Abhi Yerra's Reviews > Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
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really liked it

Ed Catmull describes how he and his team keep Pixar creative. It is in Pixar style very story based so it does at times drag on instead of getting to the point. It is dialogue heavy so it does take 2x the time it would talk to read a regular book on this topic but I think that's the point.

He covers the braintrust, the ability for all employees to feel like peers, the ability to speak candidly about things, allowing employees to express their individuality, learning and reorienting. All in all a book on how to lead creativity though situations of uncertainty. However, very much focused on Pixar's situation as an entertainment company such as having to replace directors midway through a movie, what happens when the movie needs to be completely overhauled, etc.

Though it could have been shorter I liked the near Socratic dialogue on how they came up with changes for Pixar.
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Quotes Abhi Liked

Ed Catmull
“The film itself—not the filmmaker—is under the microscope. This principle eludes most people, but it is critical: You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Ed Catmull
“Getting middle managers to tolerate (and not feel threatened by) problems and surprises is one of our most important jobs; they already feel the weight of believing that if they screw up, there will be hell to pay. How do we get people to reframe the way they think about the process and the risks?”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Ed Catmull
“In any creative endeavor, there is a long list of features and effects that you want to include to nudge it toward greatness—a very long list. At some point, though, you realize it is impossible to do everything on the list. So you set a deadline, which then forces a priority-based reordering of the list, followed by the difficult discussion of what, on this list, is absolutely necessary—or if the project is even feasible at all. You don’t want to have this discussion too soon, because at the outset, you don’t know what you are doing. If you wait too long, however, you run out of time or resources. Complicating”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Ed Catmull
“Consolidate What’s Been Learned While it is true that you learn the most in the midst of a project, the lessons are not generally coherent. Any individual can have a great insight but may not have the time to pass it on. A process might be flawed, but you don’t have time to fix it under the current schedule. Sitting down afterward is a way of consolidating all that you’ve learned—before you forget it. Postmortems are a rare opportunity to do analysis that simply wasn’t possible in the heat of the project. Teach Others Who Weren’t There Even if everyone involved in a production understands what it taught them, the postmortem is a great way of passing on the positive and negative lessons to other people who were not on the project. So much of what we do is not obvious—the result of hard-won experience. Then again, some of what we do doesn’t really make sense. The postmortem provides a forum for others to learn or challenge the logic behind certain decisions. Don”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Ed Catmull
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is a maxim that is taught and believed by many in both the business and education sectors. But in fact, the phrase is ridiculous—something said by people who are unaware of how much is hidden. A large portion of what we manage can’t be measured, and not realizing this has unintended consequences.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration


Reading Progress

November 4, 2015 – Shelved
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
March 3, 2016 – Finished Reading

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