Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
By Ed Catmull
""What does it mean to manage well?""
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. "Forbes "raves that "Creativity, Inc. ""just might be the business book ever written."
"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.
Praise for "Creativity, Inc."
"Over more than thirty years, Ed Catmull has developed methods to root out and destroy the barriers to creativity, to marry creativity to the pursuit of excellence, and, most impressive, to sustain a culture of disciplined creativity during setbacks and success. Pixar's unrivaled record, and the joy its films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: It works."--Jim Collins, co-author of "Built to Last "and author of" Good to Great"
"Too often, we seek to keep the status quo working. This is a book about breaking it."--Seth Godin
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 realize a creative coalescence of art, business, and innovation."--George Lucas
"This is the best book ever written on what it takes to build a creative organization. It is the best because Catmull's wisdom, modesty, and self-awareness fill every page. He shows how Pixar's greatness results from connecting the specific little things they do (mostly things that anyone can do in any organization) to the big goal that drives everyone in the company: making films that make them feel proud of one another."--Robert I. Sutton, professor of management science at Stanford University, author of "The No A**hole Rule" and co-author of "Scaling Up Excellence"
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