Lead by Example: Great Memoirs from Great Leaders

Our picks about these corporate trailblazers might be worth your time

Netflix, Nike and Disney. Household names, instantly recognisable and synonymous with what they sell. What’s it like – and what does it take – to helm such titanic corporations? Follow these luminaries as they take you on their journeys in leadership, innovation and risk-taking and witness how self-belief and perseverance’s can make your dreams come true.

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons in Creative Leadership from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger, Joel Lovell

Rating: 4.42 Stars on Goodreads (Goodreads, 2022)


Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005 during a difficult time. Competition was more intense than ever and technology was changing faster than at any time in the company’s history. His vision came down to three clear ideas: Recommit to the concept that quality matters, embrace technology instead of fighting it, and think bigger—think global—and turn Disney into a stronger brand in international markets.

Iger spearheaded Disney’s acquisition of Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel and most of 21st Century Fox. These acquisitions have helped raise the brand head and shoulders above others in the media industry, making his 15-year tenure a resounding success. Nevertheless, he is able to articulate his ideas in a relatable way, and writes candidly about his worries and troubles throughout his time in the company – from designs of a theme park attraction to giving notes on the rough cut of a film. He stepped down as CEO of Disney in early 2020 and has left the company after nearly five decades of service.

This book encapsulates his brilliant career at the top of one of the world’s renowned media giants. His insights and his style of leadership have much to teach about taking charge, whether in one’s career or life.

Link: The Ride of a Lifetime | MPHOnline.com

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Rating: 4.47 Stars on Goodreads (Goodreads, 2022)


Unlike the clichéd story about how an entrepreneur stumbles upon a world-changing idea, recruits a group of strong partners and inevitably finds fame and glory, Phil Knight’s journey in creating and building Nike is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It’s messy, perilous, and chaotic, riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice. In fact, the only thing that seems inevitable page after page of Knight’s story is that his company will end in failure.

Did you know that Nike was supposed to be named Dimension Six? Or that the famous Nike swoosh was designed by an art student for US$35? For the first time, the usually private Phil Knight goes in-depth about his entrepreneurial odyssey. With only US$50 from his father to sell imported Japanese athletic shoes, competing against names such as Adidas and Puma, he eventually turned Nike into a universally recognised footwear brand.

Knight relates the account of his Nike journey with remarkable candour. He sometimes displays a lot of self-doubt but he always stays true to himself and his goals. By the end, you’ll understand why, despite all the hardships he experienced along the way, Knight says, “God, how I wish I could relive the whole thing.”

Link: Shoe Dog | MPHOnline.com


No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer

Rating: 4.31 Stars on Goodreads (Goodreads, 2022)


There’s never before been a company like Netflix. Not only because it has led a revolution in the entertainment industries, or because it generates billions of dollars in annual revenue, or even because it is watched by hundreds of millions of people in nearly 200 countries. When Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix, he developed a set of counterintuitive and radical management principles, defying all tradition and expectation, which would allow the company to reinvent itself over and over on the way to becoming one of the most loved brands in the world.

Rejecting the conventional wisdom under which other companies operate, Reed set new standards, valuing people over processes, emphasising innovation over efficiency, and giving employees context, not controls. At Netflix, adequate performance gets a generous severance and hard work is irrelevant. At Netflix, you don’t try to please your boss, you practise radical candour instead. At Netflix, employees never need approval, and the company always pays top of market.

Here for the first time, Hastings and Erin Meyer, bestselling author of The Culture Map and one of the world’s most influential business thinkers, dive deep into the controversial philosophies at the heart of the Netflix psyche, which have generated results that are the envy of the business world.

Link: No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention | MPHOnline.com


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