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

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

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."
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2014 Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"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)

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Joe Sparks SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 04-10-14
    Joe Sparks SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 04-10-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bought the instant I saw it."

    Ed Catmull? Done! I bought this book within 2 seconds of seeing the title. I'm nearly done with the book. Really fun to get the pixar story from Catmull's side. (a major inventor of 3D graphics technology since the 70's) It reminds me of listening to The Woz autobiography: there's parallels (Both were tech partners with Steve Jobs). I've read many books that get into the pixar story, and I have my own personal history with the people from this company and era(s). Enjoying this perspective on company building, team leadership, balancing people and constraints, unique aspects of creative teams, amazing stories, and much more.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 06-12-14
    Ben SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 06-12-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Anecdotes but No Reveleations"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes with a caveat. There are better books on creativity. This one should be read for an interest in Pixar more specifically.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Creativity, Inc.?

    The defense of Steve Jobs against the profile of his character which has become popular since his death


    Was Creativity, Inc. worth the listening time?

    Not for me but maybe for others


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd A. Finkle 04-29-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lessons on Creativity & Entertainment"
    What did you love best about Creativity, Inc.?

    An in-depth look at the history of Pixar, Steve Jobs, and it's acquisition by Disney. The author takes you through Pixar's humble beginnings, the impact Steve Jobs had on the firm when he bought it and took it public, the various ways that they created a culture of excellence and creativity. It's interesting to hear how they created Toy Story, Ratitue(sp), Finding Nemo, etc. If you love creativity and entertainment it will open your mind. The author takes you through the many steps involved in the creative process of writing a script. One thing that stood out to me was the finding that 1st graders are more creative than 5th graders. That is a telling finding. The book will help anyone as it teaches you about how to live a more creative life.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew McKinney, TX, United States 07-27-14
    Matthew McKinney, TX, United States 07-27-14 Member Since 2012
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    "A fascinating look into Pixar's history and way"
    If you could sum up Creativity, Inc. in three words, what would they be?

    Candor, Talent, and Fearlessness. These are three words that are teachings found in CREATIVITY, INC. that describe the way Pixar functions. If you want to get a better understanding of these and other aspects of Pixar's corporate culture and Catmull's management theories, listen to the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ed Catmull, but of course this is a non-fiction book so there weren't really "characters".


    What about Peter Altschuler’s performance did you like?

    His voice resonated with authenticity bringing honesty and passion to the text. I actually found myself thinking it was the authoring reading the text because of how personal the narration was. Additionally Altschuler has a wonderful vocal quality that is easy and pleasant to listen to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but it did make me think about my work experiences and how I would like to work in future creative endeavors.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great book. It's also the first "business" type book I've ever listened to or read, so I don't have much context for this, but I feel like the ideas Catmull presents are really innovative and effective.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 07-19-14
    Paul 07-19-14 Member Since 2012
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    "A great story teller"
    What did you love best about Creativity, Inc.?

    It's like you're in a Pixar movie. The story is well thought out and easy to follow


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bmarlin 07-02-14
    bmarlin 07-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "I wish more companies would follow this strategy"
    What made the experience of listening to Creativity, Inc. the most enjoyable?

    I thought the narrating was just fine and actually enjoyed the tone of Peter Altshuler.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Hearing about all the mistakes and pitfalls that turned into some of the greatest animation movies ever.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    How to improve your company and promote employee buy in.


    Any additional comments?

    This is my 12th audio book and my favorite so far. After listening to the story of Steve Jobs it was nice to get more detail on his involvement with this company. There is also a section of the book dealing with basing decisions off random events that I thought was very interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ethompson 06-30-14
    ethompson 06-30-14 Member Since 2012
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    "A Definite Favorite!"
    If you could sum up Creativity, Inc. in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, Fun and Inspiring


    What did you like best about this story?

    This has become one of my favorite books. First, I am a huge Pixar/Disney fan. So hearing the numerous stories behind the company really kept me wanting to hear more. I loved all the interesting little insights to some of my favorite movies like "Toy Story."

    Besides the stories there were also several great management ideas that I would love to implement around my office. I am not sure all of them are practical in a traditional office environment but just hearing the details of how they put some things together really helped me think of things I can do.


    What does Peter Altschuler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I loved Peter Altschuler's performance. His voice and inflection were so good it made you feel as if you were really listening to Ed Catmull tell the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert MORAGA, CA, United States 06-26-14
    Robert MORAGA, CA, United States 06-26-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Made me want to work there."
    Where does Creativity, Inc. rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5% for sure


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Creativity, Inc.?

    When they were bought by Disney through Steve Job's negotiations


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely wanted to keep going.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    verita 06-18-14
    verita 06-18-14
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    "Should be labeled as a memoir, because it is one!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book comes across as a business guide, but transitions quickly into a memoir of the life and times of Pixar. That's fine, but my expectations were a bit different. I do think there is good content, although it could have easily been condensed into 5-6 hours.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace ? Why or why not?

    Yes


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Wouldn't translate very well.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack H. Louisville, KY 06-03-14
    Jack H. Louisville, KY 06-03-14

    Don't Panic

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    "Fascinating look inside Pixar"
    Would you listen to Creativity, Inc. again? Why?

    Absolutely. It is an incredible story with examples of fostering a creative work environment. Anyone who inspires to lead people can learn a lot.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    While it is not a typical story, gaining insight into what makes some of the leaders of Pixar tick is great. John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Steve Jobs, etc.


    Which character – as performed by Peter Altschuler – was your favorite?

    Eh, the performance wasn't that great, didn't really add too much.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would have loved to listen to it all in one sitting, but who has the time. I listened during my morning commute into work.


    Any additional comments?

    I wasn't crazy about the performance, but the story was great. Well worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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