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To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  3,230 ratings  ·  380 reviews
“Lovely and surprising . . . This delightful book is about finance, creative genius, workplace harmony, and luck.”—Fortune

”Enchanting,”—New York Times

“I love this book! I think it is brilliant.”—Ed Catmull, cofounder and president of Pixar Animation, president of Disney Animation, and coauthor of the bestseller Creativity Inc.

The revelatory saga of Pixar’s rocky start
Kindle Edition, 248 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Mariner Books
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Brandon Forsyth
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really read business books, but I loved this. Levy's story is a really well-told personal narrative about bridging the gap between art and commerce, and anyone who's seen a Pixar movie in the last twenty years will find something of value here. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some borderline-miraculous movies to go re-watch.
Scott Rhee
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t typically read business books, but Lawrence Levy’s book, “To Pixar and Beyond” isn’t a typical business book. There’s a warm, lovable fuzziness to it that is, in my mind, antithetical to the typical business ethos. It's a jarring cognitive dissonance, for me, at least.

It may help to explain my hatred of the business world.

I believe that the MBAification of the world started about fifty years ago when colleges and universities across the country started downplaying humanities and started
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my eyes, Pixar brought joy to the world through their ability to connect with the audience. Moves such as “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life” were pillars of my childhood, pulling me into a new world where anything is possible.

Lawrence Levy takes the same magic of Pixar and shows you the behind-the-scenes of its success. His thrilling story captures Pixar’s lifecycle as it goes from a company on the brink of failure to arguably the best animation company in the world. He writes of his experiences
Benjamin Bookman
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I am not typically interested in business or finance at all, but the writing was high quality and the mix of story levels was just enough. Not too much business stuff to bog down but enough that I could understand and follow along. It was also a really nice mix of personal and big picture, so that I felt like I was getting to know the people involved without being invasive or snooping. My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is the last few ...more
Steve Peifer
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of business books and I often walk away from the book feeling like the business leader was kind of stupid. You won't feel like that with this book. He is the smartest person in the room, but has a gift for explaining complex issues with clarity and understanding that many issues are complicated and not easily wrapped in tidy bows. He is a good writer, it's a great story and the only reason it doesn't get five stars is the end of the book, where it gets too new age for me. Don't let ...more
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
4 stars for the first three parts; 2 stars for the last part.
Christine D
Levy has a very unique experience with Pixar so of course I wanted to read this. But this is an extremely individualized account and mainly speaks of the finances and the business aspects of Pixar. I am more interested in the creative/movie creation aspect so this bored me a little.
If you want to read an all encompassing book about EVERYTHING Pixar, I recommend The Pixar Touch:the making of a company.
I appreciate this man's experience but the book bored me.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*3.5 stars*

If Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc was the heart story of Pixar, this is the head story. A fast-paced, nuts-and-bolts business story about how CFO Lawrence Levy signed on to a company struggling to find its way to infinity and beyond.

Oh, and there's some rather reasonable Steve Jobs in here.
This is the story of how the little company that made the world fall in love with toys, bugs, fish, monsters, cars, superheroes, chefs, robots, ad emotions emerged from the forces at work beneath it. It is about the choices and the absurd bets and risks that made it possible. It is about the tension between creative integrity and real-world necessities, and how that tension shaped those involved with it -- Steve Jobs; Pixar's creative, technical, and production teams; and me (Lawrence Levy). It ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pixar's story has captivated me ever since I saw Toy Story in the theater. Over the years I've learned a lot about Pixar's creative culture, but until now I never knew the gigantic role a man named Lawrence Levy played in its strategic success. This book is a fascinating (and, like Pixar's movies, heartwarming) look into how Steve Jobs recruited Lawrence to become Pixar's CFO at a time when Toy Story was still in production. Together (along with a cast of entertainment lawyers, investment ...more
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This books reads like a detective story, as Lawrence Levy races against time to discover what ails Pixar and how to make a viable company out of it. Now I admit, I am totally biased, because I worked with Lawrence on the book, but biased or not, I'm not lying--this is a thoughtful, informative, rewarding book. But don't take my word for it; read what the New York Times had to say: ``Mr. Levy’s ability to remain calm and clear-eyed in the face of singular personalities and business challenges ...more
Executive Summary: An interesting story, but probably not the one I'd have preferred about Pixar. I also could have done without the last few chapters. 3.5 Stars.

