Long time fan of Nintendo and Reggie, so when news of book being published came out, I was already looking to preorder it. I enjoyed going through this book and learning the history behind Nintendo. This book is filled with so many leadership lessons wrapped in a memorable stories that make it easy to remember. Its a fairly easy read so I can recommend it to even the most casual autobiography readers!
DISRUPTING THE GAME
While away in grad school in the mid-aughts I ended up getting back into the video game habit again. That’s also how I came to know of Reggie Fils-Aime.
He was Nintendo of America’s President at the time, and because the video game company was making a big marketing push for their then latest console, the Wii, it seemed as if Reggie (it was always Reggie) was all over the news. Inasmuch as I'd managed to keep more or less up to date with Nintendo’s games and consoles then, I didn't really know so much about the company’s leadership and personalities. Hence, I found it curious to see this non-Japanese giant of a man front and center representing one of my favorite companies in the world.
As such, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one to ask: Who is Reggie Fils-Aime and how in the world did he end up leading Nintendo’s Western operation?
Thanks to Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo, we now have an answer to that question straight from Reggie himself.
Like any memoir, Disrupting the Game affords Reggie an opportunity to take stock about his life’s trajectory and share lessons he’s learned along the way. This latter characteristic is both deliberate and prominent throughout the book, with Reggie conveying directly to the reader some words of reflection and often encouragement based on episodes from his life’s story. In the hands of a different personality this might seem corny, yet in the same way that Reggie won over millions of fans as Nintendo of America’s top executive (the Regginator!), there’s an earnestness to Reggie’s words that’s simply endearing.
I was very interested to learn about Reggie’s professional journey to Nintendo. Educated at Cornell, trained at P&G, having taken on executive roles with PepsiCo/Pizza Hut and Panda Express, and later on working at VH1, it was plain to see that he had the skills and experience to be successful in a leadership role for any business. Yet it just so happened that he ended up at Nintendo of America where he would stay until his retirement sixteen years later. Arguably, the fact that he was also a gamer was just a happy if helpful coincidence.
Naturally, the most interesting parts of the book are the stories during Reggie’s tenure with Nintendo. He offers a behind-the-scenes look not just at product marketing and development during his tenure, but also at the challenges of bridging Japanese and Western business cultures. He shares a number of anecdotes of his time with the company (what was going through his head right before he got promoted to the top position stands out) as well as his relationship with key Nintendo luminaries like the late Satoru Iwata and famed Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, albeit necessarily framed from Reggie’s perspective.
The throughline of Disrupting the Game is how hard Reggie worked in pursuit of his personal and professional objectives. These he always approached in a deliberate manner—studying, learning, and assessing what the right thing to do would be. This often meant going against the grain and making hard decisions that would require finesse to get buy-in from the people to and for whom he was responsible. Small wonder, therefore, that Reggie’s self-image is that of a disruptor. Deservedly so.
Nintendo's former American chief executive turns in a combination business book and memoir that includes some interesting behind-the-scenes details about the inner workings of Nintendo, especially as regards Fils-Aime's relationship with Nintendo's late global president Satoru Iwata.
Before he gets to all that, though, Fils-Aime takes us through his business journey, with a stop along the way at Pizza Hut, where he created, then un-created, the notorious Bigfoot pizza. It's a small selection of key anecdotes, but each one has a lesson to be learned. Nintendo fans might be craving more detail, but the book is really for the general audience and not a deep dive into Nintendo lore for enthusiasts. Still very much worth a read for anyone who witnessed the rise of the Wii and wonders how that all happened.
This is a wonderful memoir of one of the greatest figures in the game industry's history. Reggie Fils-Aimé goes into painstaking detail of how he overcame adversity and headed into the games industry. The first few pages goes into his friendship with the late Satoru Iwata and how American and Japanese culture mixed with each other to form a lasting bond.
I appreciate how Fils-Aimé also offers some prime life advice for those that are still trying to make it in the industry, and his wisdom extends to general life lessons as well. I love the structure of the book as he goes into some interesting anecdotes (my personal favorite is how he came up with the "My body is ready" catchphrase that became a viral sensation). All in all, this is a great look into the life of one of Nintendo's greatest leaders.
Disrupting the Game by Reggie Fils-Aimé is a must-read for anyone who is from an entrepreneur to a business person or working for a business to a student; everyone should read the book. I had read other's reviews and I wanted to make sure to underline that Reggie Fils-Aimé if you've read the book was never "placed" in any position nor was he "given" a title, this person has such a clear and effective idea of himself and his path that he takes us through the mental process of how he made the moves and decisions he has made. This is an impressive read because of how humble Reggie Fils-Aimé is, how he is teaching us not only his process but the lessons he has learned, and how we can learn from his experiences and his own lessons. I picked up this book because of my child's interest and love for Nintendo and when I see Reggie Fils-Aimé I can see my child. Visibility is a wonderful thing and when my child is older I will pass down this book for them to read.
As a huge Nintendo fan I came to this book wanting a behind-the-scenes look at the company and the games I grew up loving. Reggie offers stories of his experiences at the company but more than that, he tries to translate his experiences into actionable takeaways for people in any line of work or leadership. So you don’t have to love video games to get something out of it. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book early and share my thoughts!
Being a huge Nintendo fan, when I saw Disrupting the Game by Reggie Fils-Aimé was up for request on NetGalley I clicked that request button as fast as I could. And I’d like to thank HarperCollins Leadership and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review an eARC of the book.
As I said, I’ve been a huge fan of Nintendo since…well since the very start when the NES first hit in the states. Of course Reggie didn’t come along until much later, but when he popped up at E3 back in the early 2000’s I instantly became a fan of his as well. I mean he seemed like just a regular guy who really liked gaming and wanted to make sure fans had really fun experiences. I always enjoyed watching his presentations or interviews he did so I knew immediately I wanted to read his book. Of course I was hoping for a ton of behind the scenes stories about Nintendo. And don’t get me wrong, there are indeed Nintendo stories in here, in fact the first story he tells has Nintendo as its backdrop. But first and foremost the focus of this books is on business and leadership. Reggie uses stories from his life: from early childhood, through school/college, and then as he entered the business world (even touching on his divorce) to impart life lessons that helped him become the man (and businessman) he is today. And I have to say that I even though I’d have been happy with nothing but Nintendo stories, I found his non-Nintendo stories every bit as interesting as the Nintendo ones. I never knew Reggie had such a robust career. Over the year he worked with Procter & Gamble, Pizza Hut, and even VH1 to name a few of companies he worked with before joining the gaming giant. And he shares what he learned from his successes and from his failures.
Disrupting the Game is an interesting, entertaining, and a rather quick read, and while much of what Reggie imparts is business/leadership focused, many of his ‘lessons’ can be applied to all facets of your life.
As someone interested in the history of the video game industry, this is a fascinating read. It was great to see events that I experienced as a consumer from Reggie's point of view. Beginning the book by discussing the death of Mr. Iwata is a strong hook. Readers who are picking the book up specifically for the Nintendo history inside will immediately get a taste of what they're looking for.
The "So What" sections didn't really work for me. They ruined the flow of the story. In many cases, the lesson is being restated, and really doesn't have to be. In others, the text can remain as part of the chapter, but I don't think it needs to be formatted or labeled differently. While this book certainly has value as a business and leadership book, I imagine that its core audience is likely to be video game/Nintendo enthusiasts .