Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc. was released yesterday.
This is a highlight of the year - and I’ve been feverishly reading since its release. Setting out to give some insight into how Pixar ... is Pixar, Catmull pitches the company’s history next to his own.
Creativity Inc. is less a creative guide and more a handbook to working with creatives. Catmull focussed on technology, not animation in college, and the book highlights that. For creative brawn it is littered with advice and insight from the talented voices he works with - Jobs, Lasseter and Stanton are all regularly quoted.
The view Catmull gives is broad, and focusses on the fear that comes with creative work.
Originality is fragile. There is no Occam’s razor, nor do great works somehow pre-exist, waiting to be discovered. Instead, we must cultivate relationships with people smarter than ourselves, insist they provide constant, candid feedback, and uncouple fear and failure, for failure is an investment in the future.
Catmull, like Pixar, is uncompromising and hammers home their ethos of Story is King. Creativity Inc. underscores the drive that leads Pixar - 'it will do' does not cut it - and reaching for perfection is possible.
Especially with this as a guide.