Audiobook: This isn't the first book I've listened to that's been narrated by Bronson Pinchot, but I still always think of him as the wacky guy from Perfect Strangers. He really is an excellent narrator however. He reads with a good voice and doesn't get in the way of the book, which is what I always want most when listening to
Everyone loves to watch the underdog achieve greatness. Pixar is a prime example. Toy Story was pivotal in my childhood. History changed because Pixar refused to believe the existence of a limit. I was on the edge of my seat as Lawrence Levy described the opening weekend of Toy Story. I had to see it for myself. Was there a moment of hesitation? Did Disney finally face the music?

Levy took a detour from the monotonous statics. I appreciate the humanistic perspective of Pixar. This company is
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From my review:

"To Pixar and Beyond," a parody of the famous line "To infinity and beyond" from Pixar's "Toy Story," is an engrossing look into the years in which Pixar grew from a struggling TV commercial and technology company (specifically the Academy Award-winning Renderman software) to a computer animation company worth over $1.5 billion (now worth many times that!). Lawrence Levy's book focuses on his years as CFO of Pixar and his and Steve Jobs' (as well as a slew of other
It has been awhile since I powered through a book in less than one week, but this one was hard to put down. Being a big fan of Pixar movies I was really interested in reading how the business side of Pixar came together. Less so on the creative since, which was covered off nicely by Ed Catmull's recent book. I really enjoyed reading about Levy's relationship with Steve Jobs. It's well documented that Jobs was a visionary and very difficult to work with. The way that Pixar became successful was ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-book-list
I'm a big Pixar fan but I had never heard of Mr. Levy. His first-hand account of his days at Pixar was fascinating. Great read.

* "Early in my career I had learned the wisdom of not griping over the hand I was dealt. There's nothing you can do about where the pieces are. It's only your next move that matters."
* One of our problems today is that we are not well acquainted with the literature of the spirit.
* Creative excellence is a dance on the precipice of failure, a battle against the allure
kartik narayanan
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the full review at my site

Great graphics will keep us entertained for a couple of minutes; it is story that holds us in our seats

What is the book about?

To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey With Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History is written by Lawrence Levy. He is a lawyer turned executive who was Pixar’s CFO and guided its strategy to transform it into a multi-billion dollar entertainment studio. He was also a close associate of Steve Jobs.

This is the
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! Lawrence Levy was hired by Steve Jobs as CFO of Pixar when it was a bustling house with plenty of creative talent and not much of an idea how to make a viable business out of it. The story is how that collection of creative geniuses was allowed to thrive and deliver some of the most iconic animation movies all the while Pixar evolved from a company in a deadlock to an unlikely IPO, to being acquired by Disney for 7bn.

I loved the storytelling. It's a business case study / thriller /
Molek Kasa
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
An entertaining read which came at the right time in my life. An insightful look at Pixar's growth as a startup and the importance of that balance between creativity and structure. I also like that we could see Steve Jobs as a person and true to my thoughts, that most successful people has that strong maybe unbearable persona which is the key drive in making them the successful person that they are.

A recommended read, especially to 1) creatives 2) people who are working in/starting startups
Akanksha Goel
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the book. Could not have imagined that a business book could glue me to read for hours. I think what worked here is that the author, Lawrence Levy was the CFO of Pixar and it is his account in his own words that made the difference. He could add those feelings of anxiety, thrill, hope, delight, stress to the entire story, which gave the book the pace that it has.
Loved the concept of "Middle Way" that is there towards the end of the book. All in all, a very good read to understand
Ted Alling
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like Lawrence and enjoyed going on his journey with Pixar and his relationship with Steve Jobs. The early story of the first time, he saw a few clips of Toy Story gave me chills.
Mico Go
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gold
I nonchalantly picked this up yesterday morning, because I was looking for a way to pass time; it was Saturday, and, admittedly, I had no plans. Reading the title, I identified with two phrases: Pixar, and Steve Jobs, so I decided to give it a go.

