Among the “Seven Lessons of Walt Disney” that Rich Karlgaard draws from Neal Gabler’s “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination” is one that depicts Disney as a conceptual innovator who successfully coped with the loss of his youthful genius by taking on different challenges:
From his article (via Forbes.com), which calls the biography “the best business book I’ve read in years”:
“Reinvent yourself when necessary. The huge success of Snow White created employee expectations that Walt couldn’t fulfill. In 1941 Disney studio animators went on strike. Walt was shattered. He would never again feel the same passion for cartoons and movies. Thus began his wilderness period, which lasted a decade. Out of that period came Walt’s inspiration for Disneyland, and he threw himself into the theme park. Where did Walt’s second wind come from? Can’t tell you–I’m out of space. Read Neal Gabler’s fine biography on a great American businessman.”
Disney was 53 when Disneyland opened in 1955.