The Pixar Touch
Book

The Pixar Touch

The Making of a Company


Rating

8

Qualities

  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging

Recommendation

This copiously researched, vivid account covers the rise of one of the world’s most successful entertainment companies. Experienced journalist David A. Price fills Pixar’s history with implied lessons about patience in management and running a creative company, but he doesn’t seem much interested in writing a how-to business book, so he sticks to the historic narrative and draws few conclusions. Notably, Price, whose education is in computer science and law, writes more energetically about (and finds more drama in) the origins of computer graphics and the occasional lawsuits Pixar endured than in the harrowing high-wire act it goes through to make each movie – a struggle Pixar’s Ed Catmull and others have discussed and written about often. getAbstract reports that the early parts of the story are the most colorful and dramatic, though the book is an entertaining read and a fascinating business case study all the way through.

Summary

Pixar’s Journey

In 2006, the Walt Disney Company bought Pixar Animation Studio for $7.4 billion, an unlikely homecoming for Pixar, once a tiny, money-losing computer hardware company. Now, after a parade of award-winning animated movies, Pixar’s success seems like it ought to have been inevitable, but it was not. Pixar struggled with artistic, technological and business challenges. Its three leaders – owner and CEO Steve Jobs, animation guru John Lasseter and president Edwin Catmull – were considered failures when they joined Pixar, but their previous business experiences opened the door to greater ambitions and more success. They shared dogged perseverance and an innovative vision of a new way of making movies and telling stories.

In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, the University of Utah was the place to be in the new field of computer graphics. Student Ed Catmull grew up dreaming of making animated movies, but he had no talent for drawing. He thought computers might let him fulfill his dreams. The culture of Utah’s computer science department encouraged individual initiative, so he created a short film where he digitized and animated his left hand. It was so groundbreaking...

About the Author

David A. Price has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes and other publications. He holds a computer science degree and graduated from Harvard Law School and Cambridge University. He also wrote Love and Hate in Jamestown.


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