A brief review of Creativity Inc.
Reminder: This is a short series of book reviews. The four books in this review series are all about creativity, love, art and leadership (at least that’s what they inspire in me). Separately – each one is a super read. Together – they make up the motherlode. If you are looking for insight and inspiration, I strongly recommend you acquire, and read all four. I’m reviewing the four books in the order they came to me.
First up was 101 Things to Learn in Art School by Kit White – a gift to me from the lovely Carole.
Next came The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun – a recommendation to me from the lovely Heather.
The third book is Steal Like An Artist – by Austin Kleon.
The fourth and final book in this wonderful quartet is Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace. This book was a gift to me from Neil Morrison.
Creativity Inc. is a really well written story about how Pixar came into being, and at first survived, then thrived. The book is shot through with references to many of the famous films that Pixar has produced, which lends the story an engaging familiarity, and it’s the observations about how to get good work done that really resonate most for me.
There are some excellent ‘Proceed Until Apprehended’ type approaches to problem solving.
‘If we allow more people to solve problems without permission and if we tolerate (and don’t vilify) their mistakes, then we enable a much larger set of problems to be addressed.’
I also really enjoyed reading about people, particularly senior management, getting familiar with the notion that many opportunities and problems are beyond their sight. Getting over yourself and getting comfortable with cooperating and collaborating are essential requirements for a thriving business.
‘I’m an advocate for humility in leaders. But to be truly humble, those leaders must first understand how many of the factors that shape their lives and their businesses are – and will always be – out of sight.’
There’s a fantastic, brief section at the end of the book with loads of snippets and hints, reminders about what good work looks and feels like. When I first spotted this – I read it and wondered if doing so might somehow negate the need to go through the whole book. In fact – reading the snippets first just served to make me more interested in the whole story.
Indiviadually, each of these four books will enhance your approach to cocreating great work. Together – I think they really are an excellent mix of creativity and leadership. Essential reading.