The co-founder and longtime president of Pixar updates and expands his 2014 New York Times bestseller on creative leadership, reflecting on the management principles that built Pixar’s singularly successful culture, and on all he learned during the past nine years that allowed Pixar to retain its creative culture while continuing to evolve.
“Might be the most thoughtful management book ever.”—Fast Company
For nearly thirty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner eighteen Academy Awards. The joyous storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, 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, 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 twenty-five 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. • 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.
Creativity, Inc. has been significantly expanded to illuminate the continuing development of the unique culture at Pixar. It features a new introduction, two entirely new chapters, four new chapter postscripts, and changes and updates throughout. Pursuing excellence isn’t a one-off assignment but an ongoing, day-in, day-out, full-time job. And Creativity, Inc. explores how it is done.
About the Author
Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. He has received five Academy Awards, including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, and he is an ACM Turing Award Laureate. He lives in San Francisco. Amy Wallace is a journalist whose work has appeared in GQ, The New Yorker, Wired, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times Magazine. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times. She is also the co-host of Riveted, a podcast about great storytelling.
“The most practical and deep book ever written by a practitioner on the topic of innovation.”—Prof. Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business School
“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
“This book should be required reading for any manager.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
“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 during setbacks and success.”—Jim Collins, co-author of Built to Last and author of Good to Great
“This is the best book ever written on what it takes to build a creative organization.”—Robert I. Sutton, professor of management science at Stanford University, author of The No A**hole Rule and co-author of Scaling Up Excellence