In 2015 Robert Iger became CEO when the Walt Disney Company was going through tough times. At that time the competition was fiercer than ever and technology was changing faster than any other era in the history of the company. Robert Iger emerged as a leader with three ideas: commitment to quality, embracing technology instead of fighting it, and turning Disney into a stronger brand in the international market.
Twelve years later, Disney is the largest and most respected media company in the world, including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. His value is almost five times what he was when Iger took over, and he is recognized as one of the most innovative and successful CEOs of our time.
In his book The Ride of a Lifetime, Robert Iger shares the lessons he has learned from his forty-five years of work, from a casual worker at ABC Television to being CEO at Disney and leading its 200,000 employees. He also explores the principles necessary for true leadership, namely:
- Optimism. Even in the face of adversity, an optimistic leader will find a path and focus towards success, rather than succumbing to pessimism and blaming each other.
- Courage. Leaders must be willing to take risks and bets. Fear of failure destroys creativity.
- Firmness. All decisions, however difficult, must be taken immediately. Indecision is a mistake and can damage company morale.
- Justice. Treat people with courtesy, empathy, and sincerity.
This book is not only suitable for aspiring CEOs of the world, but for anyone who wants to feel more courageous and confident because of its content that inspires personal and professional life.
Let's take a look at the table of contents:
Part One Learning
- Chapter 1. Starting at The Bottom
- Chapter 2. Betting on Talent
- Chapter 3. Know What You Don't Know (and Trust in What You Do)
- Chapter 4. Enter Disney
- Chapter 5. Second in Line
- Chapter 6. Good Things Can Happen
- Chapter 7. It's About the Future
Part Two Leading
- Chapter 8. The Power of Respect
- Chapter 9. Disney-Pixar and a New Path to the Future
- Chapter 10. Marvel and Massive Risks That Make Perfect Sense
- Chapter 11. Star Wars
- Chapter 12. If You Don't Innovate, You Die
- Chapter 13. No Price on Integrity
- Chapter 14. Core Values
About the Physical Book and its Design
This cover design looks very serious to my eyes. Moreover, the figure of Robert Iger who uses a formal suit in the image strengthens the impression of professionalism that is being carried. At first glance, the cover of this book also resembles the model of Michelle Obama's biography 'Becoming', so it is suspected that The Ride of A Lifetime is a memoir. In fact, this book is not a biographical book, but belongs to the leadership and management genre. The handsome and successful figure of Robert Iger himself feels right in the field he is in, namely entertainment. Despite all these impressions, it turns out that this book was written with a storytelling approach that flows and is far from rigid.
Opinion - What's Interesting or liked about this book
It is also quite unique when in the introductory chapter there are already important points such as the leadership principles that I quote below. I think this is deliberately mentioned by Robert Iger to frame and bridge the stories that he will tell later. We already know these leadership principles from many other leadership books. In theory it seems easy, but in practice it must be challenging because (one of them) the conflicts experienced by each leader are sometimes different, as well as the situation. This is where Robert Iger's stories will later give us a deeper understanding, when this principle should be applied and if not then what the consequences will be.
The impression of a personal story is very attached to this book. His style is exactly like a biography. Each chapter is told directly from the point of view of Robert Iger, who recounts the phases of his career on ABC television to his final entry into top management at the Disney Company.
The name Jiro Ono is not the first time I 'hear'. Jiro Ono himself is specifically told in the book Ikigai written by Ken Mogi as one of the characters in Japan who has ikigai. The restaurant is also said to have been visited by many world figures, one of which was the former president of the United States, Barrack Obama. This time in The Ride of A Lifetime, Jiro Ono's name is mentioned once again. Reading this makes these two books feel correlated with each other.
So far there is no kind of summary or important sentences that are specially laid out. We must listen carefully to the stories that are told and pick their own wisdom and value. However, the story is engaging, so I have no difficulties to keep turning its pages.
