I picked up this book for two reasons. First, as with many of the books I read, it was a recommendation from you amazing humans, the SPI audience. So, thank you! The second reason I was interested in reading this book is because my family and I are avid Disneyphiles. We love all things Disney and Pixar!
Before I read Creativity, Inc., (Amazon link) I already knew about the relationship between Disney and Pixar as I had read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I knew that Steve basically saved Pixar, but I only got a glimpse of that story through Steve’s and Walter’s perspectives. I was eager to learn more about the Disney and Pixar relationship to find inspiration, but to also learn more about the drama that unfolded between the two companies. And from the perspective of the president and co-founder of Pixar, Ed Catmull! So I dove right in. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
What I found the most surprising, almost immediately, was the focus of the book. More than just a history of Pixar, Creativity, Inc. is centered around lessons related to team management and team building. Of course, when those essential business lessons are centered around some of my favorite movies, such as Toy Story and Up, it makes it all that more exciting. It was also really fascinating to get a glimpse inside their relationship with Disney Animation, and how they decided to keep the Pixar team separate, even when Disney bought Pixar in 2006.
As a huge animation, Pixar, and Disney nerd, one of the most intriguing aspects of the book was how Toy Story came to be, and what it meant at the time for animation and for the future of the company. Disney called on Pixar to create the first feature-length film using computer-generated animation. It was a huge undertaking. But as time went on, the team at Pixar found that, in their effort to please Disney, they strayed away from their original vision. In one of the first screenings, Disney had asked that Pixar add a little bit more edge to Woody, which made him unlikeable.
With only a few weeks left to make changes to the film, the Pixar team decided to start over with the their original vision for the characters and the story. And, of course, the rest is history. Toy Story became one of the biggest successes in film history. I just love that story of growth. Things could have been very different. Instead, they chose to stick to their original inspiration, and that made a world of difference.
For that alone, the book is worth reading. But there is so much sound business advice in this book. It wasn’t just about Pixar, Disney, and movies. Like I said, it’s about management and teamwork. More specifically, the book’s about how Pixar handled certain challenges, what they learned from them, how communication was handled within the team, how they allowed everyone to speak up and be a part of the process, how they make hard decisions, and how they find the right people.
I think anyone who’s in business will benefit from reading Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace. Especially if you have a team or are in management of any kind, even if you work with virtual assistants. And, of course, the Disney and Pixar fans will love it too!Buy the Book on Amazon