10 Books To Read That Will Give Your Creativity A Boost

Flickr / Mehran Heidarzadeh
Flickr / Mehran Heidarzadeh

There is no prescribed formula that will make anyone more creative. But there are tools. Successful people who attribute their best practices, styles and abilities to make creative juices flow can summarize how this has happened for them, or at least how some forces have led to better creative energy being at the forefront of their endeavors.

Reading and learning about how people who are deemed “creative” go to be this way is one way to improve in this aspect. No one operate in a vacuum and generating thoughts and ideas about being creative, seeing things in different lights, being inspired by all that is around you and then acting upon these notions, is information worth sharing. We all “steal” from each other when we seek something new, or are inspired by an idea or concept that triggers another in our mind. How do we act on these impulses to expand our views and perspective? Again, no formula… just a flow of ideas… that will lead to ideas… that will lead to ideas….

Check out what some of these authors have said, and your own imagination will flow… in no particular order. And just in case you want to know more about on how to boost your creative writing or need bigger list of books.

1. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

“The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little.”

Psychologist Kahneman helps readers see how we think and where we can, and cannot, trust our inner voice and instincts. He describes how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. His insights are both enlightening and practical.

2. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

“If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.”

Artist and Author Kleon’s message is so simple and clear – just be yourself, you don’t need to be a genius. Creativity is for everyone, and it is everywhere. This book is somewhat of a guide for the digital age. It addresses how to get the message out, through his graphics, illustrations, exercises and examples aid reader to access their artistic and creative energies.

3. Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon Mackenzie

“You have a masterpiece inside you, you know. One unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be. If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.”

The “hairball” in MacKenzie’s title refers to the bureaucracy that can deter from creativity in larger organizations. He was the creative talent for years at Hallmark and dealt with this “hairball” successfully, finding ways to keep creativity fresh and to deal with the pressure of the workplace. He makes available tips and thoughts dealing with organizations and creativity and the flow between the two.

4. The Art of War by Steven Pressfield

“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”

Pressfield crafts narrative. In his work he describes the challenges with creating that every artist faces. He provides means to overcome the force or “resistance” as he refers to it. Winning the battle and overcoming deterrents to the creative process is the key to Pressman’s writing. He spent years himself perfecting his craft before lending his expertise to others as an author.

5. The Everyday Work of Art by Eric Booth

“Maturity allows us to hold conflicting values and ideas and at the same time, combine them in productive, innovative ways.”

Booth takes the position that art is not just a cultural expression for specialists, but part of everyone’s everyday experiences. Using many fields: business, education, spiritual communities and the arts are all part of his discussion. Our everyday life and everyday routines have aspects of art to consider.

6. Damn Good Advice by George Lois

“Trends can tyrannize; trends are traps. In any creative industry, the fact that others are moving in a certain direction is always proof positive, at least to me, that a new direction is the only direction.”

Lois’ work is full of fresh insights into how to be successful with inspirational snippets and pointers in text, illustrations and images. His range is from getting your point across quickly and effectively to creating a dynamic portfolio. He even uses a process where you identify with your heroes!

7. The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler

“the perceiving of a situation or idea . . . in two self-consistent but habitually incompatible frames of reference.”

Koestler work, first published in 1965 is timeless. His position is that all creative activities have in common a basic pattern, and is consistent across many disciplines. Knowing this pattern will help you generate better idea.

8. Think!: Before It’s Too Late by Edward de Bono

“There’s nothing wrong with that one wheel – conventional thinking – but we could all get a lot further if we used all four.”

9. The Creative Habit – How to Learn it and Use it for Life by Twyla Tharp

“I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read.”
In this inventive and encouraging work, American Dancer and choreographer Tharp discusses the rituals she undertakes to harness her creativity. She talks about organizing your materials, referencing memories, and using self-knowledge as techniques to make optimism rule. Just take a deep breath, and begin!

10. The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

“Leap and the net will appear.”Millions of readers have found this to be an invaluable guide to living the life of an artist. Cameron reflects on her work of the past decade with new insights into the creative process. It is a provocative and powerful book with newer editions updated and expanded. TC mark

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