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The Ride of a Lifetime

Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Written by: Robert Iger
Narrated by: Jim Frangione, Robert Iger
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
5 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number One New York Times Best Seller

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.

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. Fourteen 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 45 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.” 

©2019 Robert Iger (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“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 best-selling author of The Culture Code)

“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, number one New York Times best-selling author of Dare to Lead)

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interesting

A regular smart guy who learned good and bad from everyone he worked for ,with around loved it

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Great Story

I really enjoyed the raw risk honesty truth and kindness that was described in this book as Bob explained his career. As someone who loves Disney I didn’t fully understand how big the company was and I loved learning more about it as he told his story and lessons learned to get there. I took away how being true to yourself and not let things like ego and others opinions get in the way. Follow your gut. Really enjoyed it!

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It’s a bit about Disney and a lot about magic

I appreciate Bob Iger’s integrity and great storytelling ability.
I was however disappointed that he did not read the book. It lost something for me in the narration, which is professional but not as engaging as listening to Bob would have been.
There are so many wonderful lessons to learn in this book; we’ll worth the investment of your time.

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  • Lin M.
  • 2019-11-09

People Product Process

No one is better than Mr. Iger. This book tells his story and his why.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason
  • 2019-09-29

Perfect insight in to the mind of Bob Iger

For years, I have admired watching the “Disney magic” performed by Bob Iger as President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Bob is an exceptional leader and I am a huge fan! If I could start over my career, I would want to spend as much time as possible under his tutelage and learn from his 45 years of wisdom and insights of leadership and hard work at Disney. In this book, he explains his background and how he climbed the corporate ladder. After becoming CEO, he discussed how Disney was able to find opportunities to add value to its brand. He gave a glimpse into how he devises a corporate strategy. He also talked about some of the things that keep him up at night and worry him the most, and what he did to address those challenges. He didn’t cover what a typical day in the office looks like but he provided some morsels of how he structures his time to ensure maximum productivity and personal development. Through his vignettes, he covered some of the qualities that make a person successful at leading a world-renowned organization. He also shared some of his thinking behind his spectacular acquisitions as CEO. He talked about his assessment process when analyzing those opportunities. Bob also talked about how he helped disrupt the traditional ways of thinking at Disney and prepared the company for a brighter future. As the public face for Disney, he shared his thoughts and feelings on how he handled controversies or responded to negative coverage. The early reviews of the book honed in on a passing comment made by Bob about Steve Jobs and how, if Steve had lived longer, there may have been an opportunity to merge Disney into Apple. I never fully appreciated the close relationship Bob had with Steve. I think Bob did very well in paying tribute to his good friend Steve Jobs. Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing Disney build upon the successful legacy built by Bob Iger.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TheSavorings
  • 2019-09-27

Honestly blown away

Deep and very revealing account of a businessman I already found very intriguing. I realize there's two sides to every story but I really enjoyed the candor and honesty of Mr Iger in both this book and real life. I've been infatuated with big business and Hollywood politics and filmmaking since I was a little kid. Went to Film and Art School as an adult and am still a media junkie to this day. I've followed and dissected all the mergers, politics, sporting events, etc covered in the book and it was awesome to hear it all from his POV all of these years later. Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Carlos Sell
  • 2019-11-15

Learn from Super CEO

Great stories and instructive lessons. The events are very recent, some of this year. His intention is to share what he learned during the last 15 years in Disney (probably the most exciting time since the death of Walt), and he delivers the goods.

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  • Envoy30
  • 2019-11-14

I loved this book!

I could not wait to listen to this book every morning during my commute. I loved everything about it. Mr. Iger’s stories, his experience, his leadership thoughts, his vision, etc. An outstanding book!

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  • E. Gilder
  • 2019-11-13

Inspirational leadership!

I am so inspired by Mr. Iger’s forthright and candid sharing of his childhood and lessons learned on his rise to CEO. I especially appreciated learning of his leadership guideposts and the importance of decency and empathy. Such great words of wisdom to always remember!

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  • Mallory Pierce
  • 2019-11-13

Riveting!!

Highly recommend, couldn’t stop listening. What a company and what a CEO. Wow, thank you!

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  • John Werking
  • 2019-11-13

Amazing leadership book!

I loved listening to this book. The stories in this book helped me develop a strong sense of leadership and discover why past leaders of mine failed me along my journey. If you are looking to grow as a leader and to understand what makes great leadership this book is for you!

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  • Amy Wade
  • 2019-11-12

Great Read

I would recommend this book for everyone his shows how to navigate the difficult Waters of decision-making with integrity and empathy.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-11-10

Inspirational, but avoiding any controversy

Its a biography by a man leading one of the biggest politically correct corporations in the World, so there are no edges, no controversy, no true deep thoughts or reflections on bad decisions. Iger knows how to throw you a bone of buying Lucasfilm and sadness of Lucas, but never goes deep into Last Jedi fail against fandom, never tells story of James Gunn (even though tells story of firing Roseanne Barr)... Its very well ghostwriten, avoiding anything problematic, but what is the purpose then. Yeah, inspirational on leading, staying human and on the ground and building something really big. But it could have been really exceptional.