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Disney The Ride of a lifetime.


Some weeks ago, I read the story of Facebook and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Since then, I have devoured “The Ride of a Lifetime” by Robert Iger CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

I loved this book and would like to have had it when I became a school principal because of the inspirational views of this man and the methodologies he used in dealing with so many people. I would classify it as one of the better books I have read in my life and benefitted greatly from reading it.

In his intro he details the 10 principles necessary for true leaders as follows: Optimism, Courage, Focus, Decisiveness, Curiosity, Fairness, Thoughtfulness, Authenticity, Relentless pursuit of perfection and Integrity. These are all developed in the book and should be compulsive reading for any potential leader.

Robert was from a small working -class town in Long Island. His mom stayed at home to rear the children. Dad was a navy Veteran. He was a man of character but suffered from manic depression and Robert had a difficult enough young life.

Robert had to work hard from an early age taking on various vacation jobs including one as a school cleaner. One of these jobs involved cleaning all school heaters and removing chewing gum from under school desks. He did it because he needed the money for his education.

He began work in ABC in 1974 at the bottom rung of the ladder.

The book tells the very poignant story of his friendship with Steve Jobs CEO of Apple. It details his purchase of Pixar from Steve and that horrible moment when they were to merge, and Steve told him that he was dying. This happened just half hour before the takeover was to be announced. When I look at credits at the beginning or end of a film and I see the name PIXAR that moment enters my subconscious. That huge deal went ahead and as we all know Steve Jobs died. One can only guess what a great partnership they would have been had Steve lived.

We see the human side of Roger in some stories.

A little boy was killed by an alligator in Orlando Disney. All the Disney management were in Shanghai for the opening of Disney Shanghai, their biggest project in their 61-year history. All the Senior management of Disney were there and the Vice premier of China. Roger took time out to personally speak to the parents of the child.

In the Orlando shootings they soon discovered that DISNEY was the intended target of the killer. Robert immediately stopped everything until he found out if any Disney staff were injured or killed. Sadly, the death toll, including Disney staff, was high and is well documented in the book.

Robert Iger is a man who works hard rising at 4.15 am each day and works 7 days a week.

He took over the top job in Disney in 2005, after enduring a lot of very tough, rigorous, and demanding interviews which really stressed him out.

Disney adapted quickly to change immediately he took over realising that their old staid image no longer had a place in a fast- developing technological world. New tech savvy people were appointed, and some old heads rolled.

The Times named him top businessman of the year in 2019.

Disney under his stewardship have taken over Pixar, Lucas Films, Marvel. One of his big deals involved buying 21st century fox from Rupert Murdoch in a quiet deal done over a Glass of wine in Rupert’s vineyard.

I loved the book and in particular his words at the end when he reflects on his life.

· Take responsibility when you screw up and be decent to people.

* Don’t start negatively and don’t start small if you start petty you seem petty.

· Optimism emerges from faith in yourself and in the people, who work for you.

· Talk about the future not the past.

· If something doesn’t feel right for you it won’t be right for you.

Next time you see the credits rolling on screen look out for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Films and think of Robert Iger.

Go out and borrow this book from your local library or buy it and have a super read. I am sure there are lots of reviews of it online.

Enjoy the reading experience and share in the life of one superman. I did.

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