The background of Robert Iger's successful career in the entertainment field causes his stories to intersect with many famous figures, such as Tom Murphy, Michael Eisner, Roone Arledge, George Lucas, Rupert Murdoch, and top world artists such as Tom Cruise and Chadwick Boseman, or phenomenal producers like Stephen Spielberg. Some are only mentioned briefly, some are told at length.
Steve Jobs' fierce feud with the Disney CEO before Iger, the friendship that followed, the secret to Steve's cancer, and the description of the character of the number one person in technology are just a few of what we can read in the book. There are also conflicts that are told as they are. This book tells with 'bold' events and Robert Iger's opinion on the events in question. Not only did he give compliments to certain people, but also the weaknesses he noticed in them.
The twin tower incident is also told in this book and its impact on Disney at that time. Several books other than those written by Robert Iger also allude to the twin tower incident.
So far, I only know about the films Spiderman, Black Panther, Avenger, Toy Story, Inside Out, Cars, and many other award-winning films in the animation category from those films shown in our theaters in Indonesia and on television channels. But reading The Ride of Lifetime made it all feel a lot different. Robert Iger shared his experience from when Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars so that we can hear many behind-the-scenes stories that may have never been exposed before, both about the background of making these famous films, the main characters in the production field and major decision makers, internal and external conflicts, to personal stories, all from the point of view of Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney directly.
There are some documentary photos in the middle of the book, Robert Iger with popular figures such as Steve Jobs or photos of special moments such as the opening ceremony of Disney Park in China.
At the end of the book there is a chapter Lessons to Lead By, Robert Iger specifically sums up the wisdom of each story in his life, the lessons that shape his professional life. It all reminds me of the contents of the book Trillion Dollar Coach which is also on the theme of leadership - management, contains the story of Bill Champbell during his career, and the message of the story is similar to this book.
Who is Robert Iger
Robert Allen Iger (February 10, 1951) is an American media executive, film producer, writer, and entrepreneur who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company. Prior to working for Disney, Iger served as President of ABC Television from 1994-1995, and as President/COO of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. from 1995 until Disney acquired the company in 1996.
He served as President and COO of Disney in 2000, and later succeeded Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005. As part of his annual compensation, Iger earned $44.9 million in 2015. During Iger's tenure, Disney expanded the list of the company's intellectual property. and its presence in international markets; Iger oversaw the 2006 acquisitions of Pixar for $7.4 billion, Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion, Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion, and 21st Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3 billion, as well as the expansion of theme park resorts. companies in East Asia, with the introduction of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort in 2005 and 2016 respectively
Iger was the driving force behind the rise of Walt Disney Animation Studios and the studio's branded release strategy. Under Iger, Disney has seen increased revenue across multiple divisions, with the company's market capitalization increasing from $48.4 billion to $257 billion over a thirteen-year period.
In April 2019, Iger announced that he would be stepping down as CEO and Chairman of Disney when his contract expired at the end of 2021.
In June 2012, Steven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation's Institute of Visual History and Education, presented Iger with the Ambassador of Humanity Award. Iger is recognized for his support of the Institute's work, his generosity and his leadership role in corporate citizenship. Iger was awarded The Milestone Award from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) in 2014. This award is the PGA's highest recognition for an individual or team who has contributed to entertainment.
In May 2015, Iger was inducted into the 25th Annual Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. In October 2015, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) inducted Iger into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. He was selected by TIA members in recognition of his contribution to the industry, and the impact his work has had on the lives of children around the world
The book The Ride of A Lifetime received a rating of 4.4 on Amazon and 4.4 on Goodreads.
I recommend this book to readers who are looking for a management and leadership book that is delivered in the form of story telling (management and leadership of Robert Iger at Walt Disney in particular). The narrative is easy to understand, the stories are interesting and reveal many behind the scenes events, such as the Pixar acquisition process and the company's internal conflicts. Each story has a message, which Iger concludes in the last chapter of the book. There are several documented photos of Iger with popular figures such as Steve Jobs or photos of special moments such as the opening ceremony of Disney Park in China.
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