Book notes: The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger book summary review and key ideas.

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger


“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 admired 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 learned while running Disney and leading its 220,000-plus 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.
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Movie review: Queen of Katwe

Warning: spoiler alert!

A young girl from Uganda trains to become a world chess champion.

Initial thoughts:

Disney.True story. Academy Award winners. High rating on Rotton Tomatoes. I’m in. Disney is consistently good at tugging on my heartstrings, especially when it comes to themes of overcoming adversity and family.


In hindsight, there shouldn’t be any expectations for anything creative with the story development. Young girl stands out as special, shows promise, encounters resistance, gains friends and momentum, bigger setbacks, faces root problems, breakthrough, climax, then happiness and rainbows.

While I wasn’t expecting to be impressed with any unique plot twists, I knew that Disney would be masterful at executing the five acts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. This was no different.

Ending thoughts:

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