Disney CEO Bob Iger's Book Recommendations

Books are a uniquely portable magic

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, Bob Iger is CEO of the multibillion-dollar corporation that is the Walt Disney Co. Iger began his media career with ABC in 1974 and in 2000 was named president and COO of Disney. Since 2005, he’s been the company’s CEO, succeeding Michael Eisner after a shakeup in company management. It has been said that Iger’s fearless decision-making is what saved Disney from going under in 2000. You might think a business-savvy man like Iger, with a cool net worth of $690 million, would bury himself in books by Michael Lewis or Mark Manson—however, his recommendations are intriguing and vastly diverse.

Here’s a list of books that Iger thinks you absolutely must-read.

1. 'Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS' by Joby Warrick


Written by Washington Post and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick, this thrilling dramatic narrative traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents. The book is now coming to television. Expected to be named Black Flags, Bradley Cooper and Todd Phillips reportedly signed on in 2016 as executive producers and Helmer Tim Van Patten, who directed episodes of both Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, as director.


2. ‘The Wright Brothers’ by David McCullough


This book is a number one New York Times bestseller from historian and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner David McCullough about the dramatic story-behind-the-story of two brothers who taught the world how to fly—Wilbur and Orville Wright. McCullough once spoke about how exceptional the brothers were: “One of the most important things to understand, they didn’t just invent the airplane, they learned how to fly it.” Maybe it was the Wright brothers’ perseverance that inspired Iger’s fearlessness in business. 


3. “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen


Iger is a music fanatic, so it's no surprise to see a Springsteen autobiography on his list. In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s performance at the Super Bowl’s halftime show was so exhilarating that Springsteen decided to write about it. Critically acclaimed, observers noted that the book feels like a long Springsteen concert. 


4. 'Tenth of December: Stories,' George Saunders

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Tenth of December is a collection of short stories that includes George Saunders’ published work in various magazines between 1995 and 2009. Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human. In 2013, a headline in The New York Times said, “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year.”


5. 'Between the World and Me,' Ta-Nehisi Coate


Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 Between the World and Me is written as a letter to his own teenage son about the feelings, symbolism and realities associated with being black in the United States. Coates won the National Book Award, and the book was number one on The New York Times bestseller list for three weeks in August 2015. It again topped the same list in January 2016.

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