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

I just finished reading the book and it wonderfully captures your attention to various aspects and features of leadership and human values. Disney has been solely responsible for giving great memories for children of the world through its various characters and Disneyland theme parks. Robert Iger, through this book has conveyed his journey as CEO of a wonderful organization.

What I liked the most is plain candidness of Bob Iger through which he messages all the hardships be it personal or professional about the role he was playing in Disney journey. The book opens with an electrifying account of a 24-hour period in which Iger kept multiple balls in the air dealing with Chinese officials and all the complex moving pieces of launching Shanghai Disneyland, while simultaneously responding to the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando where Disney cast members counted among the victims. Just before the ribbon cutting ceremony in Shanghai, he learns Disneyland House of Blues was the terrorist’s original target. Then he is told an alligator has killed a 2 year-old boy at the park in Florida and immediately reaches out to the parents. This particular episode touched my heart because, not only did this episode was marking a milestone in his professional life but also showcasing the empathetic part of this persona.

The book swiftly moves into various part of his professional life and talks about the transformation journey of one of the biggest and most loved brands on the planet.  Bob Iger shares his visions and learning through his career, Bob Iger gives a management lesson, with actionable best practices for leading creative teams, negotiations involving people’s legacies and how to create valuable brands in a technological and global world.

Robert Iger touches upon his interactions with Steve Jobs multiple times in the book. As we know, Steve Jobs has been one of the creative pioneers of this generation. While acquiring PIXAR, Iger interacted with Jobs many times. These interactions swiftly moved from just being professional to deeply personal. The books talks about the influence of Jobs on Iger’s personal and professional journey as an executive managing the most creative business of the planet.

What I personally found lacking in the book was mention about episodes within the company. Most of the dialogues or interactivity mentions about the top executive of the Disney and various acquisitions which Disney has embarked upon in last few years. May be, more episodes from the production floors and theme park episodes could have been included. The acquisitions have led one of the biggest transformations in the world of entertainment and animation, but more human aspect of integration could have been included in the book.

In the end to summarize, I really enjoyed this book and recommend to read it cover-to-cover! The book prompts you to think about leadership in corporate setting and makes you understand the leader a bit better.

With this, the book will go back into my personal collections. Please do let me know if you need to borrow.


Nihit M


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Who is Nihit Mohan?

12.5 years of experience operating at the intersection of Risk, Retail Banking and Stress Testing within globally recognised Banks in Singapore.



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