Book Lists

3 Book Recommendations From Pixar President Ed Catmull

In a recent podcast Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Work Week) asked Pixar President Ed Catmull, “If you could give a piece of advice to your 20-year-old self, what would it be?” Catmull explained that he wouldn’t give any advice. “Why would I want to give myself advice that would have helped me avoid a mistake that is part of who I am today?” It’s an interesting insight because it’s mostly true. We should never sidestep messy problems. We must try to solve them on our own.

It’s a great interview because Catmull also mentions two books by someone I’d never heard of: Joseph Campbell. Campbell, I discovered, was a prolific writer who focused on comparative mythology. His book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Time Magazines named one of the 100 of the most influence books written in English since 1923) introduced the concept of the hero’s journey. “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” Sounds like a Pixar movie, right?

Ferriss has a fantastic list of books recommended by a number of prominent executives, writers, and entrepreneurs he has interviewed in his podcast. I encourage readers to take a look.

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The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work

1The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work by Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

2The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

One Monster After Another

3One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer



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