Review: Creativity Inc. On talent, great management and the flight of imagination

Book Reviews

“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”

Creativity Inc. is an altogether brilliant memoir by Pixar founder Ed Catmull. Entertaining and enlightening, the book allows you to discover the very essence of Pixar’s creative DNA and the elements that made it one of the most innovative and creative companies in the world.

Animation? Technology? Creative storylines? Groundbreaking management? Steve Jobs? Creativity Inc. has it all. From the fascination with Disney cartoons to the work for George Lucas on Star Wars, Ed Catmull retraces the steps of the company that broke the rules and exceeded expectations, and failed, and then failed again and persevered.

“If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.”

“The goal, then, is to uncouple fear and failure—to create an environment in which making mistakes doesn’t strike terror into your employees’ hearts.”

One of the greatest lessons of Creativity Inc. is that it is OK to fail. Failure is a matter of learning and making groundbreaking discoveries. It is a matter of learning. Another brilliant element of Pixar is the empowerment of employees and the culture of trust that Pixar’s leadership has managed to foster within its teams. Every idea can make a difference, may it be coming from an intern or a producer. Pixar fosters collaborative input. If anything goes wrong, anyone is entitled to blow the whistle and tell the bosses it’s time to start over. “Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the ability to recover.” Pixar is all about the teams, a talented team can improve a good idea and make it a great one. A bad team cannot. This is why Pixar is truly, Creativity Inc.

“The first principle was “Story Is King,” by which we meant that we would let nothing—not the technology, not the merchandising possibilities—get in the way of our story.”

Pixar is all about brilliant storytelling, there is no denying. Creativity Inc. is not just a book about brilliant management of a stellar company, it is a book about a group of creative people who have written and directed some of the classics of modern animation. They created Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille… Most notably, Pixar is also responsible for Disney revival! Ed Catmull recounts the stories of creation of some of the most famous animated films in history, the ways these stories came to life, how they evolved and what challenges Pixar faced during production.

On the last note, the story of course would not be complete without Steve Jobs. Pixar was the real baby of the Apple mastermind and it is indeed a pleasure to read about his contribution to the world of modern animation.

Overall note: 5*

“Quality is the best business plan.”


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