Creativity, Inc is a book by Ed Catmull, a man who is president of both Walt Disney Animation studios and Pixar, two places you might have heard of. The book is co-written by Amy Wallace and it mainly deals with how to have a healthy creative culture in a company. Catmull and Wallace have plenty of advice to offer and the good thing is that every piece of advice in the book is given through a story and, luckily, Catmull’s life is full of wildly interesting anecdotes.
Creativity, Inc is full of fantastic advice for managers, employers and basically everyone that wants to have a healthy atmosphere and happy employees at their company. But the very best part of the book is the insight into Pixar and Disney. Catmull is one of the founders of Pixar and he’s been there since the very beginning. In the book, we get the story of how he got there driven by the dream of making the first computer animated movie ever. We see how he eventually succeeded and, most interestingly, how this made him feel goalless and how he dealt with that.
As the book progresses we get the full story behind Pixar’s growth, the merger with Disney and how it affected both studios. We see what John Lasseter and Catmull did to revive Disney and what they are doing to bring Pixar back to the incredible level they reached a few years ago. It’s this anecdotes that make the book a great read for any Disney/Pixar fan. Plus, you have to realize Ed Catmull is friends with John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Byron Howard, Lee Unkrich, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Steve Jobs and plenty more people who are regularly quoted in the book.
One of the most fascinating chapters deals with the Braintrust, the group of Pixar directors, writers and producers who meet every couple of months to give feedback to every director working at Pixar. You can read an excerpt here and you’ll see the style of the entire book. It’s just impossible to put down when every couple of pages you get so much insight into the studios we all love.
If you are an animation fan, especially of Disney or Pixar, I highly recommend Creativity, Inc to you. You’ll learn a lot about the history of Pixar, you’ll get insight into the inner workings of the companies and you’ll truly get the insane amount of work that goes into creating and maintaining a creative culture in these places. It will change your way of thinking about plenty of things, I guarantee it.
Pablo Ruiz is a Colombian filmmaker. Movies like Toy Story, The Lion King and Aladdin made him fall in love with the art form and now he hopes to dedicate his life to telling stories, hopefully for Pixar (if they go back to doing original films).
Some of his ambitions are making a movie as emotionally impacting as Toy Story 3, meeting JK Rowling, and petting a million dogs. Follow him on Twitter (@PabloRV7).