- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada (April 8 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307361179
- ISBN-13: 978-0307361172
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.8 x 24.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 680 g
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Hardcover – Apr 8 2014
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Behold the Dreamers" is an unforgettable debut novel about a family's struggle to make a new life in America from author Imbolo Mbue. Learn more
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.”
“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
About the Author
Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. He has been honored with five Academy Awards, including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for lifetime achievement in the field of computer graphics. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.
Amy Wallace is a journalist whose work has appeared in GQ, The New Yorker, Wired, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times Magazine. She currently serves as editor-at-large at Los Angeles Times magazine. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times and wrote a monthly column for The New York Times Sunday Business section. She lives in Los Angeles.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top Customer Reviews
"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. I believe the best managers acknowledge and make room for what they do not know -- not just because humility is a virtue but because until one adopts that mindset, the most striking breakthroughs cannot occur. I believe that managers must loosen the controls, not tighten them...This book, then, is about the ongoing work of paying attention -- of leading by being self-aware, as managers and as companies. It is an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible."
These are among the hundreds of subjects and issues Catmull examines in this book that were and remain of greatest interest and value to me:
o Why creativity and innovation are most likely to thrive within the Pixar workplace culture
o Why Catmull and most (if not all) of the other Pixar employees "love to come to work each day"
o How to protect and nourish the creative process
o Defining characteristics shared by Pixar supervisors
o The most serious mistake Pixar has made, how they were corrected, and what was learned from them
o Those who have had the greatest impact on Catmull's personal growth and personal development
o Catmull's perspective on Steve Jobs's evolving relationship with Pixar over the years
o Catmull's evaluation of Jobs's best and worst personal as well as professional attributes
o The importance of candor and especially of principled dissent at Pixar
o Perspectives on various Pixar films such as the Toy Story Trilogy (1995, 1999, and 2010) as well as A Bug's Life (1998), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007), Wall-E (2008), Up (2009), Cars 2 (2011), and Brave (2012)
o Why Catmull is convinced that hindsight is NOT 20-20
o The "mechanisms" and tactics at Pixar that help to put "collective heads into a different frame of mind" to solve problems, answer questions, and in countless other ways think more creatively...together
o Catmull's thoughts about self-imposed limits to be avoided or overcome
o The mental model that Catmull developed over time to help guide and direct his leadership and management judgment
o Pixar's relationship with Disney Animation, for better or worse
o What Notes Day is and why it is so important to the Pixar culture
In the Afterword, Catmull provides recollections of "The Steve We Knew," shared following his death by those who worked closely with him, notably John Lasseter who sat with Jobs for about an hour just before his death. I lack the talent to express in words the impact of these observations and reminiscences. I defer to Lasseter: "I looked at him and I realized this man had given me - given us - everything that we could ever want. I gave him a big hug. I kissed him on the cheek and for all of you" - Lasseter was crying now - "I said `Thank you. I love you Steve.'"
In the book's final section, Starting Points, Ed Catmull shares principles that he holds most dear. Here is the last, one that serves as an appropriate conclusion to my modest commentary: "Don't confuse the process with the goal. Working on our processes to make them better, easier, and more efficient is an indispensable activity and something we should continually work on - but it is not the goal. Making the product great is the goal."
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. According to the book, there is also a culture of complete honesty about what elements of the movie are working and which ones aren't - the collaborators are not afraid to call out a bad idea when they see it (I gather that this is somewhat of a rare thing in Hollywood).
Obviously, this book is most useful as it pertains to creating art. But these principles can also be transferred to any type of work/business environment, as well as in daily life. In particular, the book inspires me to strive to think outside the box. It also serves as a reminder that opposing points of view should be celebrated rather than berated. "Creativity, Inc" is a highly recommended read.
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews
To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with.... It really helps to understand Steve Jobs and his succession planning of Apple and why...Read more
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Business
- Books > Business & Investing > Biography & History > Captains of Industry
- Books > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Leadership
- Books > Humour & Entertainment > Movies > Direction & Production
- Books > Professional & Technical > Business Management > Management & Leadership > Leadership