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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Hardcover – April 8, 2014
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“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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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 ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is captivating for its candour, transparency and wealth of wisdom. So often creativity is presented as free-floating and mysterious, demanding to be unchallenged and... Read morePublished 1 hour ago by Helen Kain
Insightful read, thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the advice from Ed. Highly recommended.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
Not as good as I'd have hoped. Only got about a third of the way into the book before getting board of what felt like too much self-promotion.Published 1 day ago by Gregory J. Bilsland
Very good. The best parts were where he relates specific anecdotes/problems he encountered and how he dealt with them. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Gino Lee
What an informative, interesting and honest read from the head of one of the world's most creative companies. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Oliver Twist
to be read by every aspiring people leader: down to ground and inspiring!Published 4 days ago by David Schmidhauser
You might have noticed that title of this review is little different from book.Let me address that first. Read morePublished 4 days ago by GSangtani