Lawrence Levy is the author of To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History. Formerly a Silicon Valley lawyer and executive, he was hired by Steve Jobs in 1994 as CFO and member of the Office of the President of Pixar. He was responsible for guiding Pixar’s transformation from a money-losing graphics company into a multibillion-dollar entertainment studio.

He later joined Pixar’s board of directors. He then left corporate life to study Eastern philosophy and meditation and their relevance to modern life. He now writes and teaches on this topic and cofounded Juniper Foundation to pursue this work.

I wanted to learn from Lawrence – how he thinks about taking on challenges — how he organizes his thoughts around risk taking — and how he was able to have extreme success on multiple counts (school, business, family, and the journey within, as well).

“Mastery is the fulfillment of our potential as a human being; it is when we have that feeling that we are in our element and unimpeded.”

In This Episode:

  • Feeling trapped in a corporate law job after college
  • Why choosing to represent a software company changed his life
  • Moving to Silicon Valley to represent underdog tech companies in the early 90s
  • What causes fear
  • Why business is like a game
  • The value of keeping perspective on what really matters
  • How he defines success
  • Appreciating moments that matter regardless of the environment
  • The moment he decided to take a job at Pixar working with Steve Jobs
  • How to properly get in touch with yourself through listening
  • The concept of “Circling the Base” vs. “The Climb” in relation to risk taking
  • His meditation practice

 

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Quotables:

“Innovation by definition means going some place where no one has gone before.”

“I’d describe myself as action-oriented. If I’ve got a problem I will turn over 100 stones in order to find the solution. If I can’t do that I’ll turn over 100 more.”

“Pressure comes from wanting to do great work.”

“It all comes down to getting the clutter out of the way so that our latent nature can thrive.”

“Success is… a story that can get in our way if we’re not careful and so it’s hard to pin it down. It’s what makes us feel that we’re alive, that we’re in our element whatever that may be.”

 

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Books:

 

Formerly a Silicon Valley lawyer and executive, Lawrence was hired by Steve Jobs in 1994 as CFO and member of the Office of the President of Pixar. He was responsible for guiding Pixar's transformation from a money-losing graphics company into a multibillion-dollar entertainment studio.