Creativity, Inc

Creativity, Inc

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

Book - 2014
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"In 1986, Ed Catmull co-founded Pixar, a modest start-up with an immodest goal: to make the first-ever computer animated movie. Nine years later, Pixar released Toy Story, which went on to revolutionize the industry, gross $360 million, and establish Pixar as one of the most successful, innovative, and emulated companies on earth. This book details how Catmull built an enduring creative culture -- one that doesn't just pay lip service to the importance of things like honesty, communication, and originality, but committed to them, no matter how difficult that often proved to be. As he discovered, pursuing excellence isn't a one-off assignment. It's an ongoing, day-in, day-out, full-time job. And one he was born to do"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812993011
0812993012
Characteristics: xvi, 340 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Wallace, Amy - Author

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c
carolwu96
May 01, 2020

Semi-autobiography and semi-manual, Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc. follows his career as former president of Pixar and then Disney Animation, outlining his philosophy in helming a creative enterprise. ⁣⁣
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Catmull begins with his experiences with collaboration in graduate school. While people often think of great ideas as independent speckles floating through the air, they are more similar to blossoms that have to be curated. This is an idea Catmull will continue to believe in for the rest of his career. ⁣⁣
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The book then leads us through the lessons he learns as a manager, including his determination to ignore feelings of threat and hire people that are smarter than him, to guide and protect his team rather than to micromanage, and to balance hierarchy and frankness in the work place. ⁣⁣
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Catmull continues to grow with Pixar’s expansion and merge with Disney. He imagines ways to inspire his now-large teams and to weigh profits against innovation and risk-taking. ⁣⁣
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Several themes run throughout Catmull’s reflection. First, the very core of creativity lies in taking risks and resisting against the urge to plan and repeat previous successes. Second, assume the employees know their work and give them a say when making major decisions, which requires candor and transparency. Third, having a team in which it’s members complements one another is more important than gathering individual talent, just as an employee’s potential outweighs their current accomplishments. ⁣⁣
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I love the way Catmull acknowledges the limits of his perspective. While we often say that “Hindsight is 2020,” he believes that given the human tendency to recognize patterns out of everything, we greatly underestimate randomness and thus often miss/misinterpret correlations. So the utmost important rule is not anything in particular but to observe and revise the philosophy. ⁣⁣
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Let’s end with a quote: ⁣⁣
🍓 “The future is not a destination; it’s a direction.” 🍓

For more book and movie reviews, visit me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead !

c
careybeal
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.

d
dkermanrdr
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.

n
nomadvisuals
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.

s
StarGladiator
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?

d
danielestes
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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