Going into this book, I’ll say that it is not what I expected, it was so, so much more. I anticipated reading about a biography of Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios which had humble beginnings and went on a roller coaster ride.
30 pages in, I realized there was so much more to this. While it talks about how everything that happened at Pixar, from beginning to end and how they created their videos to being sold to Disney for billions of dollars, this book is actually a leadership book. And to be clear, it’s not one of those “you need to do it the business way if you want to succeed” how-to books, but a fresh perspective that had me writing down quote after quote and idea after idea of how I can lead well but also look at business better.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.
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.
Making the process better, easier, and cheaper is an important aspiration, something we continually work on—but it is not the goal. Making something great is the goal.
I honestly could do so many more. He talks about hiring people smarter than you, that you need to always look fear in the face and go for the change, to go for trust, even when it is hard. He challenges beliefs, looks at people as who they really are and not what everyone says they are, and holds his ground in things he believes, but with humility and a hint of needing to always keep refining.
I find myself wanting to emulate his vision for things, the ability to push forward. But… that’s kind of the point of the book, right? Like Walt Disney, Ed’s life long hero, famously stated: “Keep moving forward.”
I give the book 4.5 out of 5. Totally worth it.