Quick Review: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull decided to create the first ever computer animated feature film, it took him 20 years, but with the premiere of “Toy Story” he reached he goal. Now he turned to another challenge; to create a sustainable creative work environment.

This is not a “The 10 Things to Do to Be a Great Manager”-book, instead it tries to describe the enormous complexity and challenges that comes with creative work.

With creative products, we usually only see the slick final product. In this case with Pixar; a heartwarming and excellently crafted animated movie. This book gives a peak behind the curtains and you will see that chaos and uncertainty rules even there. It’s a part of the process and it’s how you navigate these situations will determine your success.

Notes and Highlights

📝 When you become a manager you might not see it, but information that was previously available start to disappear. People think more about what they say when you are around and you might not catch those snarky comments about small problems that you used to.

📝 Cultivate what in Zen is referred to as “Beginners Mind”; An attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would do.

📝 During the crunch to get Toy Story 2 ready: An employee forgot to drop his kid of at daycare and went right to work. During the day he suddenly realized the child was still in the car on the broiling parking lot. The child was unconscious, but was saved.

📝 Inspired by Japanese manufacturing: Everyone was expected to report errors and stop production no matter what position you have.


Create mental models that sustains you and keep your doubts at bay. “so much work, so little time to do it” is a constant problem in creative productions. “One director tells himself that he has time even when he don’t. Because he knows that from that space, he is actually in a position to solve the problem at hand.”

This book is essential for people working on larger creative teams in the movies or games.



⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5

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