33 Introspective And Inspiring Books Every Old Soul, Dreamer, And Artist Should Read

Books on creativity are one of my favorite genres of book. Anytime I’m feeling uninspired or restless in my creative routine I seek out one of my favorite books or look for a new read to inspire me. Then there are times when it’s not so much a book on creativity that gets my heart pumping fast and the urge to create, but rather a book that looks at the world in an entirely new way or a book written by an author who dared to experiment and write in an unusual format. Books for creatives aren’t there to give us all of the answers or provide a solution to our creative blocks – they’re there to re-set the creative flow and remind us why we’re passionate for creating at all.

1.

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way – Shauna Niequist

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“Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal.

Ask yourself some good questions like: “Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? … Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people who believe … life is a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.”

 2

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“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

 3.

The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety – Alan Watts

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“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.”

4.

The Anatomy of Being – Shinji Moon

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“I look at you and see all the ways a soul can bruise, and I wish I could sink my hands into your flesh and light lanterns along your spine so you know that there’s nothing but light when I see you.”

5.

Beautiful Chaos – Robert M. Drake

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“To be human is to be broken and broken is its own kind of beautiful.”

6.

The Art of Happiness – The Dalai Lama

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“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

7.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe

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“Everybody, everybody everywhere, has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.”

8.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche and Patrick Gaffney

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“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our “biography,” our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?

Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?”

9.

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Advice to the Young – Kurt Vonnegut

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“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

10.

Bird by Bird – Anne Lamont

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“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

11.

The Opposite Of Loneliness: Essays And Stories – Marina Keegan

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“I blame the Internet. Its inconsiderate inclusion of everything.Success is transparent and accessible, hanging down where it can tease but not touch us. We talk into these scratchy microphones and take extra photographs but I still feel like there are just SO MANY PEOPLE. Every day, 1,035.6 books are published; sixty-six million people update their status each morning. At night, aimlessly scrolling, I remind myself of elementary school murals. One person can make a difference! But the people asking me what I want to be when I grow up don’t want me to make a poster anymore. They want me to fill out forms and hand them rectangular cards that say HELLO THIS IS WHAT I DO.”

12.

Become What You Are – Alan Watts

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“A man does not really begin to be alive until he has lost himself, until he has released the anxious grasp which he normally holds upon his life, his property, his reputation and position.”

13.

Hunting Season – Beau Taplin

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“One day, whether you are 14, 28 or 65,
you will stumble upon someone who will start a fire in you that cannot die.
However, the saddest, most awful truth you will ever come to find––
is they are not always with whom we spend our lives”

14.

The Empathy Exams – Leslie Jamison

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“Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us – a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain – it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always rise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.”

15.

Writing Down The Bare Bones – Natalie Goldberg

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“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

16.

Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert

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“Perhaps the strangest thing about this illusion of control is not that it happens but that it seems to confer many of the psychological benefits of genuine control. In fact, the one group of people who seem generally immune to this illusion are the clinically depressed, who tend to estimate accurately the degree to which they can control events in most situation.”

17.

The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life – Twyla Tharp

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“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.”

18.

Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

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“He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others–the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by the midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad.

19.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

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“People don’t think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.”

20.

Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters

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“Some of my most neurotically fierce bitterness is the result of realizing how untrue people have become.”

21.

Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series – tyler knott gregson

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“I love you,
in ways
you’ve never been
loved,
for reasons you’ve never been
told,
for longer than you think you
deserved
and with more
than you will ever know existed
inside
me.”

22.

No Matter The Wreckage – Sarah Kay

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“Is there a word for the moment you win tug-of-war? When the weight gives, and all that extra rope comes hurtling towards you, how even though you’ve won, you still end up with muddy knees and burns on your hands? Is there a word for that? I wish there was.”

23.

The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com And The Future Of Work – Scott Berkun

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“Fear of this uncertainty motivates people to spin their wheels for days considering all the possible outcomes, calculating them in a spreadsheet using utility cost analysis or some other fancy method that even the guy who invented it doesn’t use. But all that analysis just keeps you on the sidelines. Often you’re better off flipping a coin and moving in any clear direction. Once you start moving, you get new data regardless of where you’re trying to go. And the new data makes the next decision and the next better than staying on the sidelines desperately trying to predict the future without that time machine.”

24.

The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel – David Leviathan

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I want to take back at least half of the “I love you”s, because I didn’t mean them as much as the other ones. I want to take back the book of artsy photos I gave you, because you didn’t get it and said it was hipster trash. I want to take back what I said about you being an emotional zombie. I want to take back the time I called you “honey” in front of your sister and you looked like I had just shown her pictures of us having sex. I want to take back the wineglass I broke when I was mad, because it was a nice wineglass and the argument would have ended anyway. I want to take back the time we had sex in a rent-a-car, not because I feel bad about the people who got in the car after us, but because it was massively uncomfortable. I want to take back the trust I had while you were away in Austin. I want to take back the time I said you were a genius, because I was being sarcastic and I should have just said you’d hurt my feelings. I want to take back the secrets I told you so I can decide now whether to tell them to you again. I want to take back the piece of me that lies in you, to see if I truly miss it. I want to take back at least half the “I love you”s, because it feels safer that way.”

25.

The White Album – Joan Didion

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“We tell ourselves stories in order to live…We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”

26.

salt. – Nayyirah Waheed

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“you broke the ocean in half to be here. only to meet nothing that wants you. – immigrant”

27.

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative – Austin Kleon

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

28.

Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All – Tom Kelly, David Kelly

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“I used to think that to make something happen in a corporation or in the army, you had to be at the higher ranks, to be a general. But you just need to start a movement.”

29.

Bossypants – Tina Fey

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“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

30.

Fear And Loathing At Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S. Thompson

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“It was a Different Time. People were Friendly. We trusted each other. Hell, you could afford to get mixed up with wild strangers in those days — without fearing for your life, or your eyes, or your organs, or all of your money, or even getting locked up in prison forever. There was a sense of possibility. People were not so afraid, as they are now. You could run around naked without getting shot. You could check into a roadside motel on the outskirts of Ely or Winnemucca or Elko where you were lost in a midnight rainstorm — and nobody called the police on you, just to check out your credit and your employment history and your medical records and how many parking tickets you owed in California.”

31.

Show Your Work! 10 Ways To Share Your Creativity And Get Discovered – Austin Kleon

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“But now I realize that the only way to find your voice is to use it. It’s hardwired, built into you. Talk about the things you love. Your voice will follow.”

32.

The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz

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“It’s never the changes we want that change everything.”

33.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, And Lead – Brene Brown

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“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.” TC mark

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  • https://ginajanee.wordpress.com/ ginajanee

    Reblogged this on Gina Jane and commented:
    And now I’m inspired.
    Tomorrow, I will wake early, go for my run, have a matcha and an espresso. Find a cafe, bring my laptop and WRITE.
    Then I’ll need to go to waterstones to update my bookshelf…

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