Lawrence Levy, the former CFO of Pixar and author of To Pixar and Beyond, played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in making the animation studio into the giant it became before its purchase by Disney. He helmed the tough negotiations with Michael Eisner that made Pixar’s brand equal to Disney’s and walked away from a good deal in order to get a better one. Today, Levy follows a new path: bringing the idea of the Middle Way, a Buddhistic concept of harmony, to eager seekers across disciplines. In our interview with him, he talks about the nuts and bolts of the animation business, what Steve Jobs was really like, and how to find your center in a sometimes soul-crushing world.
Octavian Report: To what do you attribute Pixar’s amazing success — an agglomeration of top talent, company culture, or both?
Lawrence Levy is the former CFO of Pixar and the author of To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History.