Creativity, Inc

Creativity, Inc

Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

eBook - 2014
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From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business--sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath.

Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation--into the meetings, postmortems, and "Braintrust" sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture--but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, "an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible."

For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner thirty Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is . Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired--and so profitable.

As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged a partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie's success--and in the thirteen movies that followed--was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, such as:

* Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
* If you don't strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
* It's not the manager's job to prevent risks. It's the manager's job to make it safe for others to take them.
* The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
* A company's communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.
* Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change--it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board.

Publisher: [Toronto, ON] : Random House of Canada, 2014.
ISBN: 9780307361196
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 electronic text : col. ill.
Additional Contributors: Wallace, Amy 1962-
OverDrive, Inc


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Feb 13, 2019

I enjoyed this a lot! It was cool seeing the way Pixar developed over time.

Jan 06, 2019

Started out quite interesting and then it became a little tedious about halfway. I might borrow it again and give it another try to finish the book. Nothing really exceptional; just mildly interesting.

Feb 13, 2017

Very neat insights into such a creative environment at Pixar and Disney Animation. Ed offers a unique look at managing the business, talents and culture of a very demanding and challenging industry.

While nothing he offers is groundbreaking in terms of leadership (lots of similar themes to other leadership books), it is very well written and pieced together in such a way that is repeatable and easily transferable to others.

Was a big fan of his candor > honesty. Every organization, big or small, struggles with the ability to speak candidly in the workplace.

Also, in a time where "Big Data" is all the rage, it was enlightening to read his thoughts on the analytics behind what they do. "Measure what you can, evaluate what you measure, and appreciate that you cannot measure the majority of what you do." Data needs to be understood, not just collected for the sake of it.

Overall, a smooth read and one that will provide anyone in leadership a fresh perspective on some of the tools Catmull offers around creativity, freedom, accountability and change.

Apr 04, 2016

Really enjoyed this book!
Great insights for managers, or creative types, or just Pixar fans!

JCLCherylMY Mar 26, 2016

Creativity, Inc. is a book about creativity but also about leadership from Ed Catmull's perspective. He is the president of Disney Studios and the co-founder and president of Pixar Animation Studios. Catmull's leadership philosophy is that everyone has the potential to be creative and to encourage that development is a noble pursuit for any manager. He also outlines the blocks to creativity and how to overcome them.

I first heard about this book while I was reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Brown, a shame researcher, had gone to Pixar to give a talk to the staff and Catmull had explained that the middle of the creative process is the hardest part because that is where the character must make a choice about how he or she will proceed. The middle of the story is the messiest but the story cannot move forward without this important middle. Likewise, leaders must take charge of their own emotional narratives so that they can be effective leaders. Reading their exchange got me curious about the creativity process from someone who has created so many inspirational films, and, of course, I wanted a peek into Disney and Pixar. An excellent book on creativity and leadership as well as a look behind the scenes on the movies we love and how they were created.

Mar 16, 2016

The book is great and quite enlightening.
To answer to StarGladiator (being in the industry and having many friends at Pixar): nada, all operations and production for Pixar's shows are in Emeryville in the bay area. Pixar uses to have a branch in Vancouver for marketing content, done without their proprietary softwares which they never outsourced, and they ended up to close it, now back to 100% in California.

mdaguann Sep 18, 2015

Easy and inspiring read about a company that faced the ropes and came out on top with the help of some excellent leadership and candor

Jun 29, 2015

One simple question to both commenters: Do either of you know how many jobs Pixar has offshored? How much animation work is produced in China for Pixar?

Mykeylynx Nov 03, 2014

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
A book:
About the start of Pixar, it’s culture, the failures and success.

My take away:
Transparency candor (the quality of being open and honest in expression; being frank.) this creates real communication and is vital to building Alliances (life long relationships) not mere friendships. Careful who you friend always be aware of what kind of relationships you want to build. When someone gets sick will you be there for them, What kind of friend are you?

Failure is part of success. If you are going to fail, fail fast and learn quick.

No point in playing the blame game. At Pixar someone used the Unix delete command: rm -f * and 90% of Toy Story was gone. The engineer realized what was going on and quickly pulled the plug on the machine. Outch!!! Oh then the backup was not working the way it should 😭. Luckily one of the employees was working from home and made a weekly copy of all the files and had a backup. Buzz was buzzing again 🙏. It was found to be a waste of time to delve into who done it. Trust your people.

The movie made millions and millions of emotions run wild. Without the people there would be no idea of Toy Story. Catmull iterates the point: ideas come from people and people should always be more important than the idea. Pixar treats their people well and in return they have an open and collaborative environment with good communication and ideas.

When you have conversations in the hallway about company issues, rather than in meetings, there may be an issue with transparency in the company culture, ya think…

May 07, 2014

I can't tell if I love this book because I love Pixar films, or because I have a secret wish to work on animated movies someday, or because this is one of the most enlightened books on how to run a company that I've ever read. I think it's the latter though I suspect I'm a bit biased.

In Creativity, Inc., author and Pixar president Ed Catmull leads the reader through an insider's history of the company, and along the way punctuates the timeline with relevant lessons learned. It's hard to imagine brilliant movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles and Wall-E as amateurish at one point, but they all started out problematic and each of them had to suffer through years of revisions before premiering on the big screen. Plus, it wasn't unusual for those revisions to reset months of work and put the entire team up against an even tighter deadline. This is a reality for any creative pursuit.

Catmull understands the value of creative employees ("Ideas come from people, therefore, people are more important than ideas," he writes), and he also understands how easy it is for any company to stifle that talent if left unchecked. If this scenario sounds familiar where you work, then I recommend Creativity, Inc. You don't have to be in the business of animation production for these principles to apply.

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