Thoughts on: ”Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull decided to create the first ever computer animated feature film, it took him 20 years, but with the premiere of “Toy Story” he reached he goal. Now he turned to another challenge; to create a sustainable creative work environment.

————-

This is not a “The 10 Things to Do to Be a Great Manager”-book, instead it tries to describe the enormous complexity and challenges that comes with creative work.

————-

With creative products, we usually only see the slick final product. In this case with Pixar; a heartwarming and excellently crafted animated movie. This book gives a peak behind the curtains and you will see that chaos and uncertainty rules even there. It’s a part of the process and it’s how you navigate these situations will determine your success.

————-

πŸ“ When you become a manager you might not see it, but information that was previously available start to disappear. People think more about what they say when you are around and you might not catch those snarky comments about small problems that you used to.

————-

πŸ“ Cultivate what in Zen is referred to as “Beginners Mind”; An attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would do.

————-

πŸ“ During the crunch to get Toy Story 2 ready: An employee forgot to drop his kid of at daycare and went right to work. During the day he suddenly realized the child was still in the car on the broiling parking lot. The child was unconscious, but was saved.

————-

πŸ“ Inspired by Japanese manufacturing: Everyone was expected to report errors and stop production no matter what position you have.

————-

⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Create mental models that sustains you and keep your doubts at bay. “so much work, so little time to do it” is a constant problem in creative productions. “One director tells himself that he has time even when he don’t. Because he knows that from that space, he is actually in a position to solve the problem at hand.”

————-

This book is essential for people working on larger creative teams in the movies or games.

————-

4/5

Get the Book!

Check out myΒ reading listsΒ for more great books!

 

Best Books of the Year – #4

#4 β€œSteve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

β€”-β€”

The gripping biography of the most prominent innovator of out time.

β€”β€”- WHY THIS BOOK? β€”β€”β€”

Parts goes to Isaacson for being able to write a 600 page book without any real low points, and parts goes to Steve for being such an interesting fella! Anyhow – it’s just an excellent biography!

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€” IMPACT β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”

These is something with the intensity and focus with which Steve engaged with the world that I find truly fascinating. That’s what I’m taking away from this book.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

⁃ Steve Jobs

β€”β€”β€” πŸ€”QUESTIONSπŸ€”β€”β€”-

What’s your favorite biography you read last year??

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Thoughts on: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacsson

stevejobs

Asshole, crybaby or smelly hippie? Steve Jobs can be described in many ways. He certainly was a flawed man, yet brilliant! The products he brought into this world disrupted whole industries, a result of always demanding the impossible.
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
What really stood out for me in this book was how much of a hippie this guy actually was, and how the influence of his LSD experiences and eastern philosophy impacted on the products he created.
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
πŸ“ Steve was adopted, and a sense of abandonment what’s a big theme in his life. One of the most moving parts of the book is when Steve’s biological father casually mentions to his sister that β€œI had a restaurant ones and this Steve Jobs character used to eat there all the time”. Both not knowing they where family.
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
πŸ“ He could bend reality, and make people believe they could achieve the impossible. In essence, this was because Jobs had an unshakable belief that the rules of the game didn’t apply to him.
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
πŸ“ Steve hygiene was a huge problem at Apple. He believed firmly that his diet (containing almost exclusively fruits) made it safe for him to not to use deodorant or shower.
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
πŸ“ When a reporter asked about the 2 year delay of his NeXT computer, Jobs answer was: β€œIt’s not delayed, it’s five years ahead of its time”.
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
πŸ“ β€œHe had a this ability to focus on just 2-3 thing and say no to everything else. This is a rare and valuable trait.”
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
πŸ“ Want to see Jobs bringing his A-game? Watch the unveiling of the original iPhone on YouTube. Look how proud he is!
β€”β€”β€”β€”-
⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Jobs was sold on on the zen buddhist idea of detachment from material things. Still he created tons of them which might sound very paradoxical. But thinking more thoroughly about it it’s actually the other way around. The thing he created have had a tremendously dematerializing effect on society. The iPod (with iTunes) replaced shelves filled with CDs. The iPhone replaced video players, cameras, photo albums, handheld gaming consoles, calculators etc..
β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”
Excellent book! Probably my favorite biography of all time!
β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”
5/5

 

Check out myΒ reading listsΒ for more great books!

I don’t know if this makes (Z)ense?


When I read books on very esoteric/unusual topics it feels like its pretty hard to review them after just one read. These books are usually pretty condensed and each sentence by itself needs some reflection. 

In an attempt to remedy this I’m reading (in this case listening) the book several times before I review it. Now I’m on my third round of “Zen mind, Beginners mind” which filled with complex ideas and zen paradoxes. Let’s see how that works! 

My first finding from doing this is that it feels like peeling an onion. With every rereading I find another layer of understanding. I wonder how many layers there are!