I think this book would probably pair quite well with Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, although I haven’t read that one. If it’s about the movies they were making at the same time that this book takes place, that’d be brilliant. If it’s also about management, that wouldn’t be horrible – at the very least it would be told from a different point of view – from that of an insider. This book is about how Steve Jobs tapped Lawrence Levy to be the CFO of Pixar in its darkest hour. Levy then leads the company through a series of situations that without a combination of his skill and some luck would have left us in a poorer cultural state.
I came to this book already knowing the general outline of Pixar’s history because I’m an animation geek. But I had no idea of the many leadership obstacles it took to get there. In this book I learned of the original deal Pixar and Disney had and how it would have killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. It was also interesting to see how Steve Jobs was moderated by Levy, but also provided a backbone for Levy in negotiations.
It’s a bit light on the struggles of creating movies from a story standpoint, but it’s very strong on details of how they created a company that is equal parts technology company and movie studio.
The ending reveals that the entire thing has to do with Buddhism, but I won’t spoil how it all goes together.