The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A memoir of leadership and success: The CEO of Disney, Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year, shares the ideas and values he embraced while reinventing one of the world’s most beloved companies and inspiring the people who bring the magic to life.
ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
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.
Today, Disney is the largest, most admired media company in the world, counting Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox among its properties. Under Iger’s leadership, Disney’s value grew nearly five times what it was, making Iger one of the most innovating and successful CEOs of our era.
In The Ride of a Lifetime, Robert Iger shares the lessons he learned while running Disney and leading its 220,000-plus 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 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.”
“I expected a book written by the person who has led Disney for decades to be defined by both gripping storytelling and deep leadership wisdom. Bob Iger delivers, and then some! The Ride of a Lifetime is leadership gold—you won’t forget the stories or the lessons.”—Brené Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead
“Nurturing creativity is less a skill than an art—especially at a company where the brand alone is synonymous with creativity. That’s a lot to live up to. Bob Iger has not only lived up to ninety-six years of groundbreaking history but has moved the Disney brand far beyond anyone’s expectations, and he has done it with grace and audacity. This book shows you how that’s happened.”—Steven Spielberg
“People have been waiting years for Bob Iger to share his leadership secrets. Now he has, and they are utterly brilliant. The Ride of a Lifetime is not merely a memoir; it’s a personal, all-access session with the wisest CEO you’ve ever met and a playbook for handling the key challenges of our age: how to drive change, leverage technology, build an enduring culture, and empower people. It’s a rippingly good, revelatory read.”—Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Culture Code
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 and cable television properties, and guided the merger between Capital Cities/ABC 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.