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Creativity, Inc.

Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Written by: Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
Narrated by: Peter Altschuler
Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (217 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

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 20 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 30 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 PhD 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 13 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.
©2014 Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"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 how to realize a creative coalescence of art, business, and innovation." (George Lucas)
"Business gurus love to tell stories about Pixar, but this is our first chance to hear the real story from someone who lived it and led it. Everyone interested in managing innovation - or just good managing - needs to read this book." (Chip Heath, co-author of Switch and Decisive)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great book for learning about leadership

Excellent narration and a well structured book. Great read/listen for people in leadership roles.

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You will not regret this book.

I loved the way this was written and how it leads you down the thought process. I’ve read the Steve Jobs book and this added perspective of his involvement with Pixar adds yet another layer to the story. This one is a must!!! Great job Amy & Ed.

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Great read

I really enjoyed this book. It has a great story to keep your interest woven with excellent management lessons. While not all the ideas are transferable to organizations that are not creativity focused, the majority can be adapted.
I did find the narration a bit dry at first but quickly became engaged in the story.

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Very interesting but a little slow.

Very interesting but a little slow. The concepts are a but repetitive so they definitely get drilled in.

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5 starts

Excellent management book on building an impactful, high performing culture. Narrator was great. highly recommend.

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great book

this book goes throughout the progression of a man's goals, and how they changed. it talks about how he screwed up and what he did to rectify it. great listen.

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Too much valuable information!

The stories are fantastic but the amount of valuable information about so many different topics was so vast that I'm going to have to listen a few times more with a notebook in hand.

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Amazing book with plenty of invaluable information around leadership

Amazing book with plenty of invaluable information around leadership. Excellent for building business with focus os long term success and people. Outstanding examples of situation, behaviour and impact in the company ‘s results. Fantastic and inspirational book about creativity, passion and commitment to do what is right. Absolutely lovely narrative and authentic content with meaningful ways to solve complex problems. I 100% recommend this book if you want to increase your ability to be an effective leader.

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Great info wrapped in a personal story

The history of computers in filmmaking is a great story and told by one of the pioneers. The book is full of interesting anecdotes about the meeting of hollywood and silicon valley, as well as generally applicable advice. As someone who works in a related creative industry, a lot of it seems like common sense that I don't mind explained in an entertaining way, as it is all part of an interesting history. But the book also has deeper insights into some challenges I hadn't considered before. #Audible1

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Some good business tips, but a better history book

I really enjoyed the book overall - I got some great business tips, but mostly, I enjoyed hearing stories about the creation and rise of Pixar. It's a fascinating company with a cast of "characters" you're either already familiar with (like Steve Jobs) or will come to know and appreciate (like Ed himself).

If you're looking to improve your marketing and business skills only, maybe look elsewhere. If you'd like to learn a thing or two while hearing an entertaining story, pick this one up. #Audible1

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  • andrea gini
  • 2015-10-06

A good listen... If you speed up the player

What does Peter Altschuler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Many criticized Peter Altshuer's performance. Don't be put off by such comments. I discovered that by just speading up 1.25x, the pace and expressiveness of the narration improve a lot, and the listening experience becomes a great one.

67 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2015-11-04

Great words and Great Experience... however

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This book is unquestionably worth a listen, doesn't matter if your a creative type or just a regular person it's great advice all around.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Who knows

What does Peter Altschuler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Peter Altschuler reads the book well, his older voice really makes it feel like it's Ed telling the story himself.

Was Creativity, Inc. worth the listening time?

Creativity Inc is definitely worth the listen time, kept me sucked in the whole time.

Any additional comments?

This is the however part... Ed Catmul talks about how important his employee's and culture of cander and honesty he's built at Pixar, but in light of the discover that Ed was part of a wage fixing scheme dating all the way back to Pixar's founding in the 1980's gaining different studios in on the agreement along the way while also being completely unapologetic about it when news broke about their Illegal actions to suppress animators wages.
everything he talks about in this book sort of rings hallow, he talks a lot about how much he cares but I can't help but call him a liar.

25 people found this helpful

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  • fellow traveler
  • 2015-02-08

unbelievable book. absolutely love it

I read a lot of management literature and this is one of my all time favorites. I try to listen to it a few times a year and cry more often than not

10 people found this helpful

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  • Joe Sparks
  • 2014-04-10

Bought the instant I saw it.

Ed Catmull? Done! I bought this book within 2 seconds of seeing the title. I'm nearly done with the book. Really fun to get the pixar story from Catmull's side. (a major inventor of 3D graphics technology since the 70's) It reminds me of listening to The Woz autobiography: there's parallels (Both were tech partners with Steve Jobs). I've read many books that get into the pixar story, and I have my own personal history with the people from this company and era(s). Enjoying this perspective on company building, team leadership, balancing people and constraints, unique aspects of creative teams, amazing stories, and much more.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Lawrence T. Kromann
  • 2016-05-26

One of the best!

Creativity Inc is a must read. It presents the details needed to run a company that can thrive in a turbulent world. Read only if you are bold enough to change. Management is no longer valid. Replace it with a new arenas based on cognitive behavioral science, intuition, and human ways of working.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Todd
  • 2014-04-29

Lessons on Creativity & Entertainment

What did you love best about Creativity, Inc.?

An in-depth look at the history of Pixar, Steve Jobs, and it's acquisition by Disney. The author takes you through Pixar's humble beginnings, the impact Steve Jobs had on the firm when he bought it and took it public, the various ways that they created a culture of excellence and creativity. It's interesting to hear how they created Toy Story, Ratitue(sp), Finding Nemo, etc. If you love creativity and entertainment it will open your mind. The author takes you through the many steps involved in the creative process of writing a script. One thing that stood out to me was the finding that 1st graders are more creative than 5th graders. That is a telling finding. The book will help anyone as it teaches you about how to live a more creative life.

6 people found this helpful

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  • san antonio user
  • 2014-12-21

Narrator kills the story

What would have made Creativity, Inc. better?

I read the book, wanted to go through it again, so got the audiobook. The narrator used for this amazing book casts an elderly, somber tone to an amazingly uplifting and inspiring story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Creativity, Inc.?

Reading it, not the audiobook.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Peter Altschuler?

ANYONE ELSE... Eagleman fron Incognito, or the Freakanomics narrators are great and keep the listner moving forward, not lost in painfully slow and silly expressions.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Love reading it, audiobook is painful to drag through.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel K
  • 2014-11-15

Great business book rendered nearly unlistenable

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I enjoyed the story. I loved the story. Several great insights and lessons to be applied in my everyday role. Executing on a Brain Trust team will be challenging...but it is spot on.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Creativity, Inc.?

I watch our team behavior with a new perspective. More than once I've found myself picking a chair against the back wall to shake up the rigid seating patterns. Love it.

What didn’t you like about Peter Altschuler’s performance?

Peter's style, interests and understanding of the subject matter were clearly a total mismatch for this content. Peter may be a great "performer" and may the right style for a good drama, but not a business book.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Client
  • 2014-11-05

Almost impossible to listen to.

What disappointed you about Creativity, Inc.?

The worst delivery imaginable. What a total disappointment. Such a great story, and such a terrible performance. Even a few minutes is difficult to get through, the voiceover is so affected and exaggerated and distracting. Awful stuff.

Would you be willing to try another one of Peter Altschuler’s performances?

Never. Ever.

Any additional comments?

Buy the digital or paper book, skip the audio edition.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Austin M. Craig
  • 2014-11-10

Rare insights - Not your average business book

What made the experience of listening to Creativity, Inc. the most enjoyable?

There were parts of this book that didn't make sense to me when I first listened... but they stuck. And I think I understand them better over time. It's the kind of book that takes a bit to settle in, for the lessons to really register. To me, those are the good ones.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Creativity, Inc.?

"Your model of reality is not reality itself." This was frustrating when I first heard it. What are supposed to use if our own worldview models are inadequate? I believe I understand now from this that models of the world are simply tools. Use them when they're helpful. Discard them when they aren't.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Making of the Pixar Legend

Any additional comments?

Catmull teaches lessons that will prove invaluable to anybody who works in a creative space. You won't find his perspective elsewhere.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Benjamin
  • 2015-06-15

Inspirant

Très bonne narration, claire et facile à comprendre.
L'histoire d'Ed Catmull et de Pixar est fascinante, bien que ce soit un ouvrage sur le management, il est beaucoup question de créativité, et des méthodes qui sont employées par les dirigeants du studio pour la protéger et la nourrir.
Tout créatif pourra en tirer quelques leçons !

1 person found this helpful

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  • Damien Thouvenin
  • 2018-11-25

Bavard mais intéressant

L’histoire de Pixar, racontée par celui qui en est à l’origine, fournit de multiples exemples instructifs en termes de management. Le sous-titre du livre par le créativité mais il s’agit plus largement de créer une entreprise saine dans laquelle les gens apportent leur énergie et leur intelligence, et de la manière de renforcer et nourrir cette culture.
Le livre offre aussi un aperçu original de la manière de travaille de Steve Jobs puisqu’il en était l’actionnaire principal.

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  • jitendra kumar
  • 2018-10-21

one of the best book of my life

most memorable moments
I loved it . I learned a lot . By real life story this book taught me a lot . Steve job amazing creative person

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  • Solène Chartier
  • 2015-11-10

A gold mine

Recommanderiez-vous ce livre audio à un ami ? Expliquez pourquoi.

I can't believe I haven't read/listen to that book before, the insights are amazing, it is such a great book. It gives so many tips and systems, and techniques around creative work & leadership.

Avec quel autre livre pouvez-vous comparer Creativity, Inc. ? Expliquez pourquoi.

the book from 99 u "making idea happens" is great too but far more complicated and a lot less wise

Qu'avez-vous aimé de la performance de Peter Altschuler ?

the voice is not monotone and it is easy to understand

Auriez-vous pu écouter ce livre audio en une seule fois ?

Nope, too long !! or I would have needed a whole day

Avez-vous d'autres commentaires ?

If you hesitate, then don't, buy it.