Book Review: The Ride of a Lifetime

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The subtitle of this book promises “Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO Of the Walt Disney Company.” You’ll get those, but there’s a lot more. The lessons learned go all the way back to Bob Iger’s childhood and his time at college. They include his time at ABC, which began in 1974.

In other words, there’s a lot more to this book than the title would imply, and the title implies a lot. Bob Iger shares his goal for the book in the Prologue.

“If you run a business or manage a team or collaborate with others in pursuit of a common goal, this book might be helpful to you. My experiences from day one have all been in the media and entertainment world, but these strike me as universal ideas: about fostering risk taking and creativity; about building a culture of trust; about fueling a deep and abiding curiosity in oneself and inspiring that in the people around you; about embracing change rather than living in denial of it; and about operating, always, with integrity and honesty in the world, even when that means facing things that are difficult to face.”

There’s a lot for you in The Ride of a Lifetime, if you’re a leader, someone responsible for the performance of a group. You’ll learn some lessons by reading Iger’s story. Other lessons are written out more explicitly. It’s a great combination.

You get to watch Bob Iger develop. His core values stay essentially the same as his skills develop and his challenges increase. He learns from many mentors. He takes good things from each one and gives them all credit.

The story makes it all easy and compelling reading. And he shares explicit lessons in two places in the book. Iger sketches “10 principles that strike me as necessary to true leadership” in the Prologue. After the end of the book, there’s a section titled “Lessons to Lead By.”

This is a great book. You will learn from the story and from Bob Iger’s life and example. And you’ll learn from explicit lessons that he lays out.

I highlight interesting things and important learnings in every book that I read. Good books have lots of highlights. Great books have mind-jarring highlights. They’re the kind where you stop reading the book, put it down, and ponder what you just read. There was at least one mind-jarring highlight for me in every chapter.

Bottom Line

If you’re a leader or you want to be, buy The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO Of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger and read it. You’ll absorb lessons from the interesting story that is Bob Iger’s life. You’ll also learn from the explicit lessons.

You can check out some of my highlights and notes from this book on GoodReads.


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