Book Review: 'Creativity, Inc.' by Ed Catmull

Need some advice on how to run your company? Punch "management and leadership" into Amazon's book search and more than 70,000 results pop up. This vast smorgasbord includes many duds but also a few titles worth keeping on hand.

Creativity, Inc is one of the half-dozen best books that have been written about creative management and creative leadership ever. It tells the story of Pixar and its merge with Disney Studios through the experiences of Ed Catmull, Pixar’s co-founder and current president. Catmull shares his journey toward becoming a successful manager, illustrating through examples the creative power of change and how a company culture can only be truly creative when focus is placed on the people who make it great – together.

Creativity, Inc is about:

  • uncovering the hidden obstacles and unspoken tensions that cause meetings, projects, and even whole companies to grind to a halt.
  • finding ways to relieve those tensions and removing those obstacles.
  • taking new perspectives in solving difficult problems and collaborating to build something remarkable of the highest quality.
  • experimenting with new ideas and learning to look objectively.
  • fostering organic human interaction, communication without barriers, and the unification of a group to produce tremendous products through intrinsic motivational factors.

Above all, Creativity, Inc. provides a blueprint for creating an employee centered, idea generating, problem solving, and fearless workplace. And how you can develop the skills to influence one.

Reading Creativity, Inc., one can easily appreciate Catmull’s gifts as a leader whose style – deft, open, humble, caring, trusting, purposeful – has built, shaped and sustained an exceptional creative culture. At the same time, his account of Pixar’s ongoing success demonstrates the importance of having brought creative analysis and implementation to the dynamic complexity, of shifting markets and changing technologies, facing all organizations today. That combination of effectively bringing creativity to his leadership challenges and leadership to his firm’s creative work is rare. So is Catmull and Wallace’s exceptional book.