The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger is a solid business book subtitled Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
Iger's next job after working on the soap opera was in sports, and he details how from working for Roone Arledge on Wide World of Sports, he learned about storytelling, using technology, and perfectionism. Also from this time is a story Iger tells about the importance of owning a mistake, something he notes later as an important principle, part of the aforementioned lessons learned to pass along.
Some of the most interesting content in the book is around how hard he worked to convince the board to give him the CEO job. He met with a political consultant who urged him to focus on only three priorities, any more is too many. The three that he pitched to the board were (1) the need to devote time and capital to the creation of high-quality branded content, (2) the need to embrace technology, both in content creation and distribution, and (3) the need to be truly global company.
Right after becoming CEO, Iger worked to resurrect the relationship between Disney and Pixar, that had grown fractured due to former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs. Iger reached out to Jobs, developed a rapport with him, an openness to working together, and in his first Disney board meeting as CEO, suggested an acquisition of Pixar. This led to a purchase of the company for $7B in Disney stock, with Pixar creative heads Ed Catmull and John Lasseter also leading Disney Animation and Jobs becaming the largest shareholder in Disney. It was fascinating reading Iger surmising of how if Jobs, who he became close friends with, had lived longer they likely would have at least investigated combining Apple and Disney.
Iger also details the acquisitions of Marvel for $4B, LucasFilm for $4.05B, and then 21st Century Fox for $71B. Disney also acquired BAM Technologies, first paying $1B for a third of the company, and then acquiring the rest and using it to develop the Disney+ over the top, or OTT, service going directly to consumers. Overall, it was a solid book about someone who certainly seems a hard worker, waking daily at 4:15, and who also really good with the creative people who produce the content, recognizing their attachments to their work, backing them up when needed and even if it means release delays, having good work really matter.