A grand vision defined: 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. Featuring personal photos and an interview with Robert Iger, exclusive for this Barnes & Noble edition.
Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, during a difficult time. Competition was more intense than ever 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.
Twelve 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 recognized 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 forty-five 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.
“The ideas in this book strike me as universal” Iger writes. “Not just to the aspiring CEOs of the world, but to anyone wanting to feel less fearful, more confidently themselves, as they navigate their professional and even personal lives.”
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Edition description:||B&N Exclusive Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Robert Iger is chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. He previously served as president and CEO, beginning in October 2005, and was president and COO from 2000 to 2005. Iger began his career at ABC in 1974, and as chairman of the ABC Group he oversaw the broadcast television network and station group, managed the cable television properties, and guided the merger between Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., and The Walt Disney Company. Iger officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group and in 1999 was given the additional responsibility of president, Walt Disney International. In that role, Iger expanded Disney’s presence outside of the United States, establishing the blueprint for the company’s international growth today.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
Great dive into the acquisitions and the evolution of the organization.
Robert Iger is a great story-teller, & he tells his story of leadership with great candor & transparency! Highly recommended!
"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.