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While Steve Jobs is famous for helping to turn Pixar into a legendary award winning animation studio, the experience of running Pixar also helped to change Jobs himself for the better, the studio's president reveals in a new book excerpt.
Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull talks about the relationship between Jobs and the studio in his upcoming book "Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration." An excerpt from the title was published on Friday by Gizmodo, and it reveals a side of Jobs that most people never saw.
Catmull worked with Jobs for more than 25 years, and believes that his time at Pixar helped to fundamentally change him as a person. Specifically, Catmull said the experience made him "more sensitive not only to other people's feelings but also to their value as contributors to the creative process."
The Pixar president revealed that Jobs was especially proud of the studio because its movies, which "dig for deeper truths," will live forever. Jobs was said to admit that even well-designed Apple products "eventually all ended up in landfills," but a well-made movie could live on.
"While he never lost his intensity, we watched him develop the ability to listen," Catmull said. "More and more, he could express empathy and caring and patience. He became truly wise. The change in him was real, and it was deep."
Catmull also revealed that Jobs would give advice at Pixar in a humble fashion, noting up front that he was "not really a filmmaker" and that people could choose to "ignore everything" that he said. When Jobs's take was sought, he would focus on the problems rather than the filmmakers.
"You couldn't dismiss Steve," he said. "Every film he commented on benefited from his insight."
Those skills developed over the years, Catmull said, as the Apple co-founder learned to "read the room" and have the greatest impact on people. That's not to say that Jobs "mellowed" in his old age — Catmull argues that the transformation of Jobs was an "active one."
"He continued to engage; he just changed the way he went about it," he said.
Catmull is the co-founder of Pixar, along with Jobs and John Lasseter. His new book "Creativity, Inc." will be released next Tuesday, and it is available now for preorder.