Creativity, Inc. Book Summary - Creativity, Inc. Book explained in key points
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Creativity, Inc. summary

Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace

Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

4.3 (230 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

'Creativity, Inc.' by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace reveals the creative strategies used by Pixar Animation Studios to become a leading force in the animation industry. The book shares valuable insights on how to build and sustain a creative culture in any organization.

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    Creativity, Inc.
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Hierarchical structures prevent honest employee feedback, especially if directed at superiors.

    Would you ever ring up your boss with your ideas about how you think the business could be improved? Probably not. Most likely, you – like most people – would feel too scared or unimportant to talk to the head honcho. 

    Yet, this paralyzing fear can have consequences for the business: if the right people aren’t aware of problems that need fixing, they remain unfixed. So how can you get around this?

    You can start by creating feedback systems that allow information to be shared freely and openly between hierarchies. Animation company Pixar, for example, held a “Notes Day” in 2013, when the company halted all operations and the entire staff spent the day working with each other in teams and giving their feedback about the company.

    Notes Day was invaluable for the company, as staff members felt free to engage in an open dialogue about the issues they faced, meaning that problems were shared and solved.

    But you don’t just want any feedback. In order to get the best feedback from staff, leaders should ensure that their employees take ownership of their work.

    For example, Japanese companies in the 1940s were able to improve their productivity with a simple idea: rather than giving only senior managers the power to stop the factory assembly line, all workers could halt production by simply pulling a cord if they saw there was a problem. Workers thus felt pride when they fixed problems on their own rather than waiting on management’s solution. This also boosted efficiency as it led to fast problem solving.

    Finally, workers should feel that their opinions and suggestions are actually valued. Unfortunately, they’re often afraid to voice their opinions because they believe management will simply ignore them, or worse, treat them with disdain.

    That’s why Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, visits all his employees individually in order to hear and gain insight about their opinions and problems, thus ensuring that they feel confident to speak to him with their opinions.

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    What is Creativity, Inc. about?

    Creativity, Inc. explores the peaks and troughs in the history of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios along with Ed Catmull’s personal journey towards becoming the successful manager he is today. In doing so, he explains the management beliefs he has acquired along the way, and offers actionable advice on how to turn your team members into creative superstars.

    Creativity, Inc. Review

    Creativity, Inc. (2014) by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace provides a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of Pixar Animation Studios and offers valuable insights into fostering creativity and innovation. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers unprecedented access to the creative process behind beloved animated films, revealing the challenges and triumphs of building a creative culture.
    • Combining personal anecdotes with practical advice, the book explores the importance of honesty, trust, and collaboration in nurturing creativity within a company.
    • With its emphasis on embracing and learning from failure, the book provides valuable lessons for individuals and organizations looking to unleash their creative potential.

    Best quote from Creativity, Inc.

    Doing all these things wont necessarily make the job of managing a creative culture easier. But ease isnt the goal; excellence is.

    —Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace
    example alt text

    Who should read Creativity, Inc.?

    • Anyone interested in successful managerial habits and leadership styles
    • Anyone managing a staff whose work requires creativity
    • Anyone truly committed to building a sustainable creative culture

    About the Author

    Ed Catmull is the current president of both Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, and was co-founder of Pixar in 1986. In addition to being a successful manager, he has also contributed many important tools in computer graphics and animation.

    Amy Wallace is an editor-at-large at Los Angeles magazine as well as a correspondent for GQ.

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    Creativity, Inc. FAQs 

    What is the main message of Creativity, Inc.?

    Foster creativity and innovation in the workplace to achieve long-term success.

    How long does it take to read Creativity, Inc.?

    The reading time for Creativity, Inc. varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Creativity, Inc. a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Creativity, Inc. is a must-read for anyone interested in fostering creativity and innovation. It offers valuable insights and practical strategies for cultivating a creative work environment.

    Who is the author of Creativity, Inc.?

    The authors of Creativity, Inc. are Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace.

    What to read after Creativity, Inc.?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Creativity, Inc., here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Discipline Is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
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