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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Anglais) CD audio – Livre audio, Version intégrale

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Chapter 1


For thirteen years we had a table in the large conference room at Pixar that we call West One. Though it was beautiful, I grew to hate this table. It was long and skinny, like one of those things you’d see in a comedy sketch about an old wealthy couple that sits down for dinner—­one person at either end, a candelabra in the middle—­and has to shout to make conversation. The table had been chosen by a designer Steve Jobs liked, and it was elegant, all right—­but it impeded our work.

We’d hold regular meetings about our movies around that table—­thirty of us facing off in two long lines, often with more people seated along the walls—­and everyone was so spread out that it was difficult to communicate. For those unlucky enough to be seated at the far ends, ideas didn’t flow because it was nearly impossible to make eye contact without craning your neck. Moreover, because it was important that the director and producer of the film in question be able to hear what everyone was saying, they had to be placed at the center of the table. So did Pixar’s creative leaders: John Lasseter, Pixar’s creative officer, and me, and a handful of our most experienced directors, producers, and writers. To ensure that these people were always seated together, someone began making place cards. We might as well have been at a formal dinner party.

When it comes to creative inspiration, job titles and hierarchy are meaningless. That’s what I believe. But unwittingly, we were allowing this table—­and the resulting place card ritual—­to send a different message. The closer you were seated to the middle of the table, it implied, the more important—­the more central—­you must be. And the farther away, the less likely you were to speak up—­your distance from the heart of the conversation made participating feel intrusive. If the table was crowded, as it often was, still more people would sit in chairs around the edges of the room, creating yet a third tier of participants (those at the center of the table, those at the ends, and those not at the table at all). Without intending to, we’d created an obstacle that discouraged people from jumping in.

Over the course of a decade, we held countless meetings around this table in this way—­completely unaware of how doing so undermined our own core principles. Why were we blind to this? Because the seating arrangements and place cards were designed for the convenience of the leaders, including me. Sincerely believing that we were in an inclusive meeting, we saw nothing amiss because we didn’t feel excluded. Those not sitting at the center of the table, meanwhile, saw quite clearly how it established a pecking order but presumed that we—­the leaders—­had intended that outcome. Who were they, then, to complain?

It wasn’t until we happened to have a meeting in a smaller room with a square table that John and I realized what was wrong. Sitting around that table, the interplay was better, the exchange of ideas more free-­flowing, the eye contact automatic. Every person there, no matter their job title, felt free to speak up. This was not only what we wanted, it was a fundamental Pixar belief: Unhindered communication was key, no matter what your position. At our long, skinny table, comfortable in our middle seats, we had utterly failed to recognize that we were behaving contrary to that basic tenet. Over time, we’d fallen into a trap. Even though we were conscious that a room’s dynamics are critical to any good discussion, even though we believed that we were constantly on the lookout for problems, our vantage point blinded us to what was right before our eyes.

Emboldened by this new insight, I went to our facilities department. “Please,” I said, “I don’t care how you do it, but get that table out of there.” I wanted something that could be arranged into a more intimate square, so people could address each other directly and not feel like they didn’t matter. A few days later, as a critical meeting on an upcoming movie approached, our new table was installed, solving the problem.

Still, interestingly, there were remnants of that problem that did not immediately vanish just because we’d solved it. For example, the next time I walked into West One, I saw the brand-­new table, arranged—­as requested—­in a more intimate square that made it possible for more people to interact at once. But the table was adorned with the same old place cards! While we’d fixed the key problem that had made place cards seem necessary, the cards themselves had become a tradition that would continue until we specifically dismantled it. This wasn’t as troubling an issue as the table itself, but it was something we had to address because cards implied hierarchy, and that was precisely what we were trying to avoid. When Andrew Stanton, one of our directors, entered the meeting room that morning, he grabbed several place cards and began randomly moving them around, narrating as he went. “We don’t need these anymore!” he said in a way that everyone in the room grasped. Only then did we succeed in eliminating this ancillary problem.

