Category: 1 – Read ASAP! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)
Comments: This book is to corporate leaders what “Shoe Dog” is to sports entrepreneurs and “The Hard Things About Hard Things” is to tech entrepreneurs. Surprisingly candid, incisive, and insightful. A phenomenal read – the sort of book that should be mandatory reading in every graduate school of business.
Top 3(+) Lessons:
1. There’s a wonderful story about how Bob got Roy Disney to waive off a lawsuit against him early in the book. The lawsuit was a culmination of years of perceived slights and pent up frustration against the Disney board and leadership. Bob gave Roy the title of Chairman Emeritus, a small consulting fee, and an office at Disney. While folks criticized Bob for bending over to Roy’s demands, Bob shared that most people just want a bit of respect. And, in difficult situations, it is so important to not let our ego get in the way of that happening.
2. I love how straightforward Bob is through the course of the book. There is no false humility. He believed he deserved to be CEO, hated that he was made to go through the ringer for it, and made it count when he got the chance.
3. That said, he also demonstrated a lot of patience as he went through a series of changes and acquisitions before getting the job. He was 54 when he finally became CEO.. and, boy, did he make it count.
4. “Avoid getting into the business of manufacturing trombone oil. You may become the greatest manufacturer of trombone oil in the world, but in the end, the world only consumes a few quarts of trombone oil a year.”
5. There was an incredible anecdote about how he pulled the plug on the Twitter acquisition on the sunday before the deal was announced. “It just didn’t feel right” – he’d earned the right to trust his gut by then.
6. When faced with expected internal resistance about Disney+, he convinced the Board to change all executive bonus agreements to a rating decided by him on how much they were contributing to the shift to streaming. Another brave move.