One Little Spark! Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering

September 8, 2017


We’ve all read about the experts: the artists, the scientists, the engineers—that special group of people known as Imagineers for The Walt Disney Company. But who are they? How did they join the team? What is it like to spend a day in their shoes? Disney Legend Marty Sklar wants to give back to fans and answer these burning questions. When Marty was president of Walt Disney Imagineering, he created a list of principles and ideals for the team, aptly named Mickey’s Ten Commandments. Using this code of standards as his organizational flow, Marty provides readers with insights and advice from himself and dozens of hands-on Imagineers from around the globe. It’s a true insider’s look like no other!

Why I’m Recommending It:

One Little Spark is really two books about Walt Disney Imagineering, the division of The Walt Disney Company that is responsible for creating the immersive experiences within the their theme parks.  The first half of the book discusses “Mickey’s Ten Commandments,” the ten rules created by the book’s author Marty Sklar, former Chief Creative Officer for Imagineering.  These rules, which you can see below, should guide every Imagineering project and are discussed in detail along with examples of how Imagineering successfully and unsuccessfully applied them.

Mickey’s Ten Commandments

  1. Know your audience.
  2. Wear your Guest’s shoes.
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas.
  4. Create a wienie (visual magnet).
  5. Communicate with visual literacy.
  6. Avoid overload – create turn-ons
  7. Tell one story at a time.
  8. Avoid contradictions – maintain identity.
  9. For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of treat.
  10. Keep it up! (maintain it).

The second half of the book is advice from current and former Imagineers on skills the people should develop if they are interested in potentially getting a job at Imagineering.  While I think the advice they give is helpful for any job seeker, I found the first half of the book much more engaging and practical even outside of the Imagineering organization.

My Take-aways:

I love the idea behind Mickey’s Ten Commandments (I even plan on repurposing some of them for use on my own projects).  They act as a great reminder that we are all communicators and need to think about our work with the end in mind.  I recommend the book to anyone who has to be persuasive in their job.

Read an Excerpt and Learn More: