Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration by Ed CatmullCreativity, Inc.: Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration by Ed Catmullsticker-burst

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration

byEd Catmull, Amy Wallace

Hardcover | April 8, 2014

see the collection Heather's Picks

Pricing and Purchase Info

$29.24 online 
$32.00 list price save 8%
Earn 146 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


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 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, and WALL-E, 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 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 thirteen 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.
Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. He has been honored with five Academy Awards, including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for lifetime achievement in the field of computer graphics. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. He lives in San ...
Title:Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True InspirationFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:368 pages, 9.56 × 6.5 × 1.12 inShipping dimensions:9.56 × 6.5 × 1.12 inPublished:April 8, 2014Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307361179

ISBN - 13:9780307361172

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Most Engaging Business Book I've Read This is the best book on business and creating culture that I have read so far. I originally borrowed it from work, but after reading it I immediately went out an bought myself a copy (which I plan to read at least once a year and cover in notes, that's how good it was). I've always been a huge fan of Pixar and their movies (most have made me cry at least once) but seeing the story behind the pictures has taken my appreciation to a whole new level. When I run my own creative company in the future, this is 100% the company and methodology that I plan to emulate. I love the main lesson of this book, that often success leads to complacency, what worked before, will not be guaranteed to work again, and anyone who is hoping to helm, or even be part of a successful creative enterprise, needs to be constantly re-imagining what they do, and how they do it. Both in tech, in methodology, in decision making, and in people. You don't want to lose that flexibility that allows you to innovate. Nor to you want to lose your humanity to the corporate budget crunchers. The insight into the success, failures, and pivots at Pixar are inspiring, and fill me with energy to move forward, create, innovate, and learn.
Date published: 2018-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from For every leader I think every leader could find value in reading this book. Especially ideas of having the confidence to hire people who we fear might be better than us.
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! A great read for animation lovers, experts and those who just love and appreciate animation in general. Very inspiring. You could probably derive some of the tangents into real-life leadership scenarios as well.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting for nerds Fans of animation will love this title as it goes in depth on the inner workings of some great industry achievements
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Behind the Magic! This book was fun and inspiring. Ed Catmull brings his narrative storytelling to this book highlighting what its like to work at Pixar and what sets it apart from other entertainment companies. The book also has a slew of business tips that any person and industry can use to improve their business.
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best management book! Amazing story of Pixar and Disney; this book shows how to manage big companies by creating an unique identity within them!!
Date published: 2017-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice read Great book, tangents could be drawn and applied to everyday leadership situations.
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Stuck in between Though I enjoyed this book it seems to be stuck between a book on business leadership and a book of behind the scenes stories of Pixar and Disney Animation. It just seemed that combining those two topics made them both very average. Still cool to read about his story though.
Date published: 2017-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you're in a creative role, this is a must read A must read for anyone who works in a creative field. Fascinating insights into how Pixar creates magic that can be applied to many businesses. We see finished Pixar films and say !Wow, that's amazing, these guys are geniuses!" but this book pulls back the curtain and shows how all of their films start out as "ugly babies," going through a process to move from mess to a masterpiece. I'm in a creative field and found this book very encouraging--a good reminder not to compare your beginning to someone else's ending.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great for those in business I enjoyed this book. It provided insight from a manager's perspective interacting with the people they work with and not compromising their core structure and beliefs.
Date published: 2017-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great A great boook for any Pixar afficionado
Date published: 2017-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Disney Fans, a must read If you are a fan of "all that is Disney" than this is a very interesting book. I really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If it's what you're into For someone who is a big fan of pixar/disney/animation this book is a great insight into one of the masterminds behind it all. I usually get frustrated with these types of books not being in-depth enough.. how did these individuals get to where they are in life? How did they make things happen for themselves? This definitely answers a lot of those questions and is very detailed and inspiring!
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent This provides great insight into Pixar and the secret behind their success: a healthy working environment that encourages creative thinking. Buy this and leave it on the desk if you have a lousy boss.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great for Pixar and animation fans This book is really detailed and you can learn a ton about how Pixar came about and is run today. Not for a generalist though - I think you'd have to be pretty into Pixar and or computer graphics to enjoy this book.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Read This book had me captivated the entire way through. It helps that beloved animated classics are featured often as they were each essential to developing Pixar so it was fun to read about the makings of these movies. It is also nice to see the rise of Pixar and Pixar's way of thinking without solely focusing on Steve Jobs and his role in the rise of Pixar. Ed's perspective as an equally as important and made this book different than similar books I've read because it was from his memories.
