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creativity

6 books

#1  New York Times Bestseller

Named One  Of The Best Books Of The Year By The Huffington Post, Financial Times, Success, Inc, & Liberty Journal

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration 

Authors:Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace

368 pages

published: 2014

Amazon Bestseller Ranking:

#3 in Entertainment Industry

#5 in Movie Director Biographies

#9 in Business And Organisational Learning

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          Creativity, Inc. is a manual for anyone who strives for originality and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about creativity—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”
For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, WALL-E, and Inside Out, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner thirty Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired—and so profitable.
As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the first computer-animated 

movie. He nurtured that dream as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged a partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his co-founding Pixar in 1986. Nine years later, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie’s success—and in the thirteen movies that followed—was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on leadership and management philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, such as:• Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.• If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.• It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.• The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.• A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure.                           Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.    amazon.com

“Just might be the best business book ever written.”—Forbes
“Achieving enormous success while holding fast to the highest artistic standards is a nice trick—and Pixar, with its creative leadership and persistent commitment to innovation, has pulled it off. This book should be required reading for any manager.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
“Steve Jobs—not a man inclined to hyperbole when asked about the qualities of others—once described Ed Catmull as ‘very wise,’ ‘very self-aware,’ ‘really thoughtful,’ ‘really, really smart,’ and possessing ‘quiet strength,’ all in a single interview. Any reader of Creativity, Inc., Catmull’s new book on the art of running creative companies, will have to agree. Catmull, president of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, has written what just might be the most thoughtful management book ever.”—Fast Company
“It’s one thing to be creative; it’s entirely another—and much more rare—to build a great and creative culture. Over more than thirty years, Ed Catmull has developed methods to root out and destroy the barriers to creativity, to marry creativity to the pursuit of excellence, and, most impressive, to sustain a culture of disciplined creativity during setbacks and success. Pixar’s unrivaled record, and the joy its films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: It works.”—Jim Collins, co-author of Built to Last and author of Good to Great
“Too often, we seek to keep the status quo working. This is a book about breaking it.”—Seth Godin
“What is the secret to making more of the good stuff? Every so often Hollywood embraces a book that it senses might provide the answer. . . . Catmull’s book is quickly becoming the latest bible for the show business crowd.”—The New York Times
“The most practical and deep book ever written by a practitioner on the topic of innovation.”—Prof. Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business School
“Business gurus love to tell stories about Pixar, but this is our first chance to hear the real story from someone who lived it and led it. Everyone interested in managing innovation—or just good managing—needs to read this book.”—Chip Heath, co-author of Switch and Decisive
“A fascinating story about how some very smart people built something that profoundly changed the animation business and, along the way, popular culture . . . [Creativity, Inc.] is a well-told tale, full of detail about an interesting, intricate business. For fans of Pixar films, it’s a must-read. For fans of management books, it belongs on the ‘value added’ shelf.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Pixar uses technology only as a means to an end; its films are rooted in human concerns, not computer wizardry. The same can be said of Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull’s endearingly thoughtful explanation of how the studio he co-founded generated hits such as the Toy Story trilogy, Up and Wall-E. . . . [Catmull] uses Pixar’s triumphs and near-disasters to outline a system for managing people in creative businesses—one in which candid criticism is delivered sensitively, while individuality and autonomy are not strangled by a robotic corporate culture.”—Financial Times
“A wonderful new book . . . Unlike most books written by founders, this isn’t some myth-heavy legacy project—it’s far closer to a blueprint. Catmull takes us inside the Pixar ecosystem and shows how they build and refine excellence, in revelatory detail. . . . If you do creative work, you should read it, now.”—Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
“A superb debut intended for managers in all fields of endeavor . . . He takes readers inside candid discussions and retreats at which participants, assuming the early versions of movies are bad, explore ways to improve them. Unusually rich in ideas, insights and experiences, the book celebrates the benefits of an open, nurturing work environment. An immensely readable and rewarding book that will challenge and inspire readers to make their workplaces hotbeds of creativity.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Punctuated with surprising tales of how the company’s films were developed and the company’s financial struggles, Catmull shares insights about harnessing talent, creating teams, protecting the creative process, candid communications, organizational structures, alignment, and the importance of storytelling. . . . [Creativity, Inc.] will delight and inspire creative individuals and their managers, as well as anyone who wants to work ‘in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving.’”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“For anyone managing anything, and particularly those trying to manage creative teams, Catmull is like a kind, smart godfather guiding us toward managing wisely, without losing our souls, and in a way that works toward greatness. Perhaps it’s all Up from there.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Many have attempted to formulate and categorize inspiration and creativity. What Ed Catmull shares instead is his astute experience that creativity isn’t strictly a well of ideas, but an alchemy of people. In Creativity, Inc. Ed reveals, with commonsense specificity and honesty, examples of how not to get in your own way and how to realize a creative coalescence of art, business, and innovation.”—George Lucas
“This is the best book ever written on what it takes to build a creative organization. It is the best because Catmull’s wisdom, modesty, and self-awareness fill every page. He shows how Pixar’s greatness results from connecting the specific little things they do (mostly things that anyone can do in any organization) to the big goal that drives everyone in the company: making films that make them feel proud of one another.”—Robert I. Sutton, Stanford professor and author of The No A**hole Rule and co-author of Scaling Up Excellence