This is the nature of management. Decisions are made, usually for good reasons, which in turn prompt other decisions. So when problems arise—­and they always do—­disentangling them is not as simple as correcting the original error. Often, finding a solution is a multi-­step endeavor. There is the problem you know you are trying to solve—­think of that as an oak tree—­and then there are all the other problems—­think of these as saplings—­that sprouted from the acorns that fell around it. And these problems remain after you cut the oak tree down.

Even after all these years, I’m often surprised to find problems that have existed right in front of me, in plain sight. For me, the key to solving these problems is finding ways to see what’s working and what isn’t, which sounds a lot simpler than it is. Pixar today is managed according to this principle, but in a way I’ve been searching all my life for better ways of seeing. It began decades before Pixar even existed.

When I was a kid, I used to plunk myself down on the living room floor of my family’s modest Salt Lake City home a few minutes before 7 p.m. every Sunday and wait for Walt Disney. Specifically, I’d wait for him to appear on our black-­and-­white RCA with its tiny 12-­inch screen. Even from a dozen feet away—­the accepted wisdom at the time was that viewers should put one foot between them and the TV for every inch of screen—­I was transfixed by what I saw.

Each week, Walt Disney himself opened the broadcast of The Wonderful World of Disney. Standing before me in suit and tie, like a kindly neighbor, he would demystify the Disney magic. He’d explain the use of synchronized sound in Steamboat Willie or talk about the importance of music in Fantasia. He always went out of his way to give credit to his forebears, the men—­and, at this point, they were all men—­who’d done the pioneering work upon which he was building his empire. He’d introduce the television audience to trailblazers such as Max Fleischer, of Koko the Clown and Betty Boop fame, and Winsor McCay, who made Gertie the Dinosaur—­the first animated film to feature a character that expressed emotion—­in 1914. He’d gather a group of his animators, colorists, and storyboard artists to explain how they made Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck come to life. Each week, Disney created a made-­up world, used cutting-­edge technology to enable it, and then told us how he’d done it.

Walt Disney was one of my two boyhood idols. The other was Albert Einstein. To me, even at a young age, they represented the two poles of creativity. Disney was all about inventing the new. He brought things into being—­both artistically and technologically—­that did not exist before. Einstein, by contrast, was a master of explaining that which already was. I read every Einstein biography I could get my hands on as well as a little book he wrote on his theory of relativity. I loved how the concepts he developed forced people to change their approach to physics and matter, to view the universe from a different perspective. Wild-­haired and iconic, Einstein dared to bend the implications of what we thought we knew. He solved the biggest puzzles of all and, in doing so, changed our understanding of reality.

Both Einstein and Disney inspired me, but Disney affected me more because of his weekly visits to my family’s living room. “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are,” his TV show’s theme song would announce as a baritone-­voiced narrator promised: “Each week, as you enter this timeless land, one of these many worlds will open to you . . . .” Then the narrator would tick them off: Frontierland (“tall tales and true from the legendary past”), Tomorrowland (“the promise of things to come”), Adventureland (“the wonder world of nature’s own realm”), and Fantasyland (“the happiest kingdom of them all”). I loved the idea that animation could take me places I’d never been. But the land I most wanted to learn about was the one occupied by the innovators at Disney who made these animated films.

Between 1950 and 1955, Disney made three movies we consider classics today: Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp. More than half a century later, we all remember the glass slipper, the Island of Lost Boys, and that scene where the cocker spaniel and the mutt slurp spaghetti. But few grasp how technically sophisticated these movies were. Disney’s animators were at the forefront of applied technology; instead of merely using existing methods, they were inventing ones of their own. They had to develop the tools to perfect sound and color, to use blue screen matting and multi-­plane cameras and xerography. Every time some technological breakthrough occurred, Walt Disney incorporated it and then talked about it on his show in a way that highlighted the relationship between technology and art. I was too young to realize such a synergy was groundbreaking. To me, it just made sense that they belonged together.

