Sunday, March 30, 2014

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

Title:  Creativity, Inc.:  Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Author:  Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
Publication Information:  Random House. 2014. 368 pages.
ISBN:  0812993012 / 978-0812993011

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "Ease isn't the goal; excellence is."

Ed Catmull is one of the founding fathers of Pixar, the creators of movies such as the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, Monster Inc., Cars, and Up. He is the current president of Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. In 2009, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (aka the Oscar Academy) awarded him the Gorden E. Sawyer award for his lifetime contribution to computer graphics in the motion picture industry.

In this book, Ed Catmull tells the story of how Pixar came to be and what he feels was and is responsible for its success. In part, this book is a memoir beginning with Ed Catmull's college and post graduate work, through the birth of Pixar, through its growth, and to the present day. In part, this book is his "thoughts for managing a creative culture."

I am a huge Pixar and Disney fan. As such, I really enjoyed his memories of the creation of the movies I have so loved. I also enjoyed reading about the technology behind the movies and what it takes to create that art. Finally, I am also interested in interpersonal skills and management skills so I enjoyed reading the different approaches to foster the creativity that resulted in these movies.

Trying to address all three in one book is a big task. The book brings to light the details in all three of these arenas. To focus on one, I find myself filtering through the other two. The part I appreciate the most is the history of Pixar as an organization and a culture. I especially enjoyed the anecdotes of learning to work with Steve Jobs.

So, pull out the management details and read it as a case study in effective management. Pull out the personal stories and read it as a memoir. Focus on the creative process and read it for a movie history. Well told, interesting, but you need to put your own filter on the information you want out of the book.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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