Afterthoughts: The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger

Finding a balance between routine and spontaneity

What is the opposite of hustle culture?

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The Ride of a Lifetime contains the learnings on leadership from the long and storied career of Bob Iger, the latest chief at Disney.

I will be the first to admit that I found it a little bland. Perhaps it is because I have been spoilt with the opportunity to read a number of highly engaging memoirs in recent history, but the opening half of this felt lackluster. I know that I am probably being very harsh, but I had a hard time convincing myself to continue.

I recognise that this is an autobiography and Iger deserves to pat himself on the back, but I felt like there was too much of that. Up until is installment as the face of Disney, the book read like a guide on how to climb the corporate ladder. It was not exactly the book that was advertised to me. The focus was so intensely on his career that it felt like he was presenting a caricature of himself as a titan of industry, I don’t know whether that was on purpose or not, but it left me with a sour taste.

The pace and focus, however, spiced up significantly once installed as the CEO of Disney. The book found a second, third, and fourth gear in the retelling of the acquisitions of Marvel, LucasFilm, and Pixar. If I could choose to re-read this book, I would probably just read those chapters. Each account was much more candid than I perhaps expected and began to show Iger as more than a one-dimensional corporate-drone-turned-leader.

My criticisms are harsh and if I were to take this work on face value, it presents as a unique lens into the life and journey of a would-be Fortune 500 CEO. I have read a couple of other memoirs from Fortune 500 CEOs at this point, Phil Knight and Satya Nadella. Compared to those works, this was the lightest and “fluffiest” read in the sense that I didn’t really feel like I got to know Iger as intimately as I do Knight and Nadella. Perhaps that is by design, but if that is the case, it is a missed opportunity.


Recommended for anyone who has even a mild fascination with the Disney Corporation.

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