Watching Disney one Sunday evening in April of 1956, I experienced something that would define my professional life. What exactly it was is difficult to describe except to say that I felt something fall into place inside my head. That night’s episode was called “Where Do the Stories Come From?” and Disney kicked it off by praising his animators’ knack for turning everyday occurrences into cartoons. That night, though, it wasn’t Disney’s explanation that pulled me in but what was happening on the screen as he spoke. An artist was drawing Donald Duck, giving him a jaunty costume and a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy with which to woo Daisy. Then, as the artist’s pencil moved around the page, Donald came to life, putting up his dukes to square off with the pencil lead, then raising his chin to allow the artist to give him a bow tie.

The definition of superb animation is that each character on the screen makes you believe it is a thinking being. Whether it’s a T-­Rex or a slinky dog or a desk lamp, if viewers sense not just movement but intention—­or, put another way, emotion—­then the animator has done his or her job. It’s not just lines on paper anymore; it’s a living, feeling entity. This is what I experienced that night, for the first time, as I watched Donald leap off the page. The transformation from a static line drawing to a fully dimensional, animated image was sleight of hand, nothing more, but the mystery of how it was done—­not just the technical process but the way the art was imbued with such emotion—­was the most interesting problem I’d ever considered. I wanted to climb through the TV screen and be part of this world.

The mid-­1950s and early 1960s were, of course, a time of great prosperity and industry in the United States. Growing up in Utah in a tight-­knit Mormon community, my four younger brothers and sisters and I felt that anything was possible. Because the adults we knew had all lived through the Depression, World War II, and then the Korean War, this period felt to them like the calm after a thunderstorm.

I remember the optimistic energy—­an eagerness to move forward that was enabled and supported by a wealth of emerging technologies. It was boom time in America, with manufacturing and home construction at an all-­time high. Banks were offering loans and credit, which meant more and more people could own a new TV, house, or Cadillac. There were amazing new appliances like disposals that ate your garbage and machines that washed your dishes, although I certainly did my share of cleaning them by hand. The first organ transplants were performed in 1954; the first polio vaccine came a year later; in 1956, the term artificial intelligence entered the lexicon. The future, it seemed, was already here.

Then, when I was twelve, the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite—­Sputnik 1—­into earth’s orbit. This was huge news, not just in the scientific and political realms but in my sixth grade classroom at school, where the morning routine was interrupted by a visit from the principal, whose grim expression told us that our lives had changed forever. Since we’d been taught that the Communists were the enemy and that nuclear war could be waged at the touch of a button, the fact that they’d beaten us into space seemed pretty scary—proof that they had the upper hand.

The United States government’s response to being bested was to create something called ARPA, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency. Though it was housed within the Defense Department, its mission was ostensibly peaceful: to support scientific researchers in America’s universities in the hopes of preventing what it termed “technological surprise.” By sponsoring our best minds, the architects of ARPA believed, we’d come up with better answers. Looking back, I still admire that enlightened reaction to a serious threat: We’ll just have to get smarter. ARPA would have a profound effect on America, leading directly to the computer revolution and the Internet, among countless other innovations. There was a sense that big things were happening in America, with much more to come. Life was full of possibility.

Still, while my family was middle-­class, our outlook was shaped by my father’s upbringing. Not that he talked about it much. Earl Catmull, the son of an Idaho dirt farmer, was one of fourteen kids, five of whom had died as infants. His mother, raised by Mormon pioneers who made a meager living panning for gold in the Snake River in Idaho, didn’t attend school until she was 11. My father was the first in his family ever to go to college, paying his own way by working several jobs. During my childhood, he taught math during the school year and built houses during the summers. He built our house from the ground up. While he never explicitly said that education was paramount, my siblings and I all knew we were expected to study hard and go to college.

Revue de presse

“Just might be the best business book ever written.”Forbes

“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
“Steve Jobs—not a man inclined to hyperbole when asked about the qualities of others—once described Ed Catmull as ‘very wise,’ ‘very self-aware,’ ‘really thoughtful,’ ‘really, really smart,’ and possessing ‘quiet strength,’ all in a single interview. Any reader of Creativity, Inc., Catmull’s new book on the art of running creative companies, will have to agree. Catmull, president of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, has written what just might be the most thoughtful management book ever.”Fast Company
“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 during setbacks and success. Pixar’s unrivaled record, and the joy its films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: It works.”—Jim Collins, co-author of Built to Last and author of Good to Great
“Too often, we seek to keep the status quo working. This is a book about breaking it.”—Seth Godin
“What is the secret to making more of the good stuff? Every so often Hollywood embraces a book that it senses might provide the answer. . . . Catmull’s book is quickly becoming the latest bible for the show business crowd.”—The New York Times
“The most practical and deep book ever written by a practitioner on the topic of innovation.”—Prof. Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business School

