The Ride of a Lifetime

Robert Iger

This was one of the first "leadership advice" books I've read. I certainly did learn a lot from Bob's leadership style and advice, but what really drew me to this book was a desire to hear about how the acquisitions of Pixar, and then Marvel and Star Wars came to be. Having read Lawrence Levy's To Pixar And Beyond a while back, I was excited to see that part of the story from the other side of the negotiations. The book didn't disappoint, and I enjoyed learning about these deals and how Bob navigated his career from a programming executive at ABC to CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

The book is chock-full of sound leadership advice as well. Even though I'm not leading a company right now, much of his advice and bits of knowledge are still valuable and applicable to much of what I do daily.

Top Quotes

Here are some quotes that stood out to me as valuable while I was reading:

I tend to approach bad news as a problem that can be worked through and solved, something I have control over rather than something happening to me.

Innovation was a key point throughout Iger's tenure as CEO:

Innovate or die, and ther's no innovation if you operate out of fear of the new or untested.

"I know why companies fail to innovate," I said to them at one point. "It's tradition. Tradition generates so much friction, every step of the way."

Leadership advice was present throughout the read, in addition to fascinating stories about big deals and events:

...when I'm the one attending a meeting with a group outside of Disney, I make sure to conenct and speak with every person at the table. It's a small gesture, but I remember how it felt to be the overlooked sidekick, and anything that reminds you that you're not the center of the universe is a good thing.

The tone you set as a leader has an enormous effect on the people around you. No one wants to follow a pessimist.

I can't overstate how important it is to keep blows to the ego, real as they often are, from occupying too big a place in your mind and sapping too much of your energy.

If you approach and engage people with respect and empathy, the seemingly impossible can become real.