This book came to my attention in my email inbox as part of my subscription to the Gates Notes and was under one of Bill’s “summer reads” book list. I’ve been sitting on this book for over a year now and haven’t been able to get around to reading due to university and work commitments, but recently I had some time off and was able to get around to reading this book. The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger follows Igers many decades in business and what he has come to learn through those decades. Robert Iger is the CEO of the Walt Disney Company but before that he was in the lowest of low jobs at ABC. Through ABC being acquired by Capital Cities and then Capital Cities being acquired by Disney, Iger was able to work his way up the corporate ladder to become the CEO the Walt Disney Company and has been in that position for over a decade.
Usually, business books don’t appeal to me because I am simply not that interested in business. Still, I have always been a lover of all things Disney and Disney have been a part of my childhood for as far back as I can remember. I am glad that I read The Ride of a Lifetime because I did enjoy Iger giving great insight into all the acquisitions that Disney made and why they made them under his tenure. Having himself been in a merger twice, Iger writes about the delicacy one must take in corporate acquisition and how vital it is that a company is not to just acquiring the rights to intellectual property, manufacturing assets and other physical assets, but it is also acquiring people, and that means you must be sensitive to their worries and concerns. As Iger says, when someone is acquiring a creative business, the people are the true value!
While Iger is giving these insights into the business side of Disney, he also writes about how he treats people and the need for decency and transparency in business. Iger also details the work ethic that is demanded from someone who is the head of a Fortune 500 and the need for those who are in leadership roles to be optimistic. Iger doesn’t mean that you have to have blind faith in people or that you need to say things are good when they’re not. It’s about believing in your and your team’s abilities.
Another good point that Iger makes is that a leader shouldn’t be pessimistic. Nobody wants to hear someone constantly…