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Book Review: The Ride of a Lifetime

The Book ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ is written by Robert Iger, the Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company.

The Book is about the remarkable career of Bob Iger and the various defining moves he did to transform Disney into the behemoth it is now.

Bob wrote the book to share his learnings with the audience and possibly with an eye on a political career.

The Book begins with his 10 principles which served him well such as optimism, courage, focus, decisiveness, curiosity, fairness, thoughtfulness, authenticity, relentless pursuit of perfection and integrity

His lines on Integrity stuck a chord with me : “Nothing is more important than the quality and integrity of an organization’s people and its product.They way you do anything is the way you do everything.”

The Book then goes on to descibe the various steps of Bob Iger’s career.He hailed from a middle class Jewish family in New York and had a deep desire to be a success.I loved his words : “I was determined not to live a life of disappointment”

Bob started his career in 1974 as a studio supervisor for ABC Television. He then rose steadily and surely to the top of the ranks.Subsequently, when Disney acquired ABC, he became #2 in the combined entity

Many biographies downplay the vicious politics , back biting, board room battles etc that happens in offices.Bob is unusually honest about it and makes for gripping reading.

When Eisner is ousted from Disney, the Board did not want to consider Bob for the # 1 position. Bob campaigned for the post just like a politician campaigns for office.One great insight was a company’s culture is shaped by what priorities is set by the leadership.And you can’t have too many priorities-just 3 of them.

Bob presented his 3 priorties to the Board and clinched the job:

  1. Creating high quality branded content
  2. Embracing Technology
  3. Becoming a truly global co

Bob spent the next 15 years just focussing on these 3 priorities and ending up creating one of the most valuable companies on the planet.

Priority 1 saw some of the greatest deals in the entertainment world- Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel etc

Priority 2 was about Disney + etc

Priority 3 saw the opening of Shanghai Disneyland etc

The anecdotes involved are very interesting and make for great reading.

There are some anecdotes of my hero Steve Jobs which just underscores what a remarkable man Steve was.

I would strongly recommend this Book to everyone interested in business.

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