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The Ride of a Lifetime

Lessons in Creative Leadership from the CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Written by: Robert Iger
Narrated by: Robert Iger, Jim Frangione
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (418 ratings)

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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
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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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Amazing book, excellent narration

This book is so insightful and is full of practical examples. It is inspiring to travel with Robert Iger as he takes you on the ride of a lifetime!

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excellent book

Exciting and engaging. Gives great advice on both general business as well as the media industry in particular

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My expectations were different

A very interesting biography. Really fascinated by the journey of Robert. Many things I could pick up as learning. However, my expectations were different.

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Great life story to learn from!

There are a lot of leadership lessons in Bob's story. How to approach problems and solutions from a human way. How to cut the crap and be straight when you are delivering bad news. And a lot more. I have a lot of nuggets from this book which I can implement in my own life. A great listen.

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Brilliant

So far the most enjoyable, engaging and creative Leadership book I have come across. Loved the way Mr. Iger narrates the whole sequence of events in his business life with shades of his personal insights. Fitting title “ The Ride of a Lifetime” to this masterpiece. Would love to interact with Mr.Iger someday . Thankyou Sir .

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excellent

Different from other leadership guide books. Bob iger shares his experience successes and where he could have done better. All young leaders must read this book

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  • aB
  • 27-08-20

Loved the Ride

Awesome story and narrative. To know a leader's version about life, struggles, challenges, approach and wisdom is great to receive!

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Impressing!

A frank and very well written book by Iger on his professional career. It provides a lot of valuable insight into his way of working and operating as head of the gaint called Disney. Very hard not to like him after after reading it. A good read.

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This is the best management book I have read in 10 years

The book will be a modern day classic like Made in Japan. Bob Iger provides us strong management guidelines for senior managers to follow as a blueprint. His decision making style and ability to disassociate ego from decision making is in contrast to many senior executives. This is a must read and must implement book.

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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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  • 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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  • Jasraj S.
  • 23-06-20

Read of a lifetime!

Must read for aspiring CEOs, people leaders or managers. Loved the story telling, leadership examples, anecdotes, personalities illustrated. Five stars

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  • Bradley Shaw
  • 20-04-20

Achievements everywhere

Listening to this book really puts into perspective whag Bob Iger achieved over his tenure with Disney. He transformed the business more than I think even Walt homself could ever have imagined. If you work in Technology. Telecoms or Media. This book is a must read.

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  • Vikram Koppikar
  • 05-03-20

the most powerful man in entertainment.

contains some great business lessons. gets too self congratulatory at times! the voice performer was great

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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.

2 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.

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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

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  • SL
  • 14-10-20

more of a big self pay on the back than lessons

it's a inserting story but there aren't any real lessons in it, just a what Bob did story and him patting himself on the back for doing it and being a top guy.

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  • LadyVanilla
  • 08-10-20

Very interesting read

I really enjoyed learning about the world so unknown to me. It really was fascinating to learn about Disney company and the values they present. Many valuable lessons to learn here too. It is more of a story than an educational book but I think it makes it easier to understand certain decisions. Great read, thank you Bob 😊

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-09-20

Thoroughly enjoyable

Loved it. Such a magical and inspiring insight into the magical and cooperate world of such an interesting man

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  • Partial Masaiti
  • 28-09-20

Interesting journey to becoming CEO

I was a really good account of his career journey. It was quite engaging gave good insights so how he progressed up the career ladder and the role of a CEO in a large company.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-09-20

Eye opener

It's a very good reflective ebook, I like the honesty of history provided. I see this book as more of a biography of a great individual and would have liked more of a direct reflection of what works in creative leadership.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-09-20

Perfect business book & biography!

The book is inspiring, all stories are based on real facts! Hope to listen again!

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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.

2 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
  • 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

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-20

Puts inside the CEOs office

Really helps the listener to get inside the mind of a major company CEO through a time of disruption. It’s a pretty honest account with good introspection. Well read also.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-09-20

best audio book ive listened to to date.

amazing story giving deep insight into common things you would never think of. best e read. ive heard alot and this story was the best.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-08-20

Inspiring and entertaining

This is easily one of the best books I have listened to in the past couple of years. The journey itself is interesting, the story is well told, and the voice is soothing to listen to. Definitely recommend listening to this. 10 out of 10

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-20

Everything I thought it would be and more.

Bob Iger truly is an inspirational leader and a visionary that changed the world. This just proves that. Written well, spoken well and gripping to the very end.