I had the privilege and joy to meet Disney’s CEO a few years ago at the “Cars 3” world premiere. We had met previously at various press events, but never got the opportunity to freely ask for chat time and a photo until then.
The reception for the premiere took place a closed Cars Land in Disney California Adventure park. All the attractions and shops were open to premiere guests only, which included Jimmy Kimmel, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige, Tony Hawk, Terry Crews, Ellen DeGeneres, and many more.
After chatting with Iger a bit and getting our first photo together, I couldn’t help but think what a unique life he has had. Little did I know just a few years later, he’d create a book that only affirmed my thought.
“The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company” just released a few weeks ago and Iger has been on nearly every television program and has done every print interview as a part of a press tour the likes of which can only be compared to when the cast of a new Marvel Studios movie appears to tout their offering to the world.
According to him in those interviews, the title of the book came from the idea of Disney attractions and the ups-and-downs in being the leader of one of the world’s most revered and largest entertainment companies.
He opens to book in a dramatic and deeply personal way, painting a picture of three tragedies that happened in near sequence leading up to the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland in China. It pivots to more happy experiences with getting to make the history-making “Black Panther,” then back to more difficult experiences like having to see the deteriorating condition of Apple Inc.’s and his personal friend Steve Jobs.
And with Iger still at the helm of Disney for the next few years, there is bound to be even more to the ride in his lifetime.
With the recounting of each experience in the book, Iger does do a great job at opening up to the world about what it’s like to lead Disney and all the benefits and challenges that come with it in great detail that felt authentic and transparent. He splits his wisdom to ten concepts that have greatly helped him in his journey as CEO, things that I’m sure many have found in other books as well.
As with business books, each concept that’s argued must be backed up with real-life examples of it in play in the world in order to make it believable. His name-dropping alone of celebrities and industry pioneers that he has personally worked with present him as an authority on most topics.
At the same time, the benefit of having these unique experiences is also a drawback in how you can relate to his life. Business book concepts often lead to action that you can then take with you to implement in your own life, but Iger’s life is so unique that you can’t even relate.
The effect of that extends throughout the book, that while it humanizes the man who has grown Disney to the top of the business and cultural charts, it reminds you that there is only one Bob Iger.
”The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company” is now available for purchase as book retailers everywhere.