Book Review: Creativity, Inc.

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and former President of Disney Animation, takes readers on an entrepreneurial journey through Pixar’s history and the leadership style that helped to make it a success. Creatives will find tremendous value, and connection, to each perspective, especially those in leadership roles. But professionals of all kinds are almost certain to gain greater insight to positive management styles.

No comments

As a kid I can distinctly recall seeing Pixar’s first films, Toy Story and A Bugs Life, in theaters. Along with Disney’s The Lion King, these movies made up my childhood, they introduced me to animation. But it wasn’t until I read Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull did I realize that I wasn’t just an impressionable kid in a movie theater– I was part of a history making audience.

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and former President of Disney Animation, takes readers on an entrepreneurial journey through Pixar’s history and the leadership style that helped to make it a success. The story begins with Ed watching Walt Disney on television as a young boy and comes full circle with the conclusion of Pixar’s acquisition by Disney in 2006. The book is filled with animated (pun intended) anecdotes that are equally inspired and heartfelt. Readers not only get a view behind the curtain on how Pixar films are made but are guided through the unique management style that made the company what it is today.

Ed’s personality, through the assistance of writer Amy Wallace, comes through in each chapter as, for lack of a better term, warm and fuzzy. His writing style engages readers through a true sense of pathos, by the final page you feel like you’ve bid farewell to a family member rather than a highly successful businessman. Beyond his own perspective on leadership, Ed praises the leadership skills in others and goes into great detail on teamwork. His humble, but straightforward, approach is endearing. He even paints a softer side to Steve Jobs, a man oftentimes critiqued and criticized for his abrasive, dominant nature.

There are many positive takeaways from Creativity, Inc. But here are my 10 favorite quotes:

  1. “Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.”
  2. “Always try to hire people who are smarter than you. Always take a chance on better, even if it seems like a potential threat.”
  3. “There is nothing quite as effective, when it comes to shutting down alternative viewpoints, as being convinced you are right.”
  4. “I’ve heard some people describe creativity as ‘unexpected connections between unrelated concepts or ideas.'”
  5. “Do not fall for illusion that by preventing errors, you won’t have errors to fix. The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.”
  6. “Steve Jobs was known for changing his mind instantly in the light of new facts, and I don’t know anyone who thought he was weak.”
  7. “Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and as such should be seen as valuable; without them we’d have no originality).”
  8. “Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”
  9. “In order for greatness to emerge there must be phases of not-so-greatness. Protect the future, not the past.”
  10. “The future is a direction, not a destination.”

While Creativity Inc. dives into too much detail on movie making for the average reader, this non-fictional work offers a world of potential to readers across any and all industries. Pixar’s introduction of Notes Day and Braintrusts places power in its people and emphasize the importance of open communication companywide. Ed, and his fellow colleagues, believes in the power of people.

Creatives will find tremendous value, and connection, to each perspective, especially those in leadership roles. But professionals of all kinds are almost certain to gain greater insight to positive management styles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s