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The week: A random walk with power players

The sun’s coming out in New York City after a week of seemingly endless rain. This was also a whirlwind week of interesting encounters.

On Tuesday, I had lunch, unexpectedly, with Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger. We were both at the New York Stock Exchange for Jeff Sonnenfeld’s Yale CEO Summit, and Iger was getting the “Legend in Leadership Award.” The Summit was off the record (as was the lunch), but I can tell you that Iger talked about the commonly held notion that the world is flattening out culturally. It’s a misconception, he contends. He noted a rise in local pride and said that Disney, in response, is turning distribution centers into creative centers and producing more local TV shows. My Fortune colleague Richard Siklos wrote about this and more in “Bob Iger Rocks Disney” earlier this year.

On Wednesday, I led a Q&A with Condoleezza Rice. This was for a small group of execs, private and pro bono. (We at Fortune can’t take money; I do these gigs occasionally for exposure and connections.) It was off-the-record, but I can tell you that Rice, now at Stanford University, is optimistic about the Middle East. She’s planning to teach in the fall. For now, she’s busy writing two books: one on foreign policy and the other about her parents. Ever a model of discipline, she gets up at 5:15 a.m. to work out — better than a 4:30 a.m., which was her wake-up time in Washington. This is her routine six days a week — after working out, she writes for three or four hours. (And yes, she’s writing the books herself.)

Yesterday, my Postcards partner Jessica Shambora and I shared and learned wisdom about careers on NBC Universal’s Mentors Walk. Check out our Thursday’s Postcard. By the way, Jess and I saw The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 last night. If you’re up for intensity, see it. Travolta is tremendous.P.S. David Kirkpatrick, Fortune’s star tech editor and writer who’s been on book leave since last August, just swung by and gave me a big, big hug. He’s working tirelessly on The Facebook Effect, due next spring. You can follow the book’s progress and become a fan at