When Bob Iger became the CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, it wasn’t an easy time. Tensions were high, the competition was fierce, and technology was changing in the blink of an eye.
Now in 2019, Disney is one of the largest media companies in the world, and holds Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox under its wings. In his new book, “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company,” Iger shares some of the lessons and ideas he used to help bring Disney back to the forefront of entertainment, as well as a few memories along the way.
When I first started reading this book, I expected that I would learn more about the great 45-year journey that Iger would take from his start as a Studio Supervisor at ABC to the figurehead of Disney we know today – I did not expect that I would come out feeling wholly inspired and have a new sense of respect for him.
The memoir is filled with so many lessons that are applicable to anyone in life, not just your average aspiring CEO. Iger’s experience, from childhood to adulthood, resonated with me in a way I hadn’t expected. His ten principles for leadership are clearly outlined at the end of the book, but you can find each and every one of them demonstrated throughout his actions in life and work.
I was impressed and surprised by the candor that Iger employed in his memoir. There were so many instances where I thought, “Wow! He really put that in here!” – even at the beginning of the book, which starts with the Pulse nightclub massacre and unfortunate loss of a young boy from an alligator attack at Walt Disney World, all which happened just before Shanghai Disney Resort was due to open. I was so taken aback by his plain honesty and deep empathy for these people he didn’t know but felt responsible for. That’s not something you’d initially expect from any business leader.
Thanks to his curiosity to learn, empathy for his colleagues and employees, and respect for the crafts of animation, filmmaking, Imagineering and beyond, Iger managed to take a company that was slowly drowning and throw it a life preserver in the form of investing in creativity, expanding globally, and looking to the future of technology.
If you are a Disney fan of any capacity, or are just looking for an inspiring read, you owe it to yourself to pick up this book.
You can pick up “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company” wherever books are sold. The proceeds from “The Ride of a Lifetime” will be donated to educational initiatives aimed at fostering more diversity in the field of journalism.