“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
“A fascinating story about how some very smart people built something that profoundly changed the animation business and, along the way, popular culture . . . [Creativity, Inc.] is a well-told tale, full of detail about an interesting, intricate business. For fans of Pixar films, it’s a must-read. For fans of management books, it belongs on the ‘value added’ shelf.”The Wall Street Journal
“Pixar uses technology only as a means to an end; its films are rooted in human concerns, not computer wizardry. The same can be said of Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull’s endearingly thoughtful explanation of how the studio he co-founded generated hits such as the Toy Story trilogy, Up and Wall-E. . . . [Catmull] uses Pixar’s triumphs and near-disasters to outline a system for managing people in creative businesses—one in which candid criticism is delivered sensitively, while individuality and autonomy are not strangled by a robotic corporate culture.”Financial Times
“A wonderful new book . . . Unlike most books written by founders, this isn’t some myth-heavy legacy project—it’s far closer to a blueprint. Catmull takes us inside the Pixar ecosystem and shows how they build and refine excellence, in revelatory detail. . . . If you do creative work, you should read it, now.”—Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
“A superb debut intended for managers in all fields of endeavor . . . He takes readers inside candid discussions and retreats at which participants, assuming the early versions of movies are bad, explore ways to improve them. Unusually rich in ideas, insights and experiences, the book celebrates the benefits of an open, nurturing work environment. An immensely readable and rewarding book that will challenge and inspire readers to make their workplaces hotbeds of creativity.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Punctuated with surprising tales of how the company’s films were developed and the company’s financial struggles, Catmull shares insights about harnessing talent, creating teams, protecting the creative process, candid communications, organizational structures, alignment, and the importance of storytelling. . . . [Creativity, Inc.] will delight and inspire creative individuals and their managers, as well as anyone who wants to work ‘in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving.’”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“For anyone managing anything, and particularly those trying to manage creative teams, Catmull is like a kind, smart godfather guiding us toward managing wisely, without losing our souls, and in a way that works toward greatness. Perhaps it’s all Up from there.”The Christian Science Monitor

“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
“This is the 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, Stanford professor and author of The No A**hole Rule and co-author of Scaling Up Excellence

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

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  • Editeur : Random House Audio; Édition : Unabridged (8 avril 2014)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0804127441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804127448
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,9 x 2,8 x 15,1 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Sebastien Deguy le 31 mai 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Ce livre fait beaucoup de bien. L'analyse des comportements humains y est très fine et tellement humble et intelligente, enfin des vérités posées sur le papier sans forfanterie.

Ce livre est clairement une grande source d'inspiration pour tous ceux qui, comme je le suis, sont aux commandes d'une société qui se veut créative et innovante.
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Par R. H. L. le 21 décembre 2014
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This book is a must read and a source of long-lasting help and inspiration to all those – artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, creators – who embark on the difficult, challenging, taxing, frustrating, sometimes puzzling but deeply worthwhile work of bringing the new into our lives.

"The world is sometimes unkind to the new", says food critic Anton Ego in Pixar's 'Ratatouille'. Protecting it and building an organization that survives the hardships, uncertainty and chaos of the true creative process is a truly hard thing to achieve.

Ed Catmull shares lessons from a lifetime grappling – very successfully – with these very questions, and the world and his readers should be deeply grateful for it.
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Sans jamais y faire référence explicitement, l'auteur nous montre comment mettre en place les approches à la base de l'agilité, en réinventant un autre type de cérémonial et de pratiques adaptées au monde du dessin animé.
Il semble en particulier avoir su mettre en place des rituels permettant un feed back rapide, direct et motivant, qui est des principaux défis des industries qui doivent innover pour survivre comme c'est le cas de Pixar.
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77 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
When Ed tells a story, it's in your best interest to listen. 15 avril 2014
Par Shelby Cass - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
In my 18 years of knowing Ed, 6 of which I had the pleasure of working at Pixar, I have yet to meet someone who is so genuine, so brilliant, and so quiet. Quiet, that is, until he has something to say.

