Creativity INC. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace


Ed Catmull, Co-Founder of Pixar Animations (along with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) tells about creating winning teams and taking your team to the next level.  Ed takes us behind the scenes of Pixar and shares the inner workings of how they created movies (such as Toy Story 2) by trusting in their teams, striving towards excellence every time but also bringing their teams to a point of trust and support that is unheard of in most companies. 

Pixar has been the name to strive for in animated movies due to this attitude by their lead team of being real with the employees, not separating yourself as a leader as “better” or “above” others and making themselves accessible for ideas lie “braintrust” the team that takes each movie as it begins and breaks it down to what they like and what they do not and repeats this process over and over with the creative team. 

From the wins, to the expensive fails, Et Catmull gives advice from his own experiences and shares ideas to build work teams that become as one, and treats them with the respect that creates long-term relationships.



I read this (listened to it actually) because I love to work on winning teams.  That may sound like a weird thing to say, but it is true.  If you have worked with a group of people for a job or career, you know what I mean.  There are great teams to work with that feel safe to bounce ideas off each other without being shut down and then there are not so great teams that you feel “thumbed over” watched every move – and creativity….

fails.  There is no room for it.

There is a section towards the end where Ed talks about his working relationship for Steve Jobs.  I loved this as Steve Jobs, while clearly having his faults was a brilliant mind.  Ed said Steve would walk into a meeting, listen, and say something like, “I am not a movie maker, but what if….” and whatever he said would be brilliant advice and then he would walk out and let the team work their magic. 

I really enjoyed this listen and this is one I will look for in book format as well.  What Ed describes here with his working relationship with the teams as well as the co-founders of Pixar is the way to find the right people for the job and how to treat them.


I believe the best managers acknowledge and make room for what they do not know—not just because humility is a virtue but because until one adopts that mindset, the most striking breakthroughs cannot occur. I believe that managers must loosen the controls, not tighten them. They must accept risk; they must trust the people they work with and strive to clear the path for them; and always, they must pay attention to and engage with anything that creates fear. Moreover, successful leaders embrace the reality that their models may be wrong or incomplete. Only when we admit what we don’t know can we ever hope to learn it.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

“If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.”
Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.


“If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.”  ― Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.



Honestly, I strive for this kind of work environment.  I am a creative person and when I am placed with great teams that share ideas and lift each other up instead of pulling them down- I thrive.  In a way I think I feed off their energy and excitement; it is like fuel to my soul.  I find that when I looking for creative outlets I am drawn to the ones that allow me the most freedom to be who I am and create in ways that will inspire others to join in.  I want the teams I work with to do an amazing job and have fun along the way by doing it. 

Creative minds, people in management or Leadership positions that want to build winning teams, this is a great read for you.

15 thoughts on “Creativity INC. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

    1. I was initially interested in hearing about the success of Pixar but there was more tot this one than that Candace, there is some clear direction for building winning teams which I really liked

  1. I have worked for a guy that had such amazing talent to inspire and create – it was awesome. Unfortunately, I only worked for him on a very short short (6 weeks?) project and never saw him again. I did track him down on LinkedIn, though. Love the quotes!

  2. Though I know I won’t read this book, Sheila (no time for so many books), I LOVE the subject matter, and if you enjoy reading about creativity, in general, if you’re not aware of Patrick Ross’s blog, you may enjoy it. He also has a memoir coming out in October ( about his travels specifically to meet “creatives.” LOVE his blog! Here’s another (of many) I found interesting:

    AND, once I get them in place, one of my blogs will be focused on ALL kinds of creativity 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! I want to let you know that your comment went into spam because of all the links attached. 🙂 When a comment has multiple links moderator thinks it is advertising and spams it. 🙂 Wanted you to know in case it happens on other blogs too.

      1. Thanks for letting me know that, Sheila! Though, knowing me, I’ll forget! I actually think on my future blogs I don’t allow links. Have to check!

  3. After reading this review on the book Shiela I went out and purchased it today from work 🙂 I probably won’t get to it for a while yet, but I’m looking forward to reading it all the same 🙂

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