To Pixar and Beyond
This isn't a typical business book, it's much more personal than that as Lawrence Levy dives into his time at Pixar and his relationship with Steve Jobs.
I watched just about every Pixar movie growing up, so as an adult it was fascinating to read about what went into each of those films, and I learned a lot about Steve Jobs' role in many of my favorite childhood movies.
Even for non-Pixar fans, it's a great read about business and finding a balance between a drive for profit while preserving the artistic process.
I read this book first, and then later read The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger, part of which tells the story of Disney's acquisition of Pixar. The two books were perfect to read in succession because of their similarities while at the same time telling opposite sides of the same story.
The problem with success, even a little success, is that it changes you. You are no longer walking along the same precipice that drove you to do great work in the first place. Now you have something to defend: a reputation, money in the bank, a brand, real customer expectations. Success can take the edge away.
He looked at business the way a grand master might look at a chessboard: "There's nothing you can do about where the pieces are, it's only your next move that matters."