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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

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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Great Audiobook. loved the simplicity and lessons

Great Audiobook. loved the simplicity and lessons.
The persistence is my take away, good things take time, don't give up.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting and fabulous. Really honored to read it.

i just could not stop listening. Riveting story and all people in management should listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

very good read for anyone who aspires to be a ceo

if you want to be a ceo some day, nothing better than this . go ahead

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Must Read

This is an incredible book. So many things to learn from this book. The story writing and the journey is incredible.
Very inspiring.

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Excellent book on leadership

Listening to this book has been amazing
Gems of leadership from Robert iger
Must read for all leaders

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Story of a leader narrated by the leader himself

Listen to the book to take actionable steps as a leader. Enjoyed the book especially because it was narrated by the author.

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Great listen

A must listen for CEOs. Great learnings on the M&A space, and innovating for the new age. Highly recommended for anyone interested in how a major entertainment behemoth was made.

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A Leader’s True Guide!

This book was on my list for a very long time especially because my entrepreneur cousin had spoken volumes about it. And I’m so grateful to have heard of this book and to have read this book because it truly is a beauty.

I had truly love the narration of the book and it felt like a leader conference where a successful leader was guiding me through the lessons of his life. The language of the book is fairly simple and it will relate with you if you’re looking forward to understand what and how leadership is meant to be in life.

I’m going to buy an actual copy of this book for sure! ❤️

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Wonderfully insightful

This is a beautifully drafted masterpiece. The title of this book is totally justified and gives a thrill like very few other books.

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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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  • Pooven C.
  • 05-07-21

Simply outstanding.....

One of my best ever listens. Robert is simply brilliant and it's a true cannot put down book/listen. It's fantastic that he shared his personal story with us, and inspires me, as a CEO, to focus equally on integrity,honesty and people management to manage a company effectively.

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  • Ricardo Escobar
  • 10-04-21

Amé el libro!

Hágase un favor y escúchelo. Es increíble su narrativa, actualidad, contexto y las ensañanzas que deja.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-21

Gives some ideas

I enjoyed the book. Interesting story of mens life. the great example for other people

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  • CESAR
  • 31-01-21

Amazing

This a great audio book . It’s goo to have this book in audio . It’s like movie you cannot stop watching it

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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
  • 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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Chez RM
  • 17-01-21

Capturing & a Masterclass

A fascinating story which charts a history that feels tangible and in part one I’ve lived.
A masterclass into understanding how the boardroom and shareholder mentality works and how to operate in those space.
Loved this and recommended endless to many friends and family members!

1 person found this helpful

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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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  • Renee
  • 31-07-21

Great lessons from a great leader

This book was recommended to me by a friend who knows how much I enjoy books about leadership and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed that it was narrated by the author himself it gave a real authenticity to it. Sometimes I found the pace a little slow however it’s a great story with lots of gems and I found myself bookmarking it quite a bit.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-07-21

Fascinating story

Fascinating to hear Bob's journey and about the acquisitions of such big brands along the way.

Different to other biz books that list out lesson, habits etc but that's what I was after. Plenty insightful nuggets along the way.

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  • Bobby
  • 13-07-21

Details on transaction

Excellent review of how to run a company like it should be run. The self awareness and insight into how you manage people’s emotions and what it takes to be a visionary is fantastic. The recollections of what thought went into each deal is also very insightful. Highly recommend this book to everyone seeking some hardcore truths of what it means to be truly great.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-07-21

Great!

Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing story. Definitely a lot to learn. My favorite part was how we need to embrace disruption, and that we need to be in the business of doing something great!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-07-21

If he was a chocolate bar, he’d eat himself

Despite Iger’s interesting story and rise through the ranks, I couldn’t help but be perturbed by the way in which the story was told. To start with, it’s clear enough throughout that if Bob Iger was a chocolate bar, he would indeed eat himself...

I get that there is a certain ‘dog eat dog’ nature to corporate hierarchy and that rising to the top of any organisation (especially ABC and the Walt Disney company) would be a battle to say the least, but we all know that he got there, the book didn’t need to be so self congratulatory - contrasting himself against his comrades, self righteously giving himself a pat on the back for every decision he now knows (with hindsight) was the right direction to take.

The book in itself feels like a smug, ego fuelled victory speech, while he dishes the dirt on other people’s misfortunes, personal troubles and anxieties, like revealing Roy Disney’s trouble with alcoholism and struggles with anxiety and self pride. I felt like this was unnecessary and in poor taste, especially considering that he is now no longer around to defend himself from Iger’s claims. It’s a shame that Iger wasn’t content enough with his own success and legacy and that he felt the need to publicly shame and demonise others. Roy Disney is just one example of several of Iger’s colleagues that he targets this way.

Some of the language he uses in the recounts of some of the content acquisition negotiations (particularly with George Lucas) seems almost predatory to me. Especially in the way that he talks about psychology, emotion and treading carefully around getting what he wants... I can’t shake the feeling that again, this is told with an air of smugness at the inevitability of the acquisition. Like an overbearing predator takes his prey.

That being said, the story itself is indeed interesting and sometimes insightful. I suppose it does give you some broad insights into what it might be like to take the wheel of a corporate giant like ABC or the Walt Disney company, however Iger himself reads his prologue, categorically stating that “this is not a memoir” - more a book of lessons in creative leadership. In my opinion, it really is just a memoir, it’s more of a book of recounts than lessons. I can’t think of one real lesson in the entire book - other than to have as much accessible capital as the Walt Disney company does, and then to use that in acquiring every single piece of content and IP in sight. And then when subsequent products are produced and become a success - take credit for it, like he seems to with the Star Wars re-boots and Black Panther.

There is a theme here - that is, if you lack originality, take somebody else’s creativity and pass it off as your own. This can also be said for his books most notable and popular take away - “Avoid getting into the business of manufacturing trombone oil. You may become the greatest manufacturer of trombone oil in the world, but in the end, the world only consumes a few quarts of trombone oil a year.”... something a former ABC executive told Iger that he distributes to his employees as it were his own.

Despite its novelty, I was disappointed by the overall content of this book, considering the foreword and indeed the cover art made it very clear that it was intended to be a book of “lessons in creative leadership” and unfortunately it does fall short in that regard, not providing any real ‘lessons’ nor original and defined nuggets of wisdom.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Hep
  • 12-07-21

Interesting insight

Intriguing story with lots of thought provoking tips. Most surprising is one of the biggest companies in the world is only human too, and respectful interactions and human decency is often the simplest key to success

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • @todunkornot
  • 27-06-21

Substance missing

It gets boring from time to time and I have to put it down. Wish there was more detail on how he achieved what he did. He’s clearly an accomplished executive but why, I’m not sure.

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  • Salman
  • 15-05-21

A refreshing asking into humble leadership

captivating narrative that walks through leadership principles with examples. The tone is humble and relatable. A great listen.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben Hurn
  • 13-02-21

Not what I thought it was going to be

I expected an inspiring and creative behind-the-scenes look at the Disney legend, but instead I got a blow-by-blow of the business decisions and events which left me a little bored. I didn't make it past half way.

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  • Ed
  • 25-01-21

Great insight into Disney

Great insight into Disney and what made Robert Iger successful.
The deals that Disney did were an interesting story worth re-telling.

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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.