This is a good book, but something stops it from being a very good book: Bob Iger played it in third-person view. He should’ve chosen first-person view.
I classify the book as part-memoir, part-leadership/management material. I chose it because of Bill Gates: I was looking for a business management book and browsing several covers in Amazon.com was disheartening. All books seemed to be extensive musings about one or two simple ideas that make intuitive sense in the first place (e.g., be clear when setting objectives so everybody is aiming at the same target, spend time preparing for meetings and you’ll be more productive). No wonder why I hadn’t read a business book in over a decade.
And then Bill Gates wrote in his blog that The Ride of a Lifetime was not a typical business book and that he had enjoyed it thoroughly. So I bought it.
The book reads easily, it’s entertaining, it contains some leadership lessons (nothing earth-shattering of course), and some good soundbites that one can paraphrase at work to express disdain for a situation without sounding -well- disdainful. There’s also a lot of “action” in the form of deal making. For someone who works in finance or business development, the book will have an added element of excitement.
Non-business folks will like it too. After all, Iger is playing his career game in America’s favorite playground: Disney and the entertainment industry constellation. There are mentions of Star Wars, Twin Peaks, Toy Story, and many more that took me down memory lane.
But no one appears as often as Steve Jobs. The first two or three times that Jobs is mentioned, there are good reasons for his appearance (Disney-Pixar collaboration and, later, acquisition), but then Jobs shows up again and again. I’m a fan of Steve, just as Iger is, I just don’t feel like invoking him without a good reason.
Returning to the opening paragraph of this post. The book could have been more exciting, insightful, fun, and even touching or genuine if only Iger had chosen first-person view. See, when choosing third-person view, one becomes hyper sensitive to his own image. Nothing is too bright or too dark in the narrative. It’s as if the draft version had been through Iger’s lawyer and public relations advisor several times over.
A reviewer in Goodreads says it well:
A potentially fascinating subject for this sort of book, perhaps the greatest entertainment industry leader of our time, shares insight into how he tackled impossible challenges coming up in the business. In the course of reading it, however, it felt like he glossed over a lot of tReviewer: posthuman
Gotta write books and live life in first-person view the way Richard Feynman did.