This year, only one is a straight-up business book. (Another focuses more on economic and political policy than on insights entrepreneurs can put into practice in their own businesses.)
According to Gates, recently retired and un-retired Disney CEO Bob Iger's The Ride of a Lifetime "is one of the best business books I've read in several years."
If you aren't familiar with Iger, he shepherded the Walt Disney Company, now the biggest media business in the world, through its acquisitions of the Star Wars and Marvel franchises, launched the immediately popular Disney Plus streaming service, and last year was named Time magazine's Businessperson of the Year. (For what that's worth.)
Those who like humble beginnings will love how Iger began his career 47 years ago in entry-level position with ABC (now part of Disney).
He credits his rise to certain habits. Like the "relentless pursuit of perfection." And never pointing out a problem without also offering possible solutions. And remaining almost irrationally optimistic.
As Iger writes, "This isn't about saying things are good when they're not, and it's not about conveying some innate faith that, 'things will work out.' It's about believing you and the people around you can steer toward the best outcome, and not communicating the feeling that all is lost if things don't break your way... No one wants to follow a pessimist."
And to taking what other see as bold -- perhaps too bold -- risks.
"One of the things I've always instinctively felt -- and something that was greatly reinforced working for people like Roone [Arledge] and Michael [Eisner] -- is that long shots aren't usually as long as they seem. Roone and Michael both believed in their own power and in the ability of their organizations to make things happen -- that with enough energy and thoughtfulness and commitment, even the boldest ideas could be executed."
That belief led to major acquisitions -- all of which were initially viewed skeptically -- like Pixar, 21st Century Fox, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.
Fortunately, Iger goes beyond telling his own story to detail how those acquisitions were folded into the company, how the digital distribution strategies behind ESPN+ and Disney+ were created and implemented--and how very different cultures were not only integrated into the existing Disney workplace but also helped to extend and grow that culture.
As Gates says, "Whether you're looking for business insights or just an entertaining read, I think anyone would enjoy his stories about overseeing Disney during one of the most transformative times in its history."
Can't beat that.