Throughout the novel, I was in utter awe of how low and insignificant Pixar once was, especially given how exceptional and eye-catching their work is today; their reputation precedes them, with most, if not all of their films becoming family
Sep 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was my (unintentional) first foray into the world of business books. It may also be my last. It is also my first foray into writing more extended thoughts on a book I have read. Please be tolerant of any stylistic/structural issues, I haven't written anything in a while.

When writing this book, Lawrence Levy made two controversial decisions about its scope – in my view they were both bad.

First, he writes primarily about the 'business' side of Pixar's operations, with discussion of
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History is a story about Pixar that feels like it was directed by Pixar itself, full of fine tuned "character development", imagination, and most importantly, humanity. This particular book takes a more corporate angle (in contrast to the Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration book by Ed Catmull, which focused more on leadership and management), exploring the ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed learning about the story behind Pixar, this is a light engaging book, recommend to anyone who wants to know more about Steve Jobs and the making of Pixar. I especially liked the sections on how the author hesitated at first to join Pixar an then went on to discover what a great company Pixar is, the preparation that took place for the IPO and the renegotiation of the contract with Disney.

It took years for Pixar to become on overnight success with Toy Story, initially the
Jay Goldman
It's hard to get an original look behind the scenes of Pixar, one of the most famous companies to emerge from Silicon Valley (or, at least, from near the Valley). The story of Toy Story is well known, as is the rise from hardware and software vendor to Luxor lamp animator to Disney acquisition. We've all seen their movie — many times over — and are well acquainted with Jobs' triumphant sale to Disney that turned him into their largest shareholder overnight.

Levy had his work cut out for him in
Daniel Gusev
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pixar required much more than a good story to survive

A great book telling you so sometimes need boring people as they help you get the lifeline of a funding or translate your pixie dust to a molecular structure to be well received by the investors.

Where past books about Pixar storytelling or creativity tell us about the captivating process of what Pixar gives to the world, this completes the job of what the would gave back - in terms of hard-won results. Focus and ingenuity were what helped he
Mary Bird
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book really interesting, and for what it's meant to be - a first hand account of the development of Pixar through a business perspective - it does a really great job. It's not a perfect memoir; I have no doubt some of the dialogue is probably a little fluffed, and I didn't really need the Buddhism lecture at the end (not to mention his penchant for liking everyone "immediately"), but learning about the nuts and bolts holding together a creative giant like Pixar was fascinating. Also ...more
Matt Cannon
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe I have read most of the Pixar books that have been written, so I was delighted when I stumbled across this book at my local library.

The story is touching, full of behind the scenes business insight and really puts the improbable rise of Pixar in perspective. I especially enjoyed reading all the details on how the IPO came to fruition and all the ups and downs of that process.

This is a gem that should be read by anyone who wants to learn more about Pixar, Steve Jobs, IPO's, and
Emily Fung
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Levy narrates Pixar's perilous journey from an unknown company flailing to keep up to an entertainment industry innovator. When I started reading this book, I didn't really know it was a business book, and I felt that it wasn't too hard to read even though I knew nothing about that. With all that, and despite the fact that I knew that they would be successful, I kept wanting to know how on earth they did it and kept on reading.
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LAWRENCE LEVY is a former Silicon Valley lawyer and executive hired by Steve Jobs in 1994 as CFO and member of the Office of the President of Pixar Animation Studios. He was responsible for Pixar's business strategy and IPO and guided Pixar's transformation from a money-losing graphics company into a multibillion-dollar entertainment studio. He later joined Pixar's board of directors. He then left ...more
“There’s nothing you can do about where the pieces are,” he’d say. “It’s only your next move that matters.” 3 likes
“The problem with success, even a little success, is that it changes you. You are no longer walking along the same precipice that drove you to do great work in the first place. Now you have something to defend: a reputation, money in the bank, a brand, real customer expectations. Success can take the edge away.” 3 likes
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