A management book for every creative
Today we talk about a book that came out 2 years ago. But no matter, because Creativity. Inc, needs to come back to your desks and your newsfeed again and again and again. Primarily written by the president of Pixar animation and Disney animation, Ed Catmull, it is labelled as ’Business and Economics’ book on Goodreads (and Google’s archive). And so naturally, I never picked it up until a few weeks ago.
This is the advantage of real bookstores. And of meeting real people, face to face so that you can see how the books they loved have done something to them. But that’s a post for another day
It is true (yet rings short of the actual weight of it) to say that this is probably one of the best books ever written about inspiration, and creative work, especially in context of workplaces and enterprise. If the thought of managing productivity with creativity seems counter intuitive (yet necessary) to you, you’re probably in the current juncture (or funk, whatever you want to call it) to pick up this book.
Creativity, Inc. is by no means a breeze. It is at times dense, but you’d want to stick through these bits especially because it perhaps resonates with that moment in your creative process where you feel like you're reaching that cracking point, but aren’t just quite there yet. This in itself is an odd sort of magic to achieve, when recounting a success story (all the seemingly disjointed dots would’ve drawn themselves into a beautiful constellation already in a retrospective) but that’s exactly what Catmull and Amy Wallace, his co-writer do. And you can’t but admire the genius of that.
Apart from the style of writing, if you’re an Apple person, Steve Jobs’ appearance in a markedly different way— as an important, but side character to someone else’s *collaborative* genius makes for a refreshing read.
It is by now a well-established fact that storytelling is Pixar’s forte. But in taking you behind the tugs, pulls, and pushes that ultimately craft Pixar and Disney’s many polished products, Catmull does what most management books don’t. While the latter regurgitate the usual communication, equality, and openness adages (remember Justin Timberlake dismantling his cabin’s door when he takes over as creative editor at GQ circa Friends and Benefits?) Creativity, Inc. plainly takes you behind the scenes of storytelling processes of iconic films like Toy Story, Wall E, Inside Out.
It is irrelevant whether or not you’ve watched these films, or whether or not you remember the plot itself. Because the experience is that of an understanding of yourself as a creative and an affirmation that most meticulousness that comes with being one, is natural. And most importantly, that there is always space for that (as there ought to be) in the big, bad, breakneck world of the corporates.
And in this 21st century world, there can’t be a better bible for anyone who thinks of themselves as a storyteller.
P.S. You might want to keep a highlighter/pencil handy while reading it.
Text by Vangmayi