Creativity, Inc.


I listen to audiobooks on my commute to and from work every day. It’s how I keep reading when life is busy and crazy and I don’t have the time or the energy to stop and open a book.

Which, unfortunately, is all the time right now.

So, my commute is my saving grace. An hour and a half every day, five days a week, will plow you through a lot of audiobooks.

This week I’ve been listening to Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. It’s the origin story, you might say, of Pixar animation studios, written by one of the original creators.

It’s absolutely fascinating.

Pixar is and always has been one of my absolute favorite movie studios. Up, The Incredibles, Toy Story, and Finding Nemo are all established classics in my mind, and ones that I will watch again and again over the years.

The writer of Creativity, Inc. is an amazing blend of scientist and storyteller, and hearing him talk about the years they spent developing the animation necessary for these kinds of movies, the ups and downs they’ve had, and the disasters they’ve faced and walked through, was incredible. Creativity is one of those things that is very, very hard to push into a box and establish in a nine-to-five, and most big businesses manage it by grinding their workers to dust and replacing them every few months.

Pixar, thankfully, has set a different standard, and their model revolutionized the storytelling industry.

As a person who also tells stories for a living, it has been an incredibly eye-opening book to read. (Or listen to.) The more I learn about the story industry—whether that be books, movies, TV, or radio—the more I want to learn and the more determined I am to continue working in my field. No, it’s not perfect, and yes, it has its issues, but there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Stories are a magic and a science all of their own, and I am slowly, with many fumbles, starting to understand and appreciate them for more than just the face value and box office reviews.

Creativity, Inc. gives a captivating inside glimpse into the life and business of some of the best storytellers on the market. Writers, I would highly, highly recommend it to you, whatever sort of writing you do. The very driven, pressurized atmosphere that he describes in his books may not appeal to you, but the principles that they’ve built their company on continue to be some of the best in the industry.

No wonder Up has the single best love story in animation in its first eight minutes.

(Okay, that last part is only my opinion.)

But still!

Have you ever read Creativity, Inc. or a similar book that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about it!

8 thoughts on “Creativity, Inc.

  1. Thank you for the recommendation. I’ll definitely be looking into “Creativity, Inc.”

    One of the recent books I read is called “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. I won’t call it a favorite (I really can’t think of one), but the principles in it are very helpful regarding the mindset we take in our approach to life.

    I also really enjoy Simon Sinek’s books, and his contagious, level-headed optimism. I’m a HUGE fan of practical advice. If we’re climbing a mountain, it’s all well and good to have someone there to say, “you can do it,” but I’d much rather have someone climbing beside me saying, “Okay, let me show you how to navigate trails like this. Let me tell you what it takes to get to the top. Let me waddle with you, or show you how I waddled to the top before.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, we need mentors, and how. There are far too many saying “You can do it!” without offering any clear, practical advice as to how. Simon Sinek is one of my favorite mentor leaders, especially since he’s an optimist whose last name sounds like “cynic;” that tickles me a bit.

        Also, “Up” has one of the greatest, pure love stories–not just “hey I like your face” stories–I have ever seen. They did in eight minutes what some couldn’t do in three books, six movies, and a TV show.

        Liked by 1 person

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