Robert Iger

Robert Iger’s book The Ride of a Lifetime is a memoir of his career, leadership and success. It became the #1 New York Times Bestseller. Throughout the book, The Ride of a LifetimeIger shares the ideas and values he embraced during his fifteen years as Disney CEO, leading its 200,000 employees, while reinventing one of the world’s most beloved companies. Robert Iger was nominated Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year.

Besides being recognized as the CEO of Disney, Robert Iger is a media executive, film producer, author, and businessman. In 2005, he became the CEO of The Walt Disney Company during a difficult time.


“Optimism. One of the most important qualities of a good leader is optimism, a pragmatic enthusiasm for what can be achieved. Even in the face of difficult choices and less than ideal outcomes, an optimistic leader does not yield to pessimism. Simply put, people are not motivated or energized by pessimists.” ― Robert Iger

“True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else.” ― Robert Iger

“Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness.” ― Robert Iger

“If leaders don’t articulate their priorities clearly, then the people around them don’t know what their own priorities should be. Time and energy and capital get wasted.” ― Robert Iger

“And I tend to approach bad news as a problem that can be worked through and solved, something I have control over rather than something happening to me.” ― Robert Iger

“At its essence, good leadership isn’t about being indispensable; it’s about helping others be prepared to possibly step into your shoes—giving them access to your own decision making, identifying the skills they need to develop and helping them improve, and, as I’ve had to do, sometimes being honest with them about why they’re not ready for the next step up.” ― Robert Iger

“Empathy is a prerequisite to the sound management of creativity, and respect is critical.” ― Robert Iger

“When hiring, try to surround yourself with people who are good in addition to being good at what they do. Genuine decency—an instinct for fairness and openness and mutual respect—is a rarer commodity in business than it should be, and you should look for it in the people you hire and nurture it in the people who work for you.” ― Robert Iger

“If you approach and engage people with respect and empathy, the seemingly impossible can become real.” ― Robert Iger

“The path to innovation begins with curiosity” ― Robert Iger

“Don’t start negatively, and don’t start small. People will often focus on little details as a way of masking a lack of any clear, coherent, big thoughts. If you start petty, you seem petty.” ― Robert Iger

“Innovate or die, and there’s no innovation if you operate out of fear of the new or untested.” ― Robert Iger

“optimism in a leader, especially in challenging times, is so vital. Pessimism leads to paranoia, which leads to defensiveness, which leads to risk aversion. Optimism sets a different machine in motion. Especially in difficult moments, the people you lead need to feel confident in your ability to focus on what matters, and not to operate from a place of defensiveness and self-preservation. This isn’t about saying things are good when they’re not, and it’s not about conveying some innate faith that “things will work out.” It’s about believing you and the people around you can steer toward the best outcome, and not communicating the feeling that all is lost if things don’t break your way. The tone you set as a leader has an enormous effect on the people around you. No one wants to follow a pessimist.” ― Robert Iger

“You have to hear out other people’s problems and help find solutions. It’s all part of being a great manager.” ― Robert Iger

“PEOPLE SOMETIMES SHY AWAY from taking big swings because they assess the odds and build a case against trying something before they even take the first step. One of the things I’ve always instinctively felt—and something that was greatly reinforced working for people like Roone and Michael—is that long shots aren’t usually as long as they seem.” ― Robert Iger

“I learned from them that genuine decency and professional competitiveness weren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, true integrity, a sense of knowing who you are and being guided by your own clear sense of right and wrong is a kind of secret weapon. They trusted in their own instincts. They treated people with respect. And over time, the company came to represent the values they live by.” ― Robert Iger

“Chronic indecision is not only inefficient and counterproductive, but it is deeply corrosive to morale.” ― Robert Iger

“You have to ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can. There’s nothing less confidence-inspiring than a person faking a knowledge they don’t possess. True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else.” ― Robert Iger

“A few solid pros are more powerful than dozens of cons,” Steve said. “So what should we do next?” Another lesson: Steve was great at weighing all sides of an issue and not allowing negatives to drown out positives, particularly for things he wanted to accomplish. It was a powerful quality of his. ― Robert Iger

“It’s so simple that you might think it doesn’t warrant mentioning, but it’s surprisingly rare: Be decent to people. Treat everyone with fairness and empathy. This doesn’t mean that you lower your expectations or convey the message that mistakes don’t matter. It means that you create an environment where people know you’ll hear them out, that you’re emotionally consistent and fair-minded, and that they’ll be” ― Robert Iger

“Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech, which has long been an inspiration: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”” ― Robert Iger

“Courage. The foundation of risk-taking is courage, and in ever-changing, disrupted businesses, risk-taking is essential, innovation is vital, and true innovation occurs only when people have courage. This is true of acquisitions, investments, and capital allocations, and it particularly applies to creative decisions. Fear of failure destroys creativity.” ― Robert Iger

“You don’t expect to develop such close friendships late in life, but when I think back on my time as CEO – at the things I’m most grateful for and surprised by – my relationship with Steve (Jobs) is one of them.” ― Robert Iger

“IN JUNE 2016 I made my fortieth trip to China in eighteen years, my eleventh in the past six months. I was there to oversee the final preparations before the opening of Shanghai Disneyland. I’d been CEO of the Walt Disney Company for eleven years at that point, and my plan was to open Shanghai and then retire. It had been a thrilling run, and the creation of this park was the biggest accomplishment of my career. It felt like the right time to move on, but life doesn’t always go the way you expect it will. Things happen that you can’t possibly anticipate. The fact that I’m still running the company as I write this is a testament to that.” ― Robert Iger

“We had endless negotiations over land deals and partnership splits and management roles, and considered things as significant as the safety and comfort of Chinese workers and as tiny as whether we could cut a ribbon on opening day. The creation of the park was an education in geopolitics, and a constant balancing act between the possibilities of global expansion and the perils of cultural imperialism. The overwhelming challenge, which I repeated to our team so often it became a mantra for everyone working on the project, was to create an experience that was “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.” ― Robert Iger

AMAZON: The Ride of a Lifetime


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