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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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What listeners say about The Ride of a Lifetime

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  • Overall
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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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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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.

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    4 out of 5 stars

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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Truely ride of a lifetime, Very bold & courageous

Amazing journey of a person, who wants to challenge is instinct and move ahead to achieve it.

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A lovely piece of work

An extraordinary journey, delivered superbly, really helps and adds a huge value, a must read.

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What a story!

Absolutely incredible and amazing story! Too many invaluable lessons narrated with such simplicity and clarity.

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gripping and insightful right from chapter 1

Bob wasn't reading the book, he reliving his life while narrating it...

the evolution of a leader, which I learnt from the book, has several takeaways for many people.

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Exceptionally good

An exceptionally good book by an amazing business man. Simply loved the narration, it was clear, and consistent.

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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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  • 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
  • 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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  • 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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  • derek mc grath
  • 27-03-21

Very relatable

Robert has a Great voice to listen to
And A very Relatable story
Amazing career and reeks integrity and empathy
Great lessons for everybody

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-03-21

Outstanding and inspiring.

A fantastic read. Insight to the leadership and mindset of the man behind some of the biggest acquisition deals in our times.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Max
  • 23-03-21

Insightful listen into Disney behind the scenes

insightful listen into the world of Disney behind the scenes and its major deals with Pixar, Fox, Marvel, and Lucas Films. Some valuable lessons here and some cliché ones there - only gripe is that the author only narrates the prologue and appendix rather than the entire book.

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  • Joyce
  • 13-03-21

What a ride!

Brilliant book! So interesting and insightful to hear his progress into becoming the ceo for Disney and then turning it around. I love his emphasis on humility, and recognising that as a leader you don’t know everything and people in your organisation matter. This guy sounds so genuine. If you read Steve Jobs’ biography you’ll appreciate the parts in here where Bob talks about his interaction with him. The narration of this book was superb, really easy to listen to and follow. I’ll be listening to this again soon, it’s a great book!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-03-21

Thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this book.

A really interesting journey (story) of one man's career portrayed in an engaging style, packed with great examples of how some decisions and options did or didn't work out.

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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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    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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    3 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.