Ed doesn't speak unless he's given something much thought, and if/when you are lucky enough to receive an opinion or a bit of advice from him, grab it, and hold on.

With this book, Ed Catmull has given the world an amazing gift. Much more than a book for managers, it contains wisdom and stories that you will carry into the rest of your life.

'Creativity, Inc.' is thoughtful, sage, humorous, and 1000% true. There is no one else who could have written this book with such candor--and you will learn about true candor and it's absolute necessity in the creative process. You will learn about the kind of blood, sweat, and tears that drive a process, and the kind that can destroy it. You will read stories no one at Pixar would have dared to tell in such an open forum, and you will learn from them. Ed has presented them in perfect context with great analogies and sometimes humbling but always educational conclusions. He is, it turns out, a gifted storyteller and teacher to boot.

Well worth the read, be sure to keep it around--you'll tell other people to read it. Maybe get an extra copy. Don't want to lose yours.
31 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of the Most Thought-Provoking Books on Fostering Organizational Creativity Around 23 avril 2014
Par John Robinson - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
"I would devote myself to learning how to build not just a successful company but a sustainable creative culture." Ed Catmull

There is no doubt that Pixar is one of the most creative companies in the world today. They accomplished an "insanely great feat" by creating the first all computer animated feature film, Toy Story, at a time when naysayers were telling them it couldn't be done. Since then, they have created a series of computer-animated films that have thrilled kids and adults every where. One of my most memorable times was sitting in a theater watching Finding Nemo and Cars with my toddler son.

What exactly does it take to foster the kind of organizational culture that is capable of doing what nobody else is doing? How can companies, schools and non-profit organizations create what Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace, the authors of Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, call a "sustainable creative culture?" Catmull and Wallace tackle that very task in this book with a rare combination of both narrative and common sense.

Catmull begins this book by telling Pixar's story, and a fascinating story it is. He describes the company's rise from a part of George Lucas's film company, Lucasfilm, through their partnership with Steve Jobs, to the present day as a company that churns our computer-animated films to anxiously awaiting audiences world-wide. Catmull's anecdotes and stories throughout the book remain true to what he repeats throughout the book: creativity is about the story, and in this book he tells an engaging one for those fascinated with creativity and how it might be fostered within an organization.

In addition to the Pixar story, Catmull and Wallace also provide valuable insight throughout the book on how Pixar has been able to maintain its creative edge through the years. For example, Catmull insists that creative cultures must operate with transparency and candor. People who work in those cultures must have the freedom to speak their minds and feel that what they say matters. That's perhaps common sense to some leaders, but many seem to forget that, especially in the "top-down" reform environment we have in public education today. Catmull provides a valuable list of "Starting Points for Managing a Creative Culture" in back of the book. These "starting points" are referred to repeatedly throughout the book as Catmull and Wallace tell Pixar's story. What are some of these "starting points?"

* "When looking to hire people, give their potential to grow more weight than their current skill level. What they will be capable of tomorrow is more important than what they can do today."
* "If there are people in organization who feel they are not free to suggest ideas, you lose. Do not discount ideas from unexpected sources. Inspiration can, and does, come from anywhere."
* "It isn't enough merely to be open to ideas from others. Engaging the collective brainpower of the people you work with is an active, ongoing process. As a manager, you must coax ideas out of your staff and constantly push them to contribute.:
* "There is nothing quite as effective, when it comes to shutting down alternative viewpoints, as being convinced you are right."

This list of "starting points" by Catmull is extensive. They touch on subjects such as inviting failure and risk in the company or organization. Engaging the whole company is fixing problems is another. From a leadership perspective, this list is truly a great starting point for fostering creativity in your organization.

While this book focuses on creativity in Pixar, a business designed to invent and innovate to stay alive, it is also an excellent book for school leaders and leaders of any organization to read in order to answer the question for themselves:

"How can we create a sustainable creative culture capable of tackling our most serious problems?"

Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration is a book I see myself pondering and thinking about for some time. It is an outline guide for just maybe getting your school or district, or company for that matter, on the road to creativity. As a high school principal of a non-traditional high school, I see much of the wisdom of this book has the potential to transforms schools and school districts into places where creativity rather than conformity thrives.
45 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
What Is The Recipe For Magic? 17 mars 2014
Par L. M. Keefer - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
What is the recipe for magic? Something magical has been occurring for years at Pixar, but what exactly? We read about Pixar in business books, and have seen their continuous stream of 14 #1 blockbuster animated movies. Chief wizard Steve Jobs' affiliation with Pixar added to their allure. In reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, you sense that his association with Pixar influenced Jobs' maturation and reinvention which enabled him to successfully lead Apple again into creating dazzling products.

Like the scene from Disney's animated movie SLEEPING BEAUTY in which the magic spells cast create plumes of blue and pink smoke to poof out of the building's chimney, the spells cast at Pixar beguile to come closer and peek in the windows. Just what is going on there?

The doors of Pixar are thrown open in this book. Welcoming us is self-effacing Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull who provides a captivating guided tour. He tells the tale of Pixar from its inception. Catmull's purpose is not only to tell, but to teach. He said that as he saw many smart, creative companies go off the rails, he wondered what causes a dangerous disconnect at many creative companies? And how do you build a successful company and sustainable creative culture which will outlast its leaders?

He teaches the principles and mechanisms which structure and fertilize Pixar's creativity. It's said we have morphed from the agricultural age through the industrial and information ages to the creative age. Understanding how to thrive in this creative age seems paramount. Living a life is a creative act - the lessons are applicable to personal lives, too. It's a compelling story with characters we already know and love ... Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Nemo, John Lasseter, George Lucas and the iconic Steve Jobs. (Catmull has an insightful perspective on the purpose for Jobs' legendary abrasiveness.)

Catmull writes, "I've spent nearly forty years thinking about how to help smart, ambitious people work effectively with one another. The way I see it, my job as a manager is to create a fertile environment, keep it healthy, and watch for the things that undermine it....The thesis of this book is that there are many blocks to creativity, but there are active steps we can take to protect the creative process." Catmull is obsessed with identifying the impediments and destructive forces which harm creativity. He likes creating "mechanisms" which deal with "uncertainty, instability, lack of candor, and the things we cannot see." He writes that we need to make room for what we do not know, and pay attention to and engage with anything that creates fear. He explains, "...identifying these destructive forces isn't merely a philosophical exercise. It is a crucial, central mission."

Pixar and Catmull were engaged with something that had never been done before: creating computer animated films. You read about the genesis of the idea, and how it was midwifed into existence by Catmull, Jobs and Lasseter. It was a messy birth. The baby was ugly at first, and almost didn't make it. But Catmull learned how to protect and nurture its growth. He read books on management, and was particularly influenced by Edward Deming who taught the Japanese about quality at Toyota. The principles which applied to creating flawless Japanese autos, Catmull applied to creating one-of-a-kind animated films.

A sampling of favorite maxims which propel Pixar - you'll enjoy finding your favorites:

* Foster a creative culture that continually asks questions

* Story is king

* Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea - the right people will eventually come up with a great idea

* A company's communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody

* Treasure the 'organic ferment' that fuels true inspiration

* Hold lightly to goals and firmly to intentions

* The future is not a destination, it is a direction

* When it comes to creativity, the unknown is not our enemy

* Creativity has to start somewhere, and we are true believers in the power of bracing, candid feedback and the iterative process - reworking, reworking, and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its through-line or a hollow character finds its soul

* Think of most activities as teaching

* Rather than fear randomness, ... we can make choices to see it for what it is and to let it work for us

* Since change is inevitable, the question is: Do you act to stop it or do you become the master of change by accepting it and being open to it?

There's so much to love in this book: the story behind the dailies, research trips, short experiments and Pixar University, for example. While the tale of Pixar is inspiring, there's a second act when Disney asks Catmull and his team to lead Disney animation along with Pixar. They loosened a more buttoned-up, hierarchical culture at Disney so it could flow with its own innovative juices. That's a fascinating business case study.

Then there's the poignant afterword on the Steve Jobs they knew, which is a more nuanced look at Jobs by folks who worked with him for 26 years. Catmull and Pixar saw sides of Jobs' complexity and humanity a biographer may not have access to. Jobs' droll side comment to Catmull on the red carpet of the Academy Awards in itself is worth purchasing this book to read. Finally, Catmulll lists "starting points" Pixar lives by.

Whether or not this book is the #1 bestseller of 2014, it deserves to be. Can't imagine a more spellbinding tale - and best of all, this time the magic isn't fantasy, it really happened. The lessons shared in this book should help its readers to live and work more happily ever after.
33 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ed is my hero. 19 avril 2014
Par Craig Good - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is a biased review. Ed is my hero, and has been for a good thirty years. I'm one of the people in that 1985 photo near the end of the book.

This book is just like Ed: Brilliant, quotable, succinct, and humble. There are few people in this world as smart as Ed, fewer who seem to lack any ego, and a vanishingly small number who are both. In fact, Ed"s the only one I've met. Even though I was for years the low man on the totem pole, Ed never treated me differently than the highest status dignitaries who visited Pixar.

For years when I showed guests around Pixar or spoke of its culture I maintained that everything good about it, and the fact that art and technology are words that unite people rather than divide them is all due to Ed. With this book I get a big, fat I Told You So.

I recommend this book to anybody who is starting, running, managing, or working at a company; to anybody working in, studying, or interested in any creative pursuit; to fans of Pixar or Disney; and to anybody who likes a well-written book by a damn interesting guy. And you will not find a more intimate and clear-eyed assessment of Steve Jobs anywhere.

Ed"s wife told me once that he reads math books on vacation to relax. Nobody else could write a book on management that cites both Zen and stochastic self-similarity.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An odd sort of book 29 mai 2014
Par Edward Durney - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
There seem to be more of this kind of book on the market these days. A famous person teams up with a professional writer to write a book, and both people's names appear as author. So it must be a successful formula.

But the formula doesn't work for me. Too often, you get a schizophrenic type of book, with two voices telling the story, one in one way and one in another way. That makes it hard to focus on the story, muting the power of a single voice that you have with a well-written autobiography or a well-written biography. (While I don't like these two-author books much, I do like them better than the purely ghostwritten books like Hillary Clinton's, where the ghostwriter does the work but does not get author's billing.)

For me, that was the problem with this book. Ed Catmull's story comes through occasionally, like the parts about him growing up in Utah and his impressions about Steve Jobs. But then you also get quotes from people that must have come from Amy Wallace's (the second author) interviews with those people. I just can't imagine that Ed Catmull can remember verbatim what people told him over the years. So though the book is written in the first person, a strong flavor of third person permeates many of the book's pages. That's jarring.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the book. I too grew up in Salt Lake City, attended a few classes at the University of Utah (including one from the Ivan Sutherland mentioned in the book), and even ended up working on computer graphics at Evans & Sutherland for a short time many years ago. The only difference (a minor one, of course) between our stories is that one person ended up breathtakingly successful and one person did not.

But apart from those stories, I did not get much out of the book. It was not a good biography (auto or not), since it skipped over so many high points in Ed Catmull's life. His marriage. His several children. His church. (Is he still a Mormon? Hard to tell from the book.) The timeline of his life as outlined in this book has too many jolts and skips to make the book his life story.

At the same time, it's not a good business book because the message is too mixed. You get Ed Catmull's views told from his memory and mind mixed together with Amy Wallace's impressions of Ed Catmull's views, as gleaned from talking with Ed Catmull and others around him. The mixture, unfortunately, does not meld well.

So although I won't be too harsh on the book, I would have liked to see a different book. Either a biography, told forcefully by either Ed Catmull or Amy Wallace. Or a business book, again told forcefully by either of the two. Not a mishmash of a story told by mixed voices. That focused book, in my view, would have been a better book.
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