#1 New York Times Bestseller

The Infinite Game

Amazon Bestseller Ranking:

#5 in Business Decision Making

#7 in Motivational Business Management

#8 in Business Motivation & Self-Improvement

#45 in Management Science

Author: Simon Sinek

272 pages

published: 2019

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How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified. Infinite games, games with no finish line, like business or politics, or life itself, have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable while infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers—only ahead and behind. 
The question is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in?
In this revelatory new book, Simon Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. On one hand, none of us can resist the fleeting thrills of a promotion earned or a tournament won, yet these rewards fade quickly. In pursuit of a Just Cause, we will commit to a vision of a future world so appealing that we will build it week after week, month after month, year after year. Although we do not know the exact form this world will take, working toward it gives our work and our life meaning.
Leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!

Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2019

The concept of finite vs infinite games was introduced by religious scholar James P. Carse. In reality we are all familiar with the concept. We have all heard before that life is a marathon, not a sprint. We are all well aware that those who achieve extraordinary things typically follow non conventional paths modeled after a Hero's Journey.
Starting from this premise, Simon Sinek's main contribution is to setup a framework to help you keep playing (remember you cannot win an infinite game) at the infinite game of life, supported with very illuminating examples from both past and present companies and entrepreneurs.
The book is likely to resonate more with people like me who always understood life intuitively this way, but struggled to articulate this understanding in clear and concise terms. Those addicted to winning and scoring -people like Steve Ballmer- probably won't find the book as appealing.

Ethan on amazon.com

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The A.V. Club

Sick In The Head: Conversations About Life & Comedy

Author: Judd Apatow

576 pages

published: 2016

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Renowned comedian, writer, and producer, Judd Apatow has documented his conversations with some of the best comedians in the business. Over his 30-year career, Apatow interviewed his idols and contemporaries in comedy, delving into their stories, both professional and personal.The comedians in this collection talk about their paths to stardom, the creative process, and the motivation behind their hard work and success. It is intriguing from start to finish, with both wisdom and humor on every page. Whether you’re a fan of stand-up comedy or not, the conversations in this book will inspire you.  hacktheentrepreneur.com

"I can't stop reading it. I don't want this book to end."-Jimmy Fallon

"Fascinating and revelatory."--Chicago Tribune

"Fascinating . . . a collection of interviews with many of the great figures of comedy in the latter half of the twentieth century."--The Washington Post

An essential for any comedy geek.--EntertainmentWeekly

"Open this book anywhere, and you're bound to find some interesting nugget from someone who has had you in stitches many, many times."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times

An amazing read, full of insights and connections both creative and interpersonal."--The New Yorker

From the writer and director of Knocked Up and the producer of Freaks and Geeks comes a collection of intimate, hilarious conversations with the biggest names in comedy from the past thirty years--including Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman, Harold Ramis, Seth Rogen, Chris Rock, and Lena Dunham. Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. At fifteen, he took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club--just so he could watch endless stand-up for free. At sixteen, he was hosting a show for his local high school radio station in Syosset, Long Island--a show that consisted of Q&As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. They talked about their careers, the science of a good joke, and their dreams of future glory (turns out, Shandling was interested in having his own TV show one day and Steve Allen had already invented everything). Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd--and he's still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do.Sick in the Head gathers Apatow's most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career but his entire adult life. Here are the comedy legends who inspired and shaped him, from Mel Brooks to Steve Martin. Here are the contemporaries he grew up with in Hollywood, from Spike Jonze to Sarah Silverman. And here, finally, are the brightest stars in comedy today, many of whom Apatow has been fortunate to work with, from Seth Rogen to Amy Schumer. And along the way, something kind of magical happens: What started as a lifetime's worth of conversations about comedy becomes something else entirely. It becomes an exploration of creativity, ambition, neediness, generosity, spirituality, and the joy that comes from making people laugh. Loaded with the kind of back-of-the-club stories that comics tell one another when no one else is watching, this fascinating, personal (and borderline-obsessive) book is Judd Apatow's gift to comedy nerds everywhere.

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

304 pages

published: 2016

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Amazon Bestseller Ranking:

#4 in Popular Psychology Creativity & Genius

#27 in Creativity (Books)

#30 in Motivational Management & Leadership

Elizabeth Gilbert challenges readers to think of themselves as people who were born to create. She believes a fearless life is a creative one, whether you are writing, creating art, or designing life on your own terms. Big Magic breaks down the creative process and teaches you to let go of the baggage holding you back from creating. The book is inspiring and promises to jumpstart your life making it more productive.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from 

her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace ourcuriosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with 

challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.Published on amazon.com

Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys To Creativity

Author: Hugh MacLeod

176 pages

published: 2009

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          This book is a call for ingenuity and originality. Hugh MacLeod offers the lessons he learned over his career as a writer and cartoonist and breaking through as a result of not following the crowd.MacLeod’s keys to creativity include wisdom on everything from marketing, finding inspiration, and cultivating work ethic as a creative person. He argues that pursuing your ideas, however weird or unpopular, is a far better recipe for success and happiness than conforming.

