Review: Disrupting the Game — Reggie Fils-Aimé

Genre: Non-Fiction / Business / Autiobiography
Publisher: HarperCollins Leadership
ISBN: 9781400226672
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 8h 17m
Release Date: 03-05-2022

Summary:

Reggie Fils-Aimé, retired President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America Inc., shares leadership lessons and inspiring stories from his unlikely rise to the top.

Although he’s best known as Nintendo’s iconic President of the Americas—immortalized for opening Nintendo’s 2004 E3 presentation with, “My name is Reggie, I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names, and we’re about making games”—Reggie Fils-Aimé’s story is the ultimate game plan for anyone looking to beat the odds and achieve success.

Learn from Reggie how to leverage disruptive thinking to pinpoint the life choices that will make you truly happy, conquer negative perceptions from those who underestimate or outright dismiss you, and master the grit, perseverance, and resilience it takes to dominate in the business world and to reach your professional dreams.

Disrupting the game

Reggie, or the Regginator, as he’s known among Nintendo fans. Who doesn’t know him from his famous opening lines during E3 of 2004? Well, probably a lot of non-gaming fans have no clue who this man is. To me Reggie was always the face of Nintendo of America and I always loved seeing him pop up during the E3 presentations and later in the Nintendo Direct videos when E3 was starting to decline. His retirement from Nintendo felt like the end of an era, with the legendary Satoru Iwata passing away in 2015 and Reggie leaving in 2019. Nintendo hasn’t quite felt the same after that. Although the Nintendo Switch is a phenomenal success I feel that Nintendo doesn’t have a face like they used to when we would see Reggie, Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto make appearances everywhere in online presentations. And now Reggie has finally taken the time to write a book. But what exactly can you expect from this book?

More business book than biography

To be fair, if you’re expecting a book purely about Reggie’s time at Nintendo, you’re going to have a bad time reading this book. Before Reggie joined Nintendo he had an extensive career at several large corporations. The first chapter starts off with how Reggie rushes to Japan to meet with his friend and mentor Satoru Iwata in the hospital. A highly unusual affair for Japanese standards. After the first heartfelt chapter you can skip the next six, if you’re not interested in Reggie’s career before Nintendo.

My-body-is-ready-reggie

The book has a chronological structure and after each segment there’s a So what? where Reggie explains why the part he just described matters in a business related manner. Everything is very focussed on people who want to pursue a corporate career and are keen to learn the right mindset as a disruptive leader.

It’s all fun and games…

Well, I wish it were. Although I really enjoyed listening to Reggie talk about all of his Nintendo history, the book suffers from one thing that I really didn’t care for that much and that is the fact that Reggie loves to pat himself on the back a lot in this book. A lot of the key moments in Nintendo history, such as packing in Wii Sports in a bundle during launch and several other important business decisions were all influenced by him, but instead he loves taking credit for all of this and this kind of rubbed me in the wrong way. Whereas the Japanese company executives seem very humble in the way the portray themselves (looking at Satoru Iwata, his mentor, for instance), Reggie seems to want to take all the credit for these things going down in history. If only Satoru Iwata San’s humility had rubbed off on him a little, that would have helped this book tremendously.

It’s goofy movies like these that I really miss in Nintendo’s current age. I really wish they’d return at least some of it sooner, rather than later. Because it feels that Nintendo didn’t take itself that seriously, but it definitely has taken on a more anonymous identity these past few years.

The “So What?”

Listening to this book was a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, I just loved all of the Nintendo history tidbits that are featured in the book and the bonus interview that came with the audiobook version of this book gave even more insight in Reggie’s time with Nintendo. It cannot be denied that Reggie was a fundamental and prominent person to instigate a much needed change for Nintendo, especially in the Western market, which is very different from the Japanese one. Is this book for everyone? Definitely not. I took some things from it, but the book’s target audience is definitely not gamers, but rather (young) professionals with aspirations to one day have a leading position in a corporate environment. Something I’d rather steer clear of. Am I glad I gave the book a listen? Definitely. This is one of the rare cases that the writer actually manages to read his book well and with much more verve than another reader could have had. If you’re going to give this book a try, I’d suggest the audiobook version. As I stated earlier, if all you’re interested in is the part where Reggie tells you about his time at Nintendo, skip chapter 2 through 6 and you’re good to go!

Cover: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Writing style: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Content: 🌟🌟🌟
Originality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Reading Voice: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟½

Happy Reading!

Jeffrey

1 reply »

  1. Jeffrey, Your review of Reggie Fils-Aimé’s book is interesting on many fronts, including the good experience hearing him read this audiobook. Nice that you give fair warning that his book is about his corporate experience as well as his years heading up Nintendo. I took interest that you said Reggie takes too much credit for everything at Nintendo without sharing credit with Satoru Iwata, his mentor. Love his famous quote in the Summary, “My name is Reggie, I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names, and we’re about making games.” Your review, Jeffrey was a good read in itself! Phil

    Liked by 1 person

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