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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.

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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

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Loved the ride.. So much relatable.

Loved the way the ride was narrated. Would have loved to meet Bob in person. 😉

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Good leadership lessons to takeaway

A very interesting read that describes the journey of Robert Iger from ABC to Disney. As they say, Experience is the best teacher, Robert has shared very valuable leadership lessons he learned from his experiences and people like us can learn a great deal from it. Some of the lessons like how important it is to keep innovating to thrive, to surround yourself with people of integrity, to approach others with respect and integrity. Hop on and take this ride with Robert to understand how a big name like Disney has progressed through the years while Robert keeps sharing his valuable insights with you.

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The best book on leadership !

This is hands down the best book on leadership I have read so far. It is amazing to think that someone can work in a company for 45+ years now a days.
The most important takeaway was that it doesn't matter what level you are people can always be uncertain i.e. they say something and do something else. This is in reference to how Michael Eisner(then CEO) was behaving with the author sometimes.

Only the most optimistic and brave people can become can become CEO. Saying this because of the amazing acquisitions that Disney took over under the author i.e. Pixar , Lucas film and a big part of 21st century fox

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Great ride

Loved it. A fascinating story, well read out with great learning. the story setup in Disney itself, puts you in a dreamworld of sorts. On top of that, an excellent narrative spoken by the CEO himself who spearheads the entertainment industry. and the management learnings are insightful.

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Masterpiece

Get to know the real Bob Iger- a true gentleman and sharp businessman. Must listen for everyone who wants to learn how ordinary people turn to legends by sheer hardwork n meticulous attention. Super book.

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Great Book!

Bob Iger made Disney a great company. Great CEO, and a great personality. Loved this book!

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Fantastic Book

Always wanted to hear the author , listening was like meeting him, it’s a must listen

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Great book, super engaging!

Very interesting and honest book. It felt like I was with Robert Eiger while making all those acquisitions.

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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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  • 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.

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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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-04-22

Best autobiography for a long long time

Simply put, this is one of the best I have listened to. What a champion.

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  • J. Cochrane
  • 05-03-22

Much more than expected

Some great leadership lessons, and humanity lessons, from a perpetual student of excellence and integrity. Well presented with candor.

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  • FLOYD
  • 03-02-22

Clear, Direct & Punchy

The writing style is simple, clear and direct to the point. He doesn't waste time in detailed and fluffy descriptions but rather focuses on telling the story succinctly, delivering the punchy lesson and moving on to the next chapter.

Such clarity and focus isn't easy to come by.

All in all, it was a wonderful listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-21

Simply Inspiring and a joy to read.

A beautiful and inspirational read into Bob Iger’s life. Filled with candour and humility - still re listen every now and then to be inspired

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  • 28-11-21

Great listen

Entertaining and important read for leaders. The narration makes for easy listening. Sound advice for managing people.

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  • Mongezi
  • 07-09-21

Too good!

It gives a great account of his inner world, events that led to him becoming CEO, the challenges before and after he was CEO and principles of success. There's lots of insight, raw elements, rare authenticity, private conversations with other leaders of influence and inside the boardroom conversation.

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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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  • Adam Loxton
  • 12-09-22

The Read (or listen) of a Lifetime

If you are a fan of Bob Iger, Disney or both, then you should love this book. I have even more respect and admiration for Robert Iger after reading and listening to this. I also thought I knew everything there was to know about Disney and it's past, I was wrong. This book was a great eye opener too. loved it.

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  • Kevin McIntyre
  • 04-09-22

great book with some great leadership insights

great book with some great leadership insights.

if you love Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, then there are some fascinating insights.

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  • Suvi Peltomäki
  • 04-05-22

Great story, great reader

What a ride! I really enjoyed this audiobook and found it much more interesting than I anticipated.

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  • Diana
  • 27-03-22

Is a fine memoir

I did enjoy the book, however I had bigger expectations in his reflections. Is a book for good examples in corporate strategies

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  • Michelle s.
  • 06-03-22

A really interesting story

Bob’s inspirational story, showed that you can come from nowhere to somewhere.

I was standing

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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
  • 13-09-22

Phenomenal story, didn’t love the voice actor; still worth listening

Captivating story of leadership at every stage of the Bob’s career, many lessons to learn

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