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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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Story

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A good listen... If you speed up the player

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

Many criticized Peter Altshuer's performance. Don't be put off by such comments. I discovered that by just speading up 1.25x, the pace and expressiveness of the narration improve a lot, and the listening experience becomes a great one.

51 of 53 people found this review helpful

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Rare insights - Not your average business book

What made the experience of listening to Creativity, Inc. the most enjoyable?

There were parts of this book that didn't make sense to me when I first listened... but they stuck. And I think I understand them better over time. It's the kind of book that takes a bit to settle in, for the lessons to really register. To me, those are the good ones.

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

"Your model of reality is not reality itself." This was frustrating when I first heard it. What are supposed to use if our own worldview models are inadequate? I believe I understand now from this that models of the world are simply tools. Use them when they're helpful. Discard them when they aren't.

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

The Making of the Pixar Legend

Any additional comments?

Catmull teaches lessons that will prove invaluable to anybody who works in a creative space. You won't find his perspective elsewhere.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe Sparks
  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States
  • 04-10-14

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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unbelievable book. absolutely love it

I read a lot of management literature and this is one of my all time favorites. I try to listen to it a few times a year and cry more often than not

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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One of the best!

Creativity Inc is a must read. It presents the details needed to run a company that can thrive in a turbulent world. Read only if you are bold enough to change. Management is no longer valid. Replace it with a new arenas based on cognitive behavioral science, intuition, and human ways of working.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Narrator kills the story

What would have made Creativity, Inc. better?

I read the book, wanted to go through it again, so got the audiobook. The narrator used for this amazing book casts an elderly, somber tone to an amazingly uplifting and inspiring story.

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

Reading it, not the audiobook.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Peter Altschuler?

ANYONE ELSE... Eagleman fron Incognito, or the Freakanomics narrators are great and keep the listner moving forward, not lost in painfully slow and silly expressions.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Love reading it, audiobook is painful to drag through.

29 of 38 people found this review helpful

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Great business book rendered nearly unlistenable

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I enjoyed the story. I loved the story. Several great insights and lessons to be applied in my everyday role. Executing on a Brain Trust team will be challenging...but it is spot on.

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

I watch our team behavior with a new perspective. More than once I've found myself picking a chair against the back wall to shake up the rigid seating patterns. Love it.

What didn’t you like about Peter Altschuler’s performance?

Peter's style, interests and understanding of the subject matter were clearly a total mismatch for this content. Peter may be a great "performer" and may the right style for a good drama, but not a business book.

23 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Almost impossible to listen to.

What disappointed you about Creativity, Inc.?

The worst delivery imaginable. What a total disappointment. Such a great story, and such a terrible performance. Even a few minutes is difficult to get through, the voiceover is so affected and exaggerated and distracting. Awful stuff.

Would you be willing to try another one of Peter Altschuler’s performances?

Never. Ever.

Any additional comments?

Buy the digital or paper book, skip the audio edition.

26 of 34 people found this review helpful

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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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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"Protect the future, not the past."

Creativity, Inc. is not a book limited to management advice for creative or entertainment industry companies. Indeed, it's greatest value is instruction and wisdom for building an environment for healthy teamwork. Make no mistake though, what company doesn't need some degree of creativity to thrive. In the words of Apple's scientist, Alan Kay, "We cannot predict the future, but we can invent it."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful