Marty Sklar started his career with Disney in 1955, one month prior to the opening of Disneyland. He remai...moreA great Disney book by a true Disney Legend!
Marty Sklar started his career with Disney in 1955, one month prior to the opening of Disneyland. He remained with the company until retiring in 2009, and is the only Disney employee to have participated in the design and opening of all 11 currently operating Disney theme parks (Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Disneyland Paris, and Walt Disney Studios Park). Though he started in marketing, he quickly found a home at WED Enterprises / Walt Disney Imagineering where he eventually ended up leading the organization for more than 30 years until his transition to "Ambassador for Walt Disney Imagineering" leading up to his retirement in 2009.
This book is a "memoir" of the author's 50+ years working for Walt Disney Productions/The Walt Disney Company, and includes chapters about the development of all of the theme parks, as well as a chapter about the author's time at UCLA and his association with Coach John Wooden. It also includes "Mickey's Ten Commandments", a list of ten key principles for theme park design that have become legendary in their own right. The book also includes 3 additional lists of "Mickey's Ten (more) Commandments", focusing on leadership and followship. Because of the close working relationship the author had with Walt Disney, this book provides an intimate look at the impact of Walt's death on the company.
The role that Marty Sklar has played in the success of the Walt Disney Company and Disney Theme Parks can't be understated. In his early days at WED, Marty wrote many of Walt Disney's speeches, presentations, and film scripts, including the script for the Epcot film (which was the last film Walt recorded before his death in December 1966). It was Marty Sklar who coined the famous definition of imagineering: "the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how." Later he was pivotal in the design and creation of Epcot and every other Disney theme park since.
As a fan of Disney theme parks in general and Imagineering in specific, buying and reading this book was a no-brainer for me. Despite that, I was initially somewhat skeptical about this book, thinking that it wouldn't provide the level of detail and insight that I like most in books about Disney parks and Imagineering. I was worried it would be a white-washed memoir that would retell the stories found in the other books in my Disney/Imagineering library. I needn't have worried at all.
After reading the introduction, I was hooked. While many memoirs like this tend to gloss over details and omit "unpleasant" or controversial stories, this isn't the case with this book at all. This book is a welcomed addition to my library, and one that I expect I will read and re-read again and again.
If I have one minor quibble with the book it's the lack of an index, which would be helpful in finding stories about the many people that the author worked with during his time at Disney.
I strongly recommend this book to any fan of Disney theme parks. You won't be disappointed!(less)
This book pulls the curtain back on the making of the Broadway musical "Wicked", and is based largely...moreA lavish look behind the scenes of a great show!
This book pulls the curtain back on the making of the Broadway musical "Wicked", and is based largely on interviews with the show's creators, including Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics) and Winnie Holzman (book), as well producers, director, costume designer, set designer, make up designer, and several of the actors from the original Broadway run, including Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) and Idina Menzel (Elphaba).
The book contains chapters on the origins of the show, as well as the process by which the music, costumes, make up, and set design were developed for the show. This includes the story of how Stephen Schwartz convinced Gregory Macuire (the author of the book upon which the show is based) and Universal Pictures (who had licensed the book for film) to produce a musical version of the story, and how he enlisted later Winnie Holzman and the other creatives involved in developing the show.
The book also includes a section that tells the story of the show, including all the lyrics from all of the show's songs.
As a fan of musicals in general and a student of the creative process, this book was a a very welcome addition to my library.
I recommend this book to anyone who is fan of the show or musicals in general, but it's also a great examination of the creative process involved in taking a property from one medium and adapting it to another medium.(less)
An insightful book that challenges much of our "common sense" about creativity.
At the title suggests, this book explores several "myths" about creativ...moreAn insightful book that challenges much of our "common sense" about creativity.
At the title suggests, this book explores several "myths" about creativity, most of which will be quite familiar to many readers. Together these form a "mythology of creativity", a set of beliefs we carry around about how creativity works. For each of the ten "myths" explored in this book, the author introduces the "myth" (what it is and the thinking behind it), and then proceeds to cite both social science research and business case studies which dispel the "myth" and illustrate how the creative process really works. The "myths" explored in this book include:
* The Eureka Myth (ideas come to us as flashes of insight) * The Breed Myth (creative ability is a trait inherent in one’s personality or genes) * The Originality Myth (creative ideas are totally original to their creators) * The Expert Myth (harder problems call for more knowledgeable experts) * The Incentive Myth (incentives can increase the motivation of people) * The Lone Creator Myth (breakthroughs and creative insights are attributed to a sole person) * The Brainstorming Myth (brainstorming alone will yield creative ideas) * The Cohesive Myth (everyone must get along and work happily together) * The Constraints Myth (constraints hinder our creativity) * The Mousetrap Myth (the world will recognize merit of an idea and help bring it to life)
As someone very interested in creativity and understanding the creative process, this book was on my "can't wait to read it" list for quite a while, and it met and exceeded all my expectations.
As I mentioned earlier, I think the "myths" in this book will be largely familiar to many readers. The author's choice of the word "myth" is quite appropriate, as the concepts explored in this book have deep, deep roots in our thinking about creativity, and as such, many readers are quite likely to recognize most of if not all of them as ideas they either believe to be true, or at least acknowledge as "common sense".
At the same time, I also think that the truth around these "myths" will also ring familiar to many, as many of the ideas and stories the authors shares to debunk the "myths" are fairly well-known (the origins of the Post-It Note, for example).
Does that mean that I think the book has nothing new to offer its readers? Not at all!
One of the things that this book does really well is to shine a light on these "myths", exposing the truth about some of our longest-held beliefs about creativity. This (hopefully) forces the reader to rethink their own beliefs about creativity and the creative process. I think this is especially important, because the "myths" exposed in this book represent unquestioned and often unspoken assumptions about how the creative process works. The real insidiousness of these "myths" is that because they are so often assumed to be true, they quietly and subtly inform our creative process without us even noticing. When the need for a creative solution arises, the beliefs that underlie the "myths" discussed in this book often take over our thinking and lead us to approaches that ultimately limit and hinder our creativity.
If I have one minor quibble about this book, it's that it doesn't contain a summary chapter, and as a result, it ends somewhat abruptly. I would have also liked to see some practical advice around how to address the predominance of these "myths". For example, a "Myths of Creativity" checklist with questions focused on how to identify practices based on each "myth" would add more value to an already great book.
Just to be clear, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in creativity or in how we can be more creative in the workplace, our schools, and in our lives.
[Disclaimer: I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book for being part of the book's "Launch Team".](less)
I liked this better than the first book in the duology, but since I didn't really care for the first, that's not saying much.
I would have liked to see...moreI liked this better than the first book in the duology, but since I didn't really care for the first, that's not saying much.
I would have liked to see a bit more in terms of motivation behind the villain's plans, since "evil for evil's sake" runs a little shallow.
I will admit that these are the only 2 Shannara books I have read, so I might be missing something, but if the other Shannara books are like these, I don't really understand the widespread appeal. Maybe at some point I need to read some of the earlier books in the series.
A somewhat disappointing historical look at Epcot.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It's a rare event when I don't enjoy a book about Disney...moreA somewhat disappointing historical look at Epcot.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It's a rare event when I don't enjoy a book about Disney parks, but this one just wasn't for me.
Many of the pictures in the book are great, and they do a good job at capturing some of Epcot's history, but the accompanying text is often disappointing and sparse.
The book is very uneven in its treatment of the different Epcot attractions it covers. Some get multiple pages, while others only a single page. Because most pages contain more pictures than text, this means that some attractions get as little as a single paragraph.
I read the black and white version of this, and that may have made a difference, but most of my issues with the book are more about content than they are about presentation.
I can't really recommend this book to anyone except devoted fans of Epcot in specific, and Disney parks in general.(less)