The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger

The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger

The Ride of a Lifetime is a memoir by the CEO of Disney, Bob Iger. I listened to this at 3x speed on Libby, learned many lessons and got a tiny glimpse into what life as a CEO is like in a huge coroporation.

This book is mainly about leadership and the situations that Bob Iger faced while being the CEO of Disney and ABC Television and the subsequent lessons that he learnt from them. The stories in this book were amazing and really touching. For example, the story about how Disney acquired Pixar and Marvel Entertainment. Also the story about his close friendship with Steve Jobs was really fasinating to read about.

This book was also a really great insight into Disney, one of the most iconic brands of our childhood.


Here are my notes from this book. Some of these are copied from the ebook while others are ideas that I paraphrased.

Bob Iger’s Top Values

  1. Optimism
  2. Courage
  3. Focus
  4. Divisiveness
  5. Curiosity
  6. Fairness
  7. Thoughtfulness
  8. Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
  9. Integrity
  • People acquire companies for the loyal people
  • Wherever you are on the path, you are the same person you have always been.
  • To tell great stories, you need great talent.
  • Innovate or die
  • “Relentless Pursuit of Perfection” - Creating an environment where you refuse to accept mediocity
  • Take Responsibility when you screw up
  • Be decent to people
  • “Excellence and fairness don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Strive for perfection but always be aware of the pitfalls of caring only about the product and never the people.”
  • Ability > Experience
  • Ask Questions, Admit what you do not know
  • If you want innovation, you need to grant permissio to fail
  • “Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness.”
  • “Don’t let ambition get ahead of opportunity. By fixating on a future job or project, you become impatient with where you are. You don’t tend enough to the responsibilities you do have, and so ambition can become counterproductive. It’s important to know how to find the balance—do the job you have well; be patient; look for opportunities to pitch in and expand and grow; and make yourself one of the people, through attitude and energy and focus, whom your bosses feel they have to turn to when an opportunity arises.”
  • Don’t invest in being a shark in a small fish tank. There is no opportunity there.
  • Great leadership is about ensuring that others can step into your shoes easily.
  • “Micromanaging is underrated” - Micheal Eisner
  • Optimism emerges from faith in yourself and the people who work for you
  • If something doesn’t feel right to you. It won’t be right for you
  • In a negotiation, be clear about where you stand from the begining.
  • “If you’re in the business of making something, be in the business of making something great.”