PIXAR'S PROGRESS ... In his new book, "To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History," Palo Alto resident Lawrence Levy shares the never-before-told story of Pixar's improbable success from a tiny animation studio to an Academy Award-winning, multi-billion dollar empire while serving as chief financial officer and executive vice-president under Steve Jobs. According to Levy's firsthand account, one day out of the blue, Jobs (whom he had never met or spoken to previously) called Levy to persuade him to help get a little-known graphics art company that he owned -- called Pixar -- off the ground. "Hi, Lawrence? This is Steve Jobs. I saw your picture in a magazine a few years ago and thought we'd work together someday," Levy recounts in his book. Working closely with Jobs and the entire Pixar team, Levy -- a Harvard-trained Silicon Valley attorney -- helped produce a highly improbable road map that transformed the sleepy graphic art studio into one of Hollywood's greatest success stories and one of the most prolific and profitable entertainment studios in modern history. Set in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, the book takes readers inside Pixar, Disney, law firms and investment banks and provides an intimate account of Pixar's transformation. It also shows the formation of Levy's lifelong friendship and collaboration with Jobs. After giving a talk about his experiences at Harvard, Lisa Brennan-Jobs (Steve Jobs' daughter) encouraged Levy to write this book. On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Levy will talk about Pixar and his book with Fortune technology and entertainment writer Michal Lev-Ram, at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 1 at Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Tickets are available at Keplers.com. Cost is $10 for general seating; $40 for premier seating, which includes a hardback copy and priority in signing line.
'STORY' SERIES KICKS OFF ... Kepler's Books is launching a new quarterly reading series, "Story Is the Thing," designed to bring together emerging and established writers who share a passion for storytelling. Each series event will include readings from a panel of seven writers as well as conversation, wine and music. The series will kick off on Thursday, Nov. 17, with a collection of stories based on the theme "Who Else Lives Here." Featured local authors include: Melissa Cistaro ("Pieces of My Mother"); Elizabeth Percer ("All Stories Are Love Stories"); Edward Porter, a Jones Lecturer in creative writing at Stanford University; Tony Press ("Crossing the Lines"); Peg Alford Pursell ("Show her a Flower, a Bird, a Shadow"); Shruti Swamy (work included in "The O.Henry Prize Stories 2016"); and Olga Zilberbourg, a bilingual writer who co-hosts the weekly San Francisco Writers Workshop at Dog Eared Books in the Mission.