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

Ed Catmull , Amy Wallace
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $28.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“What does it mean to manage well?”
 
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. Forbes raves that Creativity, Inc. “just might be the business book ever written.”

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.
 
Praise for Creativity, Inc.
 
“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 during setbacks and success. Pixar’s unrivaled record, and the joy its films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: It works.”—Jim Collins, co-author of Built to Last and author of Good to Great
 
“Too often, we seek to keep the status quo working. This is a book about breaking it.”—Seth Godin


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“Just might be the best business book ever written.”Forbes

“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
 
“Steve Jobs—not a man inclined to hyperbole when asked about the qualities of others—once described Ed Catmull as ‘very wise,’ ‘very self-aware,’ ‘really thoughtful,’ ‘really, really smart,’ and possessing ‘quiet strength,’ all in a single interview. Any reader of Creativity, Inc., Catmull’s new book on the art of running creative companies, will have to agree. Catmull, president of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, has written what just might be the most thoughtful management book ever.”Fast Company
 
“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 during setbacks and success. Pixar’s unrivaled record, and the joy its films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: It works.”—Jim Collins, co-author of Built to Last and author of Good to Great
 
“Too often, we seek to keep the status quo working. This is a book about breaking it.”—Seth Godin
 
“What is the secret to making more of the good stuff? Every so often Hollywood embraces a book that it senses might provide the answer. . . . Catmull’s book is quickly becoming the latest bible for the show business crowd.”—The New York Times
 
“The most practical and deep book ever written by a practitioner on the topic of innovation.”—Prof. Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business School

“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 good managing—needs to read this book.”—Chip Heath, co-author of Switch and Decisive
 
“A fascinating story about how some very smart people built something that profoundly changed the animation business and, along the way, popular culture . . . [Creativity, Inc.] is a well-told tale, full of detail about an interesting, intricate business. For fans of Pixar films, it’s a must-read. For fans of management books, it belongs on the ‘value added’ shelf.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Pixar uses technology only as a means to an end; its films are rooted in human concerns, not computer wizardry. The same can be said of Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull’s endearingly thoughtful explanation of how the studio he co-founded generated hits such as the Toy Story trilogy, Up and Wall-E. . . . [Catmull] uses Pixar’s triumphs and near-disasters to outline a system for managing people in creative businesses—one in which candid criticism is delivered sensitively, while individuality and autonomy are not strangled by a robotic corporate culture.”Financial Times
 
“A wonderful new book . . . Unlike most books written by founders, this isn’t some myth-heavy legacy project—it’s far closer to a blueprint. Catmull takes us inside the Pixar ecosystem and shows how they build and refine excellence, in revelatory detail. . . . If you do creative work, you should read it, now.”—Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
 
“A superb debut intended for managers in all fields of endeavor . . . He takes readers inside candid discussions and retreats at which participants, assuming the early versions of movies are bad, explore ways to improve them. Unusually rich in ideas, insights and experiences, the book celebrates the benefits of an open, nurturing work environment. An immensely readable and rewarding book that will challenge and inspire readers to make their workplaces hotbeds of creativity.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Punctuated with surprising tales of how the company’s films were developed and the company’s financial struggles, Catmull shares insights about harnessing talent, creating teams, protecting the creative process, candid communications, organizational structures, alignment, and the importance of storytelling. . . . [Creativity, Inc.] will delight and inspire creative individuals and their managers, as well as anyone who wants to work ‘in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving.’”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“For anyone managing anything, and particularly those trying to manage creative teams, Catmull is like a kind, smart godfather guiding us toward managing wisely, without losing our souls, and in a way that works toward greatness. Perhaps it’s all Up from there.”The Christian Science Monitor

“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 how to realize a creative coalescence of art, business, and innovation.”—George Lucas
 
“This is the 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, Stanford professor and 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.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(270)
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In my 18 years of knowing Ed, 6 of which I had the pleasure of working at Pixar, I have yet to meet someone who is so genuine, so brilliant, and so quiet. Quiet, that is, until he has something to say.

Ed doesn't speak unless he's given something much thought, and if/when you are lucky enough to receive an opinion or a bit of advice from him, grab it, and hold on.

With this book, Ed Catmull has given the world an amazing gift. Much more than a book for managers, it contains wisdom and stories that you will carry into the rest of your life.

'Creativity, Inc.' is thoughtful, sage, humorous, and 1000% true. There is no one else who could have written this book with such candor--and you will learn about true candor and it's absolute necessity in the creative process. You will learn about the kind of blood, sweat, and tears that drive a process, and the kind that can destroy it. You will read stories no one at Pixar would have dared to tell in such an open forum, and you will learn from them. Ed has presented them in perfect context with great analogies and sometimes humbling but always educational conclusions. He is, it turns out, a gifted storyteller and teacher to boot.

