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The Ride of a Lifetime
Cover of The Ride of a Lifetime
The Ride of a Lifetime
Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A memoir of leadership and success: The executive chairman of Disney, Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year, shares the ideas and values he embraced...
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A memoir of leadership and success: The executive chairman of Disney, Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year, shares the ideas and values he embraced...
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  • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A memoir of leadership and success: The executive chairman of Disney, Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year, shares the ideas and values he embraced during his fifteen years as CEO while reinventing one of the world’s most beloved companies and inspiring the people who bring the magic to life.

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR

    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.

    Today, Disney is the largest, most admired media...

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter 1

    Starting at the Bottom

    This book is not a memoir, but it's impossible to talk about the traits that have served me well over the course of my professional life and not look back at my childhood. There are certain ways I've always been, things I've always done, that are the result of some inscrutable mix of nature and nurture. (I've always woken early, for example, as far back as I can remember, and cherished those hours to myself before the rest of the world wakes up.) There are other qualities and habits that are the result of purposeful decisions I made along the path. As is the case with many of us, those decisions were partially made in response to my parents, in particular my father, a brilliant and troubled man who shaped me more than anyone.

    My father made me curious about the world. We had a den lined with shelves full of books, and my dad had read every one of them. I didn't become a serious reader until I was in high school, but when I did finally fall in love with books, it was because of him. He had complete sets that he ordered from the Book of the Month Club of the works of all the American literary giants—Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Faulkner and Steinbeck and so on. I'd pull down from the shelves his copy of Tender Is the Night or For Whom the Bell Tolls or dozens of others and devour them, and he'd urge me to read even more. We also spent our dinners discussing world events, and as young as ten years old, I'd grab the New York Times on our front lawn and read it at the kitchen table before anyone else woke up.

    We lived in a split-level house in a small working-class town on Long Island called Oceanside. I was the older of two kids; my sister is three years younger. My mother was warm and loving, a stay-at-home mom until I went to high school, at which point she got a job in the local junior high school library. My dad was a Navy veteran who came back from the war and played the trumpet with some "lesser" big bands, but he figured he could never make much of a living as a musician, so never tried to do it full-time. He majored in marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and his first job was working in marketing for a food manufacturing company, and that led him into advertising. He became an account executive at an advertising agency on Madison Avenue—he handled the Old Milwaukee and Brunswick bowling accounts—but eventually lost that job. He changed agencies several times, almost always lateral moves. By the time I was ten or eleven, he'd changed jobs so many times that I began to wonder why.

    He was always deeply politically engaged and had a very strong liberal bias. He once lost a job because he was determined to go to the March on Washington and see Martin Luther King, Jr., speak. His boss wouldn't give him the day off, but he went anyway. I don't know if he quit and went to the speech or if he was fired for going after he'd been told he couldn't, but it was just one of several such endings.

    I was proud of his strong character and his politics. He had a fierce sense of what was right and fair, and he was always on the side of the underdog. But he also had trouble regulating his moods and would often say things that got him into trouble. I later learned that he'd been diagnosed with manic depression, and that he'd tried several therapies, including electroshock therapy, to treat his illness. As the older child, I bore the brunt of his emotional unpredictability. I never felt threatened by his moods, but I was acutely aware of his dark side and felt sad for him. We never knew which Dad was coming home at night, and I can distinctly recall sitting in my room on the...

About the Author-

  • Robert Iger is the executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company and directs the company’s creative endeavors. He served as CEO from 2005 to 2020. He previously was president and COO from 2000 to 2005. Iger began his career at ABC in 1974, and as chairman of the ABC Group he oversaw the broadcast television network and station group, managed the cable television properties, and guided the merger between Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., and The Walt Disney Company. Iger officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group and in 1999 was given the additional responsibility of president, Walt Disney International. In that role, Iger expanded Disney’s presence outside of the United States, establishing the blueprint for the company’s international growth today.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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The Ride of a Lifetime
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Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Robert Iger
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