Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and a recipient of 5 Academy Awards.
a) We all begin by sucking at something
One thing that I learnt from this section is that art is volatile. According to Ed, the first draft of a Pixar movie is often dramatically different from the final version of the movie. I read in another source that in the first version of Frozen, Elsa was even a villain.
We have to be prepared to suck when we engage in innovation. I am pretty sure most of you would have fairly crappy portfolios to start with. For me, I started by paying 2.7%+ management fees in my first global equity unit trust.
b) If you have problems reading something, try listening to it.
This is an excellent tip which is so obvious, I am ashamed that I did not even think about it.
I do struggle with a lot of my readings because some can be dryer than legal cases. The book considers Iliad as an example, but I am sure that I will benefit from listening instead of reading Kafka or Chaucer.
I do want to process Walden by Henry David Thoreau, but reading a page always puts me to sleep. I should listen to an audio instead.
c) To become an artist, learn to see
This section held more promise than what the author intended.
As Ed did not see art classes as being enough to reach the level of a Disney Animator, he studied physics which made his friends incredulous. This lesson goes beyond the assertion that art is about learning to see.
The lesson for me is that attaining mastery of a field may not come from an obvious source. The best traders for a hedge fund are better off recruited from engineering and science colleges rather than business school.
In the 1990s, when Computer Science was still a Science degree, it did not have its current elitist air.
The folks who wanted to program in Assembly and C were better off doing engineering as it had rigorous coding classes. While the best programmers probably still came from CS, companies still liked hiring engineers to take up hardcore programming and systems admin roles. Even better than engineers are mathematics majors who can break a complicated equation down into computer code and write specialized programs for manipulation of graphics.