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read This book will bring you behind the scenes of some of your favorite Pixar films, and will tell valuable business lessons that can be applied to our day to day lives.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok Was a bit bored by this. I know ppl like it but it wasn't for me
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprised by this one I picked it up to read it for just a few minutes, and kept picking it up. Brilliantly, and humbling, takes us through the barriers to our own creativity, and building a creative team.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Creativity Inc Insightful and historic. Need to read it a second time as I read "what", but it wasn't obvious to me on my first read " why" they did what they did. A definite read for anyone in the entertainment or digital media space.
Date published: 2015-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This was a candid and insightful look inside the animation industry. The lessons gleaned from a career of undisputed success is more than enough wisdom for any leader in any industry. I wlll try to apply as much of these lessons as i can i to my own life and work. A must read.
Date published: 2015-03-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very Slow Read Unless You Are A Fan of Pixar and/or Digital Animation I thought this would be a book full of examples that portray how to manage creative people. Instead, the first 30 pages at least are simply a personal history of how Pixar came to be. I have to say it's really boring. I'm not sure why Charles Duhigg would say it's required reading for managers, as at least so far there is absolutely no insight into how people at Pixar are managed. Maybe that comes later in the book, but it's unlikely I'll tough it out to find out.
Date published: 2015-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book for Pixar fans It's great to get an idea of what goes behind the scenes of making some of the greatest animated films ever.
Date published: 2014-11-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Management stands in the way of true inspiration. Resistance is futile.
Date published: 2014-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lessons for leaders wrapped up in a great story (because Pixar, obviously) Co-founder and president of Pixar discusses in depth how Pixar became the driving force of Disney animation. Rather than prescribing how to fix your company so it works just like Pixar, he spends a lot of time telling stories, both of success and failure, with real candour about his thought processes and feelings. One of the great business books written by a head-of-firm.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great read! An easy read into the trials and tributes of managing a team, upper management and ones own aspirations!
Date published: 2014-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! As someone who aspires to be an animator for Pixar and The Walt Disney Company, this book was extremely inspirational. Even for those who are not interested in it for the same reason that I am, it is a well-put-together collection of stories and ideas that, if not to help a creative business, prove to be an interesting read. I wish their were more books with insider information to Pixar such as this, because I didn't want to put this down. I finished it in one week, and now I'm searching for a book that will continue to catch my interest such as this one. Definitely recommend this to everyone!
Date published: 2014-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creativity a great story I am now about half way through the book. It is a very good account of the adventures of creating the most important animated film with computers. The account of how the management process worked and what did not work is very engaging and hard to put down. Catmull's insights into the team behavior and the critical meetings during the making of a film are detailed and clear indications of important issues not to be missed.
Date published: 2014-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If only If only more bosses were as enlightened as he (professes to be). Good read thought provoking, well written and charming references to my favourite animated movies.
Date published: 2014-04-23

Editorial Reviews

FINALIST 2014 – Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award“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 in good managing, needs to read this book.” —Chip Heath, co-author Switch and Decisive “Achieving enormous success while holding fast to the highest artistic standards is a nice trick—and Pixar, with its creative leadership and persistent commitment to innovation, has pulled it off. This book should be required reading for any manager.” —Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit “It’s one thing to be creative; it’s entirely another—and much more rare—to build a great and creative culture. Over more than thirty years, Ed Catmull has developed methods to root out and destroy the barriers to creativity, to marry creativity to the pursuit of excellence, and, most impressive, to sustain a culture of disciplined creativity through setbacks and success.  Pixar’s unrivaled record, and the joy their films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: it works.” —Jim Collins, co-author Built to Last, author Good to Great “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 realize a creative coalescence of art, business and innovation.” —George Lucas “This is best book ever written on what it takes to build a creative organization. It is the best because Catmull’s wisdom, modesty, and self-awareness fill every page. He shows how Pixar’s greatness results from connecting the specific little things they do (mostly things that anyone can do in any organization) to the big goal that drives everyone in the company: Making films that make them feel proud of one another.” —Robert I. Sutton, Professor of Management Science at Stanford University, author of The No A**hole Rule and co-author of Scaling Up Excellence