Podcast & Book Reviews

Book Review | The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

December 8, 2021

Book Review | The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

Book Review | The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

By Nelson DeMestre | Associate Analyst at NAOS Asset Management

 

“On the least eventful days, this job requires an ability to constantly adapt and re-adapt. You go from plotting growth strategy with investors, to looking at the design of a giant new theme-park attraction with Imagineers, to giving notes on the rough cut of a film, to discussing security measures and board governance and ticket pricing and pay scale. The days are challenging and dynamic, but they’re also a never-ending exercise in compartmentalization”.

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons in Creative Leadership from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger

The memoir of Bob Iger, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2020 is a great (and easy) read. Iger ran the company through a period of extreme company change and renewal, which included its acquisition of Pixar, 21st Century Fox, Lucasfilm, Marvel and almost Twitter.

Iger’s Tenure:

 

Gross Profit

Share Price

2005

$5.57 bn

$27.64 Closing Price Post CEO Appointment Announcement

2020

$30.51 bn

$133.01 Closing Price Day-Prior To Stepping Down

 

Iger deals with the difficult side to leadership of such an important company, where on the same day he was opening Disneyland Shanghai with the Heads of China, while having to emotionally steady himself after an extreme tragedy occurred simultaneously in Orlando. Despite the park opening being the culmination of years of work, visits and planning – Iger had to contend with other issues not of his own doing. This story was a theme that characterised his 15 years as CEO. Hence the necessity of being able “compartmentalise”, with personal and strategic problems arising constantly. To offset these inevitable problems, Iger recommends the building of trust as central to the DNA of the business:

“Looking back on the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, the thread that runs through all of them (other than that, taken together, they transformed Disney) is that each deal depended on building trust with a single controlling entity”

He also recommends actively cutting ideas when you recognise they are failing, embracing innovation, prioritising integrity above all else.

Link to Book