The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

Get Book
My Rating: 5/10
Published or Updated On: 
November 19, 2022

Big Picture Thoughts

I originally approached this book with the intent to "get something out of it", which I think was a mistake. Though there are some great lessons (see bolded text), I think it's better to read it as an entertaining memoir. I enjoyed the story, but relate more to the founder story than CEO story, so I liked Shoe Dog and Little Black Stretchy Pants better.

The Main Ideas

  1. Long shots aren't as crazy as they seem. Be bold.
  2. True leadership requires a clear set of principles (below)
  3. To do the best work you can, you must build blank space into your work day beyond the daily triage, where your mind can wander.
  4. CEO work is laying out "where we want to be" and "how we're going to get there".

Summary Notes

10 Principles necessary to true leadership:

Relentless pursuit of perfection - about refusing to accept mediocrity, not perfectionism at all costs. Finding the energy, having hard conversations etc.

Instinct towards perfection, and the work ethic to follow through on that ethic.

"I learned from them that genuine decency and professional competitiveness weren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, true integrity—a sense of knowing who you are and being guided by your own clear sense of right and wrong—is a kind of secret weapon. …They trusted in their own instincts, they treated people with respect, and over time the company came to represent the values they lived by."

Shokunin - learned from Rune? the endless pursuit of perfection for a some greater good, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. For Iger, this means to take immense pride in the work you create, have the instinct to push for perfection, and the work ethic to follow through on the goal.

Lengths he went to meet Runes expectations and desire to please him. Balance between demanding they perform and not instilling a fear of failure.

Put people on places that requires more of them than they know they had in them

"However you find the time, it’s vital to create space in each day to let your thoughts wander beyond your immediate job responsibilities, to turn things over in your mind in a less pressured, more creative way than is possible once the daily triage kicks in."

Disney - “we don’t work that way” vs Dan Burke’s “avoid getting into the business of manufacturing trombone oil. You may become the best manu in the world but in the end, the world only consumes a few quarts per year.” Telling him not to invest in projects that would sap resources and him without give much back

No one wants to follow a pessimist. The tone you set as a leader is so important.

Have to convey priorities clearly and repeatedly. - 1 of most important for shaping culture. What separates great managers from rest.

CEO work: This is where we want to be. This is how we get there. Then everything becomes clear. So critical.

Giving segment owners more control had huge immediate effect

Being publicly tested in interviews - anxiety - focused on this is a job, dichotomy of control

Respect and empathy - Roy disney and other acquisitions

Calling Steve and getting a “not craziest idea”, sweating in the car. Learned long shots usually aren’t as long as they seem. “Be bold” - his wife Willow.

Pro con list for Pixar Disney acquisition.

In a creative business, the true value is in the people. That’s what you’re buying. Not assets. Thinking that is a mistake.

Pitching Disney board with Steve Jobs and Pixar heads. Rebuttal from ex CEO. Before going in for the final meeting, looking at teddy rosevelt and thinking of man in the arena.

He can’t emphasize enough how much success is also dependent on luck

Put people in roles that require more of them than they know they have in them

Enjoy this? Subscribe for more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.