mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Manager Reads - The Ride of a Lifetime

Some time off from work for a staycation brings us this episode of Manager Reads which covers The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Bob Iger. Yes, that’s an amazingly long title, clocking in at 88 characters, but if I told you it isn’t the longest title of a book covered in Manager Reads would you believe me?

Who recommended the book? I took a staycation a few weeks ago. My manager Ravi, who recently read and enjoyed this book bought me a copy so I could do some leisure (Manager Reads) reading during my time off. Thanks, Ravi!

Judge the book by its cover, font, page quality? The cover for Ride of a Lifetime is clean and simple, prominently featuring a photo of the author. The cover features two text styles: a smaller, white style and a larger, golden, and raised style. The designer of the cover must also have something against non-capital letters because everything is capitalized. Overall, for an autobiographical book, I’m a fan of the cover.

I’m a fan of the inside too. The pages are thick, nicely off-white colored, a standard font is never offensive, and the leading is just right.

Thoughts on the book and the big take-aways? Iger opens the book covering the ten principles he sees as necessary for true leadership: optimism, courage, focus, decisiveness, curiosity, fairness, thoughtfulness, authenticity, the relentless pursuit of perfection, and integrity. From there we follow Iger’s journey which began at ABC Television. The story doesn’t end once Iger becomes CEO of Disney. In fact, things kick into higher gear at this point, with massive plays like the Marvel and Lucasfilm acquisitions and the launch of the Disney+ streaming service.

Throughout the book we see Iger leaning on the principles he opens with to get him through tough and tricky situations. The book closes similar to how it opens with a dive on lessons and principles Iger leads by. This structure worked amazingly well. Iger was able to accurately distill himself down into these principles and then he applied these principles time and time again. Even for front-line managers who are several rungs away from executive leadership this philosophy still applies and has value; you won’t always have complete information and you won’t be 100% comfortable with decisions you make so you need to lean onto your core values and principles to guide you.

One of the interesting tidbits I took away from Iger’s journey is Disney was very close to acquiring Twitter to serve as its multimedia distribution platform. In the last minute, Iger got cold feet and pulled out and opted to build Disney+ in house. Talk about dodging a grenade!

Favorite quote from the book? “Managing your own time and respecting others’ time is one of the most vital things to do as a manager.”

Elevator pitch for suggesting (or not suggesting) the book? This book is an enjoyable read that elegantly weaves Iger’s principles and the application of those principles. It’s a model any leader, even those not looking to be CEO of Disney, can take something from.

Notes in Evernote? My notes on 🐘 will not do justice to the exciting and meteoric rise of both Iger and Disney but check them out nonetheless if you’re interested.

Most of the world’s wisdom is written down in its best books. Manager Reads is a series covering books on management and leadership, focusing on books that can improve your own leadership with the wisdom of others. Enjoyed this post and want to see more? Check out more at Manager Reads.