Disney’s discovery: How to avoid a midlife slump

Castles from Disney and OlivierYou might think Walt Disney wasn’t much like painter Andy Warhol, computer whiz Bill Gates, or poet T.S. Eliot, but you’d be wrong.

Each had a similar approach to innovation, a mindset that other people can see in their own careers, or in people around them.

Each also made an early breakthrough in his chosen field, yet the relevance of their style of innovation isn’t limited to being young geniuses. That’s especially true of Disney, who extended his achievements into middle age and beyond, stages of life when young geniuses typically falter.

Some of Disney’s approach to innovation is evident in the new book “Once Upon a Time Walt Disney,” published in conjunction with an exhibit of Disney art that opened last year in Paris and is currently on display in Montreal.


(Image from the book: King Stefan’s castle from “Sleeping Beauty” of 1959 next to a castle scene from Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film “Henry V,” inset, which in turn was inspired by medieval paintings. Courtesy Prestel Publications)


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