The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

by Robert Iger

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The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company (B&N Exclusive Edition) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
MarkDisFan More than 1 year ago
Before reading The Ride of a Lifetime I genuinely did not like Bob Iger. To me he represented a major and undesirable shift away from organically created Disney IP’s to a business model primarily focused on acquiring the creative output of non-Disney artists and studios. I especially disliked the dilution of the Disney brand in the parks, mixing Marvel, Star Wars, Disney and Pixar attractions right alongside one another (removing G rated Bugs Land and replacing with PG-13 Marvel is especially upsetting). But after reading his book I get it, and I actually really like and respect Bob Iger now. I still don’t like what’s happened to the Disney brand, but in a world of be the big fish or be swallowed I understand why he made the decisions he needed to make. At the onset of the book he points out this isn’t a memoir, but rather to share a set of important lessons he has learned over the course of his career. To that end some of the lessons are very insightful, interesting and likely helpful to anyone in a leadership position. But it’s the details behind his ascension to CEO and the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars that makes this book a real page turner. I couldn’t put it down and finished the book over the course of a day and evening, thoroughly enjoying every moment of it. I had read Disney War by James Stewart and found it to be incredibly long-winded and boring. Bob’s book cuts through that time with incredible clarity, presenting the players and personalities as-is with seemingly no bias in one direction or another. There is a question at the end exclusive to the B&N edition that I wish an entire chapter was devoted to answering: What do you think would have happened to Disney if you hadn’t shifted the way you do business? His answer is Disney would have become “marginalized“ (synonym is insignificant) and “vulnerable.” I would love to have a heard from him what his specific concerns were if the acquisitions would have stopped with Pixar. Who would have likely purchased Marvel and Star Wars, and what specific impact would that have had to the the Disney parks and movies? The Tokyo Disney parks are an excellent example of sort of freezing in time, with all of their future expansions based on traditional Disney, and they appear to be doing very well. Would another company have ultimately ended up purchasing Disney without Marvel and Star Wars? Would attendance at the parks dropped off significantly? And does Bob believe the newly acquired IPs will instill the same fierce customer loyalty and repeat visits to the parks, or will these new guests in the parks be one or two visits and done? There is obviously no going back, but again I would have loved hearing more from him on why he believed his changes were ultimately in the best interests of the company, and some potential scenarios might have played out if he had not made them. Also did Disney leadership consider creating an entirely new park dedicated to Marvel and Star Wars? If they did what locations did they consider and what was the reason for not doing so? I hope we get the answer to these questions and many more in a forthcoming memoirs book.
CoolToys 3 months ago
Being a life long Disney Fan, I was very curious about the fall of Michel Eisner, and wondered about the reasons Disney bought Marvel. If you are a Disney fan or would like insights on what it takes to get in to the top office a a Fortune 500 company, this is a great book.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Great dive into the acquisitions and the evolution of the organization.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Robert Iger is a great story-teller, & he tells his story of leadership with great candor & transparency! Highly recommended!
ABookAWeekES 10 months ago
"True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else. Robert Iger, Bob as everyone calls him, is the CEO of one of the largest corporations in the world. As the head of the Walt Disney Company, he has the unenviable task of honoring the legacy of the famed company's founder while keeping it relevant and profitable in modern times. The way in which entertainment is created and consumed is drastically different from dear old Walt's days. In his book The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger writes about his journey from starting at the bottom of ABC to becoming the head of the Disney company at a time when it was in a state of turmoil. Iger presents his managerial advice through a chronological look back at his remarkable career. He started as a studio grunt at ABC nearly 45 years ago. His undying curiosity combined with a willful work ethic to help him start to climb the ranks of the company. Iger credits the mentorship of his bosses during that time for not only teaching him aspects of the business but showing him the qualities needed to be a leader. After cutting his teeth in the sports section of the network, bosses took a chance on him and thrust him into the role of head of prime time. Thrust into a role he really didn't know about, Iger learned to admit what he didn't know and be gracious to the people who could teach him. It seems that those early years really prepared Iger for taking on the job of running Disney. At the time he took over, Michael Eisner's tenure was coming to a tumultuous close. The company was floundering creatively and suffering financially because of it. Most alarming, Walt Disney Animation the once bright spot on which the company was grown, was completely out of touch with what made it special. Iger turned to an unlikely partnership with Steve Job's Pixar to reinvigorate the culture of creativity at the company. In an unprecedented move, Disney purchased Pixar and brought in their leadership to help rebuild Walt Disney Animation. This move not only breathed new life into the company, but foreshadowed the bold move of acquiring Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox. In The Ride of a Lifetime, Bob Iger reflects back on his remarkable professional triumphs and challenges with refreshing candor that really draws you in. Yes, he runs one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, but he seems so genuine and down to earth in how he deals with his people. I especially related to the way he owns what he knows and doesn't know, never "bossing" the people who are more knowledgeable than he is. The book works as both a concise managerial thesis and a compelling memoir, the kind of read that will reveal different layers to different readers. I highly recommend it to those in leadership positions and casual Disney fans alike.
Carlos Roman 3 months ago