Tiffany and I decided to start a virtual book club (The VBC) because, well, we keep saying we are going to read books, and then we don’t seem to have the time. So, we are hoping you all can help keep us honest on our goal to read and review the books on our list. Our first book – Creativity, Inc. – is thanks to my mom. She has always given me book recommendations, though not many recommendations come with multiple emails, and calls to “please read”. It is first on our list because reading business/personal development type books are ones we want to read, though often aren’t top of the list when we do have the time. As we start the new year we thought it was a perfect time to read a book that may help us think through some things and start off the year strong. So, here’s what we thought!
Overall Pop Rating (1 to 5 stars, more stars the better we thought it popped!)
B: 4.5. The author, Ed Catmull, does a great job of weaving the history of Pixar with messages about people management that is easy to digest. I didn’t feel there was just one message that was constantly being discussed, nor was I bored with the examples that were given. I was encouraged, inspired and excited to keep reading about the inside of such a creative organization – it was like getting the inside scoop, and now I feel I have this great little insider’s secret, although it isn’t really a secret at all since it is in the book…
T: 4. I was surprised by how much depth this book had. I was mainly curious about Pixar itself in starting this book, but I was really impressed with Ed Catmull’s management of the company and his introspective thinking about himself and the company. There were so many different takeaways about his own development, sneak peaks into what was happening with Steve Jobs’ involvement, and how to manage a team and continue a culture as a company or team grows.
Why were you drawn to read this book?
B: My mom’s recommendation always matters, so in addition to that, I was intrigued to learn about the makings of Pixar, as well as hear about Steve Job’s role with Pixar from Ed Catmull himself. Also, I have had some challenges managing my team, so I was open to learning about management, especially if the management style has a creative spin.
T: Becca repeatedly telling me how great it was and that I had to read it! I was also drawn to it because of Pixar. I love their movies and so it seemed like it would be cool to hear about how they do what they do and make it so successful.
What is one thing that you will take away from this book?
B: The importance of having the right people on your team. The right people doesn’t necessarily mean the best or the brightest, though often that may be the case. The right people has to do with filling your team, and ensure that each person complements the other, and works together to achieve the team objective. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so how those things balance out and ensuring they do, is the job of a good manager.
T: Failure is important. Ed says “Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.” He repeatedly says that in order to grow and be creative, you have to fail. If you aren’t failing, then you’re doing the same old thing and not being innovative. Given how little tolerance I have for failure in myself, this actually made me set an intention for this year to fail at things because it means I am trying new things that I may not be good at the first time around (or second, or third…).
Who would you recommend this book to?
B: Anyone interested in learning about how to manage with a creative angle, as well as anyone interested in learning about Pixar and how they do what they do.
T: Someone who is interested in how teams can work together and how they can be creative and innovative in any industry. I wouldn’t have previously said I work in a “creative field,” but after reading this book, I would revise that. I have to think of new ways to solve problems as many people do in their jobs and that in and of itself is having to be creative. A bonus is an interest in Pixar and Steve Jobs.
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