Well worth the read, be sure to keep it around--you'll tell other people to read it. Maybe get an extra copy. Don't want to lose yours.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"I would devote myself to learning how to build not just a successful company but a sustainable creative culture." Ed Catmull

There is no doubt that Pixar is one of the most creative companies in the world today. They accomplished an "insanely great feat" by creating the first all computer animated feature film, Toy Story, at a time when naysayers were telling them it couldn't be done. Since then, they have created a series of computer-animated films that have thrilled kids and adults every where. One of my most memorable times was sitting in a theater watching Finding Nemo and Cars with my toddler son.

What exactly does it take to foster the kind of organizational culture that is capable of doing what nobody else is doing? How can companies, schools and non-profit organizations create what Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace, the authors of Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, call a "sustainable creative culture?" Catmull and Wallace tackle that very task in this book with a rare combination of both narrative and common sense.

Catmull begins this book by telling Pixar's story, and a fascinating story it is. He describes the company's rise from a part of George Lucas's film company, Lucasfilm, through their partnership with Steve Jobs, to the present day as a company that churns our computer-animated films to anxiously awaiting audiences world-wide. Catmull's anecdotes and stories throughout the book remain true to what he repeats throughout the book: creativity is about the story, and in this book he tells an engaging one for those fascinated with creativity and how it might be fostered within an organization.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Is The Recipe For Magic? March 17, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What is the recipe for magic? Something magical has been occurring for years at Pixar, but what exactly? We read about Pixar in business books, and have seen their continuous stream of 14 #1 blockbuster animated movies. Chief wizard Steve Jobs' affiliation with Pixar added to their allure. In reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, you sense that his association with Pixar influenced Jobs' maturation and reinvention which enabled him to successfully lead Apple again into creating dazzling products.

Like the scene from Disney's animated movie SLEEPING BEAUTY in which the magic spells cast create plumes of blue and pink smoke to poof out of the building's chimney, the spells cast at Pixar beguile to come closer and peek in the windows. Just what is going on there?

The doors of Pixar are thrown open in this book. Welcoming us is self-effacing Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull who provides a captivating guided tour. He tells the tale of Pixar from its inception. Catmull's purpose is not only to tell, but to teach. He said that as he saw many smart, creative companies go off the rails, he wondered what causes a dangerous disconnect at many creative companies? And how do you build a successful company and sustainable creative culture which will outlast its leaders?

He teaches the principles and mechanisms which structure and fertilize Pixar's creativity. It's said we have morphed from the agricultural age through the industrial and information ages to the creative age. Understanding how to thrive in this creative age seems paramount. Living a life is a creative act - the lessons are applicable to personal lives, too. It's a compelling story with characters we already know and love ...
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed is my hero. April 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a biased review. Ed is my hero, and has been for a good thirty years. I'm one of the people in that 1985 photo near the end of the book.

This book is just like Ed: Brilliant, quotable, succinct, and humble. There are few people in this world as smart as Ed, fewer who seem to lack any ego, and a vanishingly small number who are both. In fact, Ed"s the only one I've met. Even though I was for years the low man on the totem pole, Ed never treated me differently than the highest status dignitaries who visited Pixar.

For years when I showed guests around Pixar or spoke of its culture I maintained that everything good about it, and the fact that art and technology are words that unite people rather than divide them is all due to Ed. With this book I get a big, fat I Told You So.

I recommend this book to anybody who is starting, running, managing, or working at a company; to anybody working in, studying, or interested in any creative pursuit; to fans of Pixar or Disney; and to anybody who likes a well-written book by a damn interesting guy. And you will not find a more intimate and clear-eyed assessment of Steve Jobs anywhere.

Ed"s wife told me once that he reads math books on vacation to relax. Nobody else could write a book on management that cites both Zen and stochastic self-similarity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book From Which You Can Learn A Lot!
I was about half way through this book when I realized that I could not wait to read it again. As others have described it, the book is not a business book nor is it a history of... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Too much running around the bush.
Published 1 day ago by Ian Ryne
5.0 out of 5 stars This has been my favorite read of the year
This has been my favorite read of the year. I loved it so much I bought it on Audible as well so my kids could listen in car on way to and from school--and they loved the quirky... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Pamela P
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing and inspiring
I loved this book. The stories, the principles, the lessons learned - I was fascinated by it all. The commitment to the Pixar way - no matter what - was so inspiring. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Jeremy Copeland
5.0 out of 5 stars Creativity, Inc.
I enjoyed this book, as I am a fan of all the Pixar and Disney films. I recommend this book to other Pixar and Disney fans.
Published 4 days ago by Ashleigh Lynch
4.0 out of 5 stars practical and insights from the "inside" of one of the ...
practical and insights from the "inside" of one of the most interesting and successful of enterprises. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Tripleray
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Very insightful on company culture
Published 6 days ago by david hom
5.0 out of 5 stars We need more leaders like Ed Catmull
This book is a must have for any person interested in managing people or a company. We need more leaders like Ed Catmull. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Amazon Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars it's awesome
The book deals with things that matter and should be prescribed reading for children of all ages . . .
Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Inspiring
How teams become great so they can create those things that are even greater for the greater good! Simply Inspiring.
Published 10 days ago by Jimmie Davidson
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