The Ride of a Lifetime - Lessons learned from 15 years as CEO of the Walt Disney company
How much do I want to read more? 7/10
Before reviewing this book, I'm a bit biased with how others praised it. For instance, B. Gates said it is the best business book he read for a long time.
It feels interesting. Being by the side of a great man, telling his stories.
opening of Shanghai Disneyland: was the biggest accomplishment of my career.
then retire. but life doesn’t always go the way you expect it will.
The fact that I’m still running the company as I write this is a testament to that.
June 16: Since my first location-scouting trip to China in 1998, I was the only person who had been involved in the project from day one, and I couldn’t wait to show it to the world.
Shanghai was of a different order than all the others. It was one of the biggest investments in the history of the company.
Shanghai Disneyland cost about $6 billion to build.
Over the eighteen years it took to complete the park, I met with three presidents of China
I’m often asked what aspect of the job most keeps me up at night. The honest answer is that I don’t agonize over the work very much. I don’t know if it’s a quirk of brain chemistry, or a defense mechanism I developed in reaction to some family chaos in my youth, or the result of years of discipline—some combination of all of those things, I suppose—but I tend not to feel much anxiety when things go awry. 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. But I’m also all too aware of the symbolic power of Disney as a target, and the one thing that weighs heavily on me is the knowledge that no matter how vigilant we are, we can’t prepare for everything.
I remember exactly where we were—between Adventure Island and Pirate Cove—when Bob Chapek approached me and pulled me aside. I assumed he had more news from the shooting investigation, and I leaned in so that he could privately give me an update. “There was an alligator attack in Orlando,” Bob whispered. “An alligator attacked a young child. A little boy.”
I did everything I could to focus on my responsibilities, but my mind returned constantly to the Graves family in Orlando. The thought that they had come to Disney World, of all places, and suffered such an unimaginable loss, loomed over everything.
“Promise me that my son’s life won’t be in vain,” I gave him my promise.
We rode rides and posed for pictures. I struggled to smile and go on with the show. It was a stark example of the truth that what people see on the outside so often doesn’t reflect what’s happening on the inside.
I was reluctant to write it for a long time. Until fairly recently, I even avoided talking publicly about my “rules for leadership” or any such ideas, because I felt I hadn’t fully “walked the walk.” After forty-five years, though—and especially after the past fourteen—I’ve come to believe that I have insights that could be useful beyond my own experience.
about fostering risk taking and creativity; about building a culture of trust; about fueling a deep and abiding curiosity in oneself and inspiring that in the people around you; about embracing change rather than living in denial of it; and about operating, always, with integrity and honesty in the world, even when that means facing things that are difficult to face.
the ten principles that strike me as necessary to true leadership:
- Optimism. One of the most important qualities of a good leader. a pragmatic enthusiasm for what can be achieved. an optimistic leader does not yield to pessimism. Simply put, people are not motivated or energized by pessimists.
- 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. Fear of failure destroys creativity.
- Focus. projects that are of highest importance and value. it’s imperative to communicate your priorities clearly and often.
- Decisiveness. All decisions, no matter how difficult, can and should be made in a timely way. Chronic indecision is not only inefficient and counterproductive, but it is deeply corrosive to morale.
- Curiosity. A deep and abiding curiosity enables the discovery of new people, places, and ideas, as well as an awareness and an understanding of the marketplace and its changing dynamics. The path to innovation begins with curiosity.
- Fairness. Strong leadership embodies the fair and decent treatment of people. Empathy is essential, as is accessibility. Nothing is worse to an organization than a culture of fear.
- Thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness is one of the most underrated elements of good leadership. It is the process of gaining knowledge, so an opinion rendered or decision made is more credible and more likely to be correct. It’s simply about taking the time to develop informed opinions.
- Authenticity. Be genuine. Be honest. Don’t fake anything. Truth and authenticity breed respect and trust.
- The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. a refusal to accept mediocrity or make excuses for something being “good enough.” If you believe that something can be made better, put in the effort to do it.
- Integrity. Nothing is more important than the quality and integrity of an organization’s people and its product. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
PART ONE - LEARNING
CHAPTER 1 - STARTING AT THE BOTTOM
I’ve always woken early, and cherished those hours to myself before the rest of the world wakes up.
my father shaped me more than anyone.
He certainly made me curious about the world. We had a den lined with shelves full of books, and my dad had read every one of them. I didn’t become a serious reader until I was in high school, but when I did finally fall in love with books, it was because of him.