Some ideas strike you like a bolt of lightning. One moment you’re strolling back from the farmers market, when suddenly there’s that lightbulb moment. It’s magic. But other times, the muse of inspiration can be a bit more elusive, obscured by faltering confidence or a lack of motivation. Well, we’ll have none of that. To get you feeling confident in your creative potential and your very own brand of genius, we’ve rounded up seven books that will kick you into high gear. Read on.
The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley ($4 and up)
This inspiring exploration into innovation comes from Tom Kelley, the general manager of award-winning Silicon Valley design firm Ideo. The Art of Innovation delves into the secrets of creating a culture of imaginative and continuous innovation and is a great, snappy read if you’re in need of a fresh outlook.
Creativity, Inc. ($10 and up)
Lauded as one of the best reads on creative leadership, Creativity, Inc. comes from Pixar President Ed Catmull and is full of the type of wisdom and bottled magic you might expect from the groundbreaking creators of Toy Story. From boundless brainstorming to supportive collaborative to constant communication, the ideas presented are not necessarily “surprising”—but that is their genius. These are tenets we should—and can!—uphold.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ($8 and up)
Offering some truly brilliant insight into the workings of human ideation and thinking, author and psychologist Daniel Kahneman arms us with the tools we need to make better decisions in every aspect of our lives, from personal to business and beyond. Knowledge is power, after all!
Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley ($14 and up)
Feeling paralyzed by uncertainty? Creative Confidence asserts that we all have immense creative potential within us—that it is not a selective genius reserved for artists and creative types only. More importantly, the book presents case studies and lays out the tools to approach ideas, solve problems, and build relationships with this creativity.
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon ($6 and up)
After delivering a much-adored TedX talk, artist Austin Kleon delved further into everything he wishes he’d known just starting out. Referred to as a “manifesto for creativity in the digital age,” Kleon’s book is wildly original, pleasantly straightforward, and filled with great illustrations and inspiring advice.
If you often feel yourself residing on the margins of mainstream greatness, The Tanacity of the Cockroach doubtlessly will speak to you. Compiling an impressive array of interviews with an incredible cast of iconoclastic and defiant writers, actors, musicians, and more, it offers insight into the very varied paths to greatness.
If you’re more into practicality and actionable advice, this one is for you. Author Keith Sawyer lays out evidence-based strategies to become a more creative person in every aspect of your life. Offering engaging exercises, insider secrets from some of the world’s biggest innovators, and 100-plus techniques, Zig Zag means business.
Have you read any of these books? Would you add any others to the list? Tell us in the comments!