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The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger

Read more on Amazon.

Rating: 8 / 10

Thoughts

I really liked this book. I think it tells a great story.


Integrity. Nothing is more important than the quality and integrity of an organization’s people and its product. A company’s success depends on setting high ethical standards for all things, big and small. Another way of saying this is: The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Iger loves books. He also wakes up early (04:15).

The tone you set as a leader has an enormous effect on the people around you. No one wants to follow a pessimist.

Lessons to Lead By

I talk a lot about “the relentless pursuit of perfection.” In practice, this can mean a lot of things, and it’s hard to define. It’s a mindset, more than a specific set of rules. It’s not about perfectionism at all costs. It’s about creating an environment in which people refuse to accept mediocrity. It’s about pushing back against the urge to say that “good enough” is good enough.

This - but keep shipping

Take responsibility when you screw up. In work, in life, you’ll be more respected and trusted by the people around you if you own up to your mistakes. It’s impossible to avoid them; but it is possible to acknowledge them, learn from them, and set an example that it’s okay to get things wrong sometimes.

Ownership

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.

Be the learner, always

Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness.

Reminds me of the notion of thinking in bets

My former boss Dan Burke once handed me a note that said: “Avoid getting into the business of manufacturing trombone oil. You may become the greatest trombone-oil manufacturer in the world, but in the end, the world only consumes a few quarts of trombone oil a year!” He was telling me not to invest in small projects that would sap my and the company’s resources and not give much back. I still have that note in my desk, and I use it when talking to our executives about what to pursue and where to put their energy.

Focus on what matters.

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