creative decisions from the bad ones.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Josh
  • 02-01-20

Great read!

Really informative book about Robert Iger’s career with Disney. Traces the highlights of a long work history. Book is well written and narration is great. I would have preferred a little more detail on some of the financial analysis and predictive models used in the acquisition process, but that’s just me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daylan
  • 01-10-19

Great look behind the curtain

I really liked this one. Quite different from other leadership/business books. Tangible insights and advice. A very interesting peek behind the curtain of the effort and process of landing a big wig job. The first chapter was incredible. Unexpectedly heart breaking. Really enjoyed this

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-01-21

Good read, but could have been more in-depth

I was looking forward to listening to how Disney brokered the deals to purchase Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, but thought there would have been more detail. Well narrated as well.

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  • Sean foster
  • 15-12-20

Will be listened to again

thoroughly enjoyed, excellent autobiography. so many case studies and examples that deserve attention and memorizing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-11-20

Relatable stories even for an SME owner

Relatable stories even for an SME owner. Great wisdom from a hardworking self-made CEO, working for meaning and a legacy.

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  • Vaibhav B
  • 01-11-20

Heart-Pounding Memoir

This book walks you through an amazing journey of ups and downs of Robert Iger's professional life. The narration is good and the emotions have been expressed well throughout the audio book. Anyone who is in search of motivation/inspiration can give this book a shot.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-10-20

Loved it!

What a great read, wonderful insights from such an emotionally intelligent and introspective CEO. Lessons on building a global Brand and keeping it relevant as disruption accumulates across its competitive landscape. Innovate or die has never seemed more relevant.

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  • Jack
  • 13-10-20

A review of both Disney and Corporate life

insight into how Disney has become the media giant it has over the past 20 years and the man who's made that happen