Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Unabridged)
by Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace
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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 20 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 30 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 PhD 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 13 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.
Very, very good on multiple levels
Look self help or management strategy books are mostly crap that are filled with meaningless rah-rah’s and empty platitudes. Things like: when in doubt, do the right thing. Yeah, great, thanks for the help. What’s the right thing. This book is another attempt at that. And it works much, much better. It provides strategies for working in a think-on-your-feet, quick response world, like advertising and movies, but it applies to anything non-scientific. Catmull gives specific situations, strategies, and then reviews the results when the strategies were implemented. They won’t apply specifically to you, but at least they are not empty examples.
Secondly, Catmull weaves the Pixar story through the management saga, so you get a great, first hand view of the development of the great companies of all time, from the absolute beginnings to today. That makes it a great book, even if you don’t care about management.
To infinity and Beyond...
Ed Catmull is giving us an inside look into one of the most creative studios in the business. As an illustrator i came away from this book with several useful tools that I can tangibly apply in my own business. The price of the book is well worth the invaluable information you will get from it.
Mandatory Read for Managers
For those who work in organizations that at their core are creative and innovative, this book should be your Bible. The lessons that Ed, John, and Steve learned from turning computer graphics into a multibillion-dollar animation studio are featured in this book. What I like best about this book, is that the lessons that Ed teachers are not just theoretical; he has lived this. And he has real life examples of how mental models, behaviors, and leadership styles can benefit any organization, but especially those that thrive on creativity and innovation. This is a MUST read for managers. Perhaps the greatest truth that this book teaches, which it captures in numerous examples, is the paradox of control. As managers, the more you attempt to control, the less you have of it. When managers understand that their mission is not to control, but to release the creative and innovative talents and energies of those for whom they work, then, and only then, can your organization reach its full potential.