          When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter, living in a YMCA, he started to doodle on the backs of business cards while sitting at a bar. Those cartoons eventually led to a popular blog - gapingvoid.com - and a reputation for pithy insight and humor, in both words and pictures. Published on amazon.com

          MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life, but one of his main subjects is creativity. How do new ideas emerge in a cynical, risk-averse world? Where does inspiration come from? What does it take to make a living as a creative person? 

Now his first book, Ignore Everyone, expands on his sharpest insights, wittiest cartoons, and most useful advice. A sample: *Selling out is harder than it looks. Diluting your product to make it more commercial will just make people like it less. *Ifyour plan depends on you suddenly being discovered by some big shot, your plan will probably fail. Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain. *Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether. There's no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one. *The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours. The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will. After learning MacLeod's 40 keys to creativity, you will be ready to unlock your own brilliance and unleash it on the world.

The War Of Art: Breakthrough The Blocks

And Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Author: Steven Pressfield

190 pages

pulished: 2012

Amazon Bestseller Ranking

#3  Popular Psychology Creativity & Genius

#21 in Creativity (Books)

#57 in Success Self-Help

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         Going through a creative block is the toughest thing for any creative person, in art, writing, or business. In this book, Steven Pressfield names it resistance — an enemy you cannot ignore.

The book looks at resistance, and the many ways this force keeps you from your most important work. Once you are aware of it, you will start to recognize procrastination, self-doubt, and fear of failure as resistance, and stop allowing them to derail your projects.Pressfield gives you the key to creating anything in this funny, yet deadly serious book. He argues that discipline and work ethic are the most critical contributors to creative success. This book will compel you to stop waiting for inspiration and just get to work.

TLDR: This book is a written equivalent of Shia LeBeouf's "Just Do It" motivational speech - something that tries to be inspiring, but is cut with an undercurrent of crazy and unsupportable conjecture. It will resonate with some people and turn others off. Read on for a more detailed explanation.
The books is, roughly, divided into three sections: Resistance, Combating Resistance, and Beyond Resistance.

The books is, roughly, divided into three sections: Resistance, Combating Resistance, and Beyond Resistance. first section was actually really good. It mostly got into what Resistance is - the counterforce to achievement - and the various  ways it manifests itself. While not based on any sort of evidence or research, this section lays out an allegorical enemy worthy of an epic struggle.The second section is mostly about how a professional behaves and how this behaviuor can overcome Resistance. The summary of this section is: show up, do the work, don't get distracted. This was the most prescriptive section of the book, but I'd say it leaned more towards inspiration than prescription. If someone complains that this book is "just common sense", it is probably this section they are referring to.Emboldened by a couple solid sections, the author goes completely off the rails in the third. The book becomes very religious, espouses lousy pop psychology, and makes outlandish claims. If I were to sum this section up, I'd say the author puts forth the idea that the artist is a conduit for some sort of divine inspiration or work, made manifest through the benevolent intervention of angels. That might be slightly harsh summary, but not too far off the mark. He literally says "We were put here on earth to act as agents of the Infinite" and "The artist is the servant of that intention, those angels, that Muse." Okay, perhaps he's just being allegorical. Nope. When talking about the fruits of our labor, he says "That is to do the work and give it to Him. Do it as an offering to God."Putting the religious aspects of section 3 aside, the rest of it is the worst kind of shoot-from-the-hip psychology. He does a deep dive into the Ego - ignoring the conventional definition and redefines it for his own purposes. He tries to draw a distinction between a hierarchical and territorial mode of thinking - unsuccessfully. He makes outlandish claims, like ignoring the authentic self may be the cause of cancer and embracing the self might be its cure. He, literally, says that becoming your authentic self could cure cancer. He goes on to explain how the colloquialisms for inebriation - stoned, smashed, hammered - are all referring to the destruction of the Ego in order to access the Self. There's no etymological basis for his statement. There isn't even any anecdotal evidence to support this. When speaking about the relationship between a mother and her child, he says "She knows it came out of her but not from her, through her but not of her." It's an interesting thought, but biologically incorrect. Lastly, he makes claims that are openly contrary. He says "Union and mutual assistance are the imperatives of life", but a few pages later says it would be incorrect to call friends for reassurance if you were feeling anxious. To me, this section felt like a mess and it ruined the book for me.In summary, this book does not have any sort of authoritative voice on procrastination, productivity, or personal achievement. It is a snapshot of a specific artist's mental model of the creative struggle. If you are looking for some sort of cogent or practical insights, then you will be disappointed. If you would describe yourself as spiritual and, probably, believe that crystals have curative properties (no judgement), then this book will probably speak to you.A Reader on amazon.com