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

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

by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

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Overview

From a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios—the Academy Award–winning studio behind Coco, Inside Out, and Toy Story—comes an incisive book about creativity in business and leadership for readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Huffington PostFinancial TimesSuccessInc.Library Journal

Creativity, Inc. is 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 creativity—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, WALL-E, and Inside Out, 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 co-founding Pixar 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 leadership and management 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812993011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 27,064
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. He has been honored with five Academy Awards, including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for lifetime achievement in the field of computer graphics, and the ACM A.M. Turing Award for major contributions of lasting importance to computing. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.
 
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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Chapter 1
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Excerpted from "Creativity, Inc."
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Copyright © 2014 Ed Catmull.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Lost and Found ix

Part I Getting Started 1

Chapter 1 Animated 3

Chapter 2 Pixar Is Born 21

Chapter 3 A Defining Goal 45

Chapter 4 Establishing Pixar's Identity 66

Part II Protecting the New 83

Chapter 5 Honesty and Candor 85

Chapter 6 Fear and Failure 106

Chapter 7 The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby 129

Chapter 8 Change and Randomness 145

Chapter 9 The Hidden 167

Part III Building and Sustaining 187

Chapter 10 Broadening Our View 189

Chapter 11 The Unmade Future 223

Part IV Testing What We Know 241

Chapter 12 A New Challenge 243

Chapter 13 Notes Day 275

Afterword: The Steve We Knew 297

Starting Points: Thoughts for Managing a Creative Culture 315

Acknowledgments 321

Index 325

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