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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by [Catmull, Ed, Wallace, Amy]
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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Length: 368 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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FINALIST 2014 – Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

“Business gurus love to tell stories about Pixar, but this is our first chance to hear the real story from someone who lived it and led it. Everyone interested in managing innovation, or just in good managing, needs to read this book.”
—Chip Heath, co-author Switch and Decisive
“Achieving enormous success while holding fast to the highest artistic standards is a nice trick—and Pixar, with its creative leadership and persistent commitment to innovation, has pulled it off. This book should be required reading for any manager.”
—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
“It’s one thing to be creative; it’s entirely another—and much more rare—to build a great and creative culture. Over more than thirty years, Ed Catmull has developed methods to root out and destroy the barriers to creativity, to marry creativity to the pursuit of excellence, and, most impressive, to sustain a culture of disciplined creativity through setbacks and success.  Pixar’s unrivaled record, and the joy their films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: it works.”
—Jim Collins, co-author Built to Last, author Good to Great
“Many have attempted to formulate and categorize inspiration and creativity. What Ed Catmull shares instead is his astute experience that creativity isn’t strictly a well of ideas, but an alchemy of people. In Creativity, Inc. Ed reveals, with commonsense specificity and honesty, examples of how not to get in your own way and realize a creative coalescence of art, business and innovation.”
—George Lucas
“This is best book ever written on what it takes to build a creative organization. It is the best because Catmull’s wisdom, modesty, and self-awareness fill every page. He shows how Pixar’s greatness results from connecting the specific little things they do (mostly things that anyone can do in any organization) to the big goal that drives everyone in the company: Making films that make them feel proud of one another.”
—Robert I. Sutton, Professor of Management Science at Stanford University, author of The No A**hole Rule and co-author of Scaling Up Excellence

Product Description

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.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6746 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada (April 8 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GL3HU4Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,844 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The reader's voice put me off a bit at first, but that was just a bit of mismatch with what I would have preferred, and I got used to his voice and am thoroughly enjoying the book which is full of interesting stories and insights into the history of Mr Catmull, computer graphics and Pixar, but most importantly, this book conveys some really valuable idea's about what makes for a creative, forward thinking and ultimately thriving culture (whether in or out of a business setting in my opinion). It's insights could probably be lauded a little better than that - but there you have it.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book written with Amy Wallace, Ed Catmull reviews his brilliant career to date, meanwhile sharing his thoughts and feelings about a wealth of experiences from which he learned valuable lessons that he generously shares with his reader. He is most closely identified with Pixar. Why is it a unique human community?

"What makes Pixar special is that we acknowledge we will always have problems, many of them hidden from our view; that we work hard to uncover these problems, even if doing so means making ourselves uncomfortable; and that, when we come across a problem, we marshal all of our energies to solve it. This, more than any other costume or turreted workstation, is why I love coming to work in the morning. It is what motivates me and gives me a definite sense of mission."

Early on in his relationship with Pixar, Catmull set about to make one of his dreams come true: "It has always been my goal to create a culture at Pixar that will outlast its founding leaders -- Steve Jobs, John Lasseter, and me. But it is also my goal to share our underlying philosophies with other leaders and, frankly, with anyone who wrestles with the competing -- but necessarily complementary -- forces of art and commerce."

Why specifically did Catmull write this book? "The thesis of this book is that there are many blocks to creativity, but there are active steps we can take to protect the creative process. In the coming pages, I will discuss many of the steps we follow at Pixar, but the most compelling mechanisms to me are those that deal with uncertainty, instability, lack of candor, and the things we cannot see.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought the book thinking I would gain insight into the world of Pixar and how the company came to be so successful (which I absolutely did). In addition I ended up walking away with a number of lessons in helping people succeed and being a better leader. Very clear vision on how to engage and trust people which can be applied to nearly any industry. I'm not one to re-read many books but this is one that's going to be read again for sure! Loved every page.
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Format: Hardcover
Movie fans will no doubt be familiar with auteur theory. Filmmaking is clearly a collaborative process requiring the talents of many people, but the general concept is that it is best for one person - the director - to be able to create their unique vision with as little interference as possible. I subscribe to this theory myself. You can't have too many cooks in the kitchen, as the saying goes.

But Pixar does have quite a few cooks, each contributing their own unique ingredients to the films. As Pixar fans know, there is a small group of people (about a half-dozen or so) who have essentially worked on all the movies -- they alternate directing, writing, and other duties, but they all provide input into each of the films. Although there is typically only one person credited as director, at Pixar the films are very much a collective vision and thereare checks and balances going on throughout the filmmaking process.

This book is full of anecdotes from Pixar - examples of creative disagreements and problem solving techniques from inside one of the great movie production companies.

I recall John Lasseter once saying (and I'm paraphrasing) something like "every movie we make is at one point the worst movie ever made". So how does Pixar turn the worst movies ever made into near-perfect films such a high percentage of the time? Well, this is essentially what the book answers. It's because of a creative environment where risks are encouraged and the more ideas the better - after all, you can throw away the bad ideas and keep the good ones.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked Catmull's approach to creativity, but I didnt like the presentation of it in this book. Before even cracking it open, I had bought into the fact that Pixar was a leading organization based on best-in-class creativity. With that in mind, there was a lot of set-up and substantiation to read through before Catmull would get to his points; points which have a lot of substance. It feels like a struggle between a biography and a business book, where I wanted the later. Luckily, at the end of the book he summarizes his approaches to creativity which is all I really needed.
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