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 Post • Financial Times • Success • Inc. • 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.
Finding Nemo. Toy Story. The Incredibles. These wildly successful, award-winning films are all part of the outstanding canon Pixar Animation Studios has produced since its inception in 1986. Pixar co-founder and president Catmull takes us inside the company and its evolution from unprofitable hardware company to creative powerhouse. Along the way, he addresses the challenge of building an effective and enduring creative culture. Punctuated with surprising tales of how the company's films were developed and the company's financial struggles, Catmull shares insights about harnessing talent, creating teams, protecting the creative process, candid communications, organizational structures, alignment, and the importance of storytelling. His own storytelling power is evident as he narrates the company's precarious journey to profitability. Written in an earnest and introspective tone, with the help of Wallace, the book will delight and inspire creative individuals and their managers, as well as anyone who wants to work "in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving." Catmull's voice and choice of topics reveals him to be a caring, committed, philosophical leader who loves his work, respects his creative colleagues, and remains committed to the advancement of computer animation and great filmmaking.
Creativity Inc is a must read for any and every leader
Creativity Inc. is one of the most inspirational, insightful, and honest books I've read in awhile. Two thumbs up!
If you're an experienced manager, aspiring leader, or someone who simply enjoys learning about behind the scenes of such an interesting and unique company, then this book is a must read.
I wish every business owner would read this.
This is my third copy. Bought a hardback, then bought another as a gift. Just bought this for my iPhone and iPad because it's a reference book as much as it is a biographical page turner. It's just awesome. Catmull is honest and humble while bragging about some of the biggest pop successes ever. Highly recommend.
Catmull reveals that, like their movies, the secret of Pixar’s creative culture is brilliantly simple and grounded in the principles of being a good human being. It’s easy to understand, even while implementing requires constant vigilance and hard work. Healthy management is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution, but a constant process of communication and introspection.