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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen…

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

by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I see that many people really like this book but I did not. It didn't seem to me that the author really had a handle on what he wanted to write about. Every time he got into discussing a new topic, invariably it devolved into a long speech about him and Pixar. I understand that these are both big parts of the overall story, but this was too disjointed and rambling for my taste. Of course that is just me, based on the other reviewers you are likely to enjoy the book, I just did not. ( )
  eddiemerkel | Feb 27, 2015 |
In Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmull tells the story of how he fulfilled his life-long dream of making the world's first computer-animated movie, and beyond to his ongoing efforts to build a sustainable creative culture that he hopes will outlive him. He shares many valuable lessons he's learned along the way, but even for those who aren't particularly interested in the business management aspects, the history he relates is fascinating in its own right.

From his love of Disney as a child to their decline after Walt's death, to the technological development of computer graphics to which he contributed as a graduate student at the University of Utah, to his work with George Lucas who had picked up the mantle of technological innovation in filmmaking from Disney with his Industrial Light and Magic, to Steve Jobs' purchasing of Pixar from Lucas and keeping it afloat through the making and release of Toy Story, to Jobs' brokering the merger with Disney bringing Catmull full circle. And if all that isn't fascinating enough, Catmull also provides a behind-the-scenes look at the making of several of Pixar's (and now Disney's) beloved films. It turns out they have rarely gone smoothly (to put it mildly!), but when problems arise, Catmull refreshingly insists that Pixar's focus be on finding solutions rather than assigning blame.

But what moved me most was the picture of a business culture that actually lives up to its ideals, particularly in the final chapter's story about Notes Day. I don't want to give too much away, but it left me thinking what I wouldn't give to work for a company like Pixar and a man like Ed Catmull. And to top it all off, his epilogue about Steve Jobs is just as moving.

It all adds up to not just one of the best business books I've ever read, but one of the best books, period. Don't miss it. You won't be sorry you didn't. ( )
  AshRyan | Jan 4, 2015 |
Nearly all the books and articles published on management and business are complete garbage. They just recite trite abstract concepts as if they're something novel, in order to sell a book.

Although there's perhaps a little too much autobiographical background in the first couple of chapters, Creativity, Inc. is fantastic.

Creativity, Inc. is quite simply the most useful and enlightening book concerning management I have ever read. I was aware of Ed Catmull and several of his colleagues (e.g. Alvy Ray Smith) from their early CG innovations at Utah State, and of course was well aware of the magic coming from Lucasfilm. So I've been a fan of Pixar all along, but had no inkling that it was being managed so intelligently. Catmull describes in fascinating detail many of the tribulations that he and Pixar overcame in the continually improving companies he leads (he also is now President of Disney Animation).

I have never yet worked with a manager at any level in any organization that has even a tenth of the ability that Catmull and his creative right hand John Lasseter have.

As a side benefit of reading the book, I also came to understand Steve Jobs far better than before, and gain an appreciation for his accomplishments, capabilities and humanity. I was an Apple owner from the Apple II days and had a generally negative opinion of Steve from his huge ego and brusque habits. Catmull and Lasseter though had worked with Steve Jobs for over 20 years so many anecdotes and heartfelt narratives filled out large gaps for me. ( )
  Jack-in-the-Green | Dec 18, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A look behind the scenes at the creative culture of Pixar. Part memoir, part business how-to, and part historical record of the evolving graphic technologies. Enjoyed the advice to, "Create a space that encourages community and collaboration". Recommended for anyone looking for insight into the creative culture behind a successful company. ( )
  BookWallah | Jul 23, 2014 |
Sure to appeal to any fan of Pixar! Funny, I was drawn to this book more for the management aspects than the history and behind-the-scenes looks at Pixar, but I actually ended up enjoying the sort of memoir portion of the book more than the business portion. While I haven’t seen many of the Pixar films, I did enjoy hearing about the evolution of the projects, and it made me interested in finally seeing all the films. While the history of the company held my interest, I found the management advice a bit thin and repetitive. Maybe it is because I have already been lucky enough to have worked as the production manager for a creative company that had a very similar culture, but a lot of it didn’t seem that original to me. A lot of it is just common sense: hire people smarter than you – then trust them, be honest, look for hidden problems, don’t be afraid to fail, etc. Not to say there is not some good advice – and specific examples that make it easy to understand – but I really found the second half of the book a bit hard to get through because of the redundancy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. ( )
  conniemcmartin | Jul 18, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Catmull, Edprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wallace, Amymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Altschuler, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812993012, Hardcover)

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 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.
Advance praise for Creativity, Inc.
“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

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:20:47 -0500)

"In 1986, Ed Catmull co-founded Pixar, a modest start-up with an immodest goal: to make the first-ever computer animated movie. Nine years later, Pixar released Toy Story, which went on to revolutionize the industry, gross $360 million, and establish Pixar as one of the most successful, innovative, and emulated companies on earth. This book details how Catmull built an enduring creative culture -- one that doesn't just pay lip service to the importance of things like honesty, communication, and originality, but committed to them, no matter how difficult that often proved to be. As he discovered, pursuing excellence isn't a one-off assignment. It's an ongoing, day-in, day-out, full-time job. And one he was born to do"--… (more)

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