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Last Updated on March 4, 2021

Top 25 Books to Unleash Your Creative Potential

Top 25 Books to Unleash Your Creative Potential

Books have the power to uncover worlds we never knew existed. Whether they speak directly about creativity or not, books are a gem trove of motivation and inspiration just waiting to be tapped. Below we have listed some brilliant creative books for creative people that are sure to ignite the imagination. Each book deals with a different aspect of creativity.

1. The Book Of Doing by Allison Arden

The Book of Doing

    Amazon / iTunes / Google Play / Kindle

    “It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.”

    In this book, Allison discusses 94 activities that can create opportunity by taking you out of your comfort zone, and unlocking the creativity that lives inside you. This book also classifies the hurdles standing in your way to success.

    2. Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

    Imagine

      Amazon iTunes / Google Books Kindle

      “Nevertheless, every mental talent comes with a tradeoff. Once we learn to inhibit our impulses, we also inhibit our ability to improvise. And this is why it’s so important to practice letting ourselves go.”

      Illustrating creativity through references and facts, Lehrer reveals a variety of distinct thought processes that will help us to unlock our imagination.

      3. Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono

      Lateral Thinking

        Amazon iTunes / Google Books Kindle

        “It may be necessary to be on the top of a mountain in order to find the best way up.”

        In this worldwide praised book, de Bono offers some practical methods to buoy up the habit of lateral thinking to generate ideas and to unleash creativity.

        4. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. by Paul Arden

        Paul Arden

          AmazoniTunes / Google Books / Kindle

          “The world is what YOU think of it, so think of it DIFFERENTLY and your life will change.” 

          The world’s best advertising expert, Paul Arden, shares his wisdom on issues like problem solving, answering to a brief, connecting, making right decisions, making mistakes, and creativity—all activities that are realistic in modern life.

          5. How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas by Chris Barez-Brown

          How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas

            AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

            “Go Visual’ – capturing your issue without using words. You can sculpt, collage, whittle, whatever!”

            The book How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas is filled with simple, useful methods to unlock your creative juices and contains real-life case studies to exhibit the methods in action.

            6. Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

            Creativity

              Amazon/ iTunes / Google Books / Kindle

              “Creative persons differ from one another in a variety of ways, but in one respect they are unanimous.”

              Creativity is about seizing the moments that can make our life worth living. In this book, the author offers an understanding of what leads to these worth-living moments. Consisting of 100 interviews with extraordinary people, from ecologists and physicists to business leaders and politician, Csikszentmihalyi uses his well-known philosophy to discover the creative process.

              7. Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley, David Kelley

              Creative Confidence

                AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                “Money will always be easier to measure, which is why it takes a little extra effort to value the heart.”

                This famous book is written by two well-known experts in innovation, intention and creativity. This book reveals the myth that creativity is the domain of “creative types” only.

                8. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

                The Creative Habit

                  AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                   “If the luckiest people in the world are the ones who get paid for doing what they would otherwise do for free, I am already lucky.”

                  Twyla Tharp, one of the world’s most famous creative artists, shares her secrets for increasing and improving creative talents.

                  9. The Opposable Mind by Roger L. Martin

                  The Opposable Mind

                    AmazoniTunes / Google Books / Kindle

                     “That expertise actually works against the development of expertise in business itself.” 

                    The Opposable Mind is consist of  50 success stories of management, including the success behind some famous brands like Proctor & Gamble, eBay and Four Seasons hotels.

                    10. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

                    Flow

                      AmazoniTunes Google Books Kindle

                      “What an individual yogi can do is amazing—but so is what a plumber can do, or a good mechanic.”

                      The famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s illustrious investigations of “optimal experience” have shown that the satisfaction is a state of consciousness called “flow.” In this new edition, Csikszentmihalyi describes the ways this positive state can be controlled.

                      11. Sketching User Experiences by Bill Buxton

                      Sketching User Experiences

                        AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                        “Sketches are social things. They are lonely outside the company of other sketches and related reference material. They are lonely if they are discarded as soon as they are done.”

                        In this book Bill Buxton has included a huge collection of historic lessons, examples of best practices, and case studies from the world of business/communication/experience design. The book addresses the designers, specialists, community, managers, and business executives.

                        12. Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe

                        Conversations with Wilder

                          AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                          “It was like a film school masters’ class, and the best interview I’ve ever done. His biggest influence on me has been how he’s lived his life. “

                          Cameron Crowe, director of Jerry Maguire, loves Billy Wilder’s films so much, he’s written a book about them. In this book, he analyzes the “creative process” and tries to discover the secret of success of creative people—writers, artists, filmmakers, and comedians.

                          13. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

                          The Checklist Manifesto

                            AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                            “Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us.”

                            The Checklist Manifesto is an intellectual adventures book, in which many lives are lost and saved and one simple idea changes the whole situation. The Checklist Manifesto is a must-read book for anyone looking to get things right.

                            14. The Tenacity of the Cockroach by Stephen Thompson

                            The Tenacity of the Cockroach: Conversations with Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders

                              AmazoniTunes / Google Books / Kindle

                              “In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king. And honey, you should see me in a crown.” 

                              This book consist of essays authored by extraordinary creative people. This book includes in-depth interviews of creative people from a vast range of disciplines and allows you to investigate their inspirations, processes, trials and skills.

                              15. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

                              Thinking, Fast and Slow

                                AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                                “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.”

                                In this highly anticipated book, Kahneman takes us on a revolutionary tour of the mind and explains the systems that drive the way we think.

                                16. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

                                Steal Like an Artist

                                  AmazoniTunes / Google Books / Kindle

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

                                  In this book, Austin Kleon emphasizes that it doesn’t take ingenuity to be creative—it just takes being yourself. This book is extremely modern and applicable to the digital age.

                                  17. Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn K. Glei

                                  Manage Your Day-to-Day

                                    AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                                    “Like it or not, we are constantly forced to juggle tasks and battle unwanted distractions—to truly set ourselves apart, we must learn to be creative amidst chaos.”

                                    Manage Your Day-to-Day is equipped with practical insights about time management and work productivity. With wisdom from 20 leading creative minds, this book will give you a toolkit for confronting the new challenges at the workplace.

                                    18. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

                                    Predictably Irrational

                                      AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                                      “But suppose we are nothing more than the sum of our first, naive, random behaviors. What then?”

                                      Predictably Irrational gives an interesting, witty and completely original overview about our illogical decisions. In this astonishing book, behavioral economist Dan Ariely, reveals how irrationality often replaces rational thought.

                                      19. Contagious by Jonah Berger

                                      Contagious

                                        AmazoniTunes / Google Books / Kindle

                                        “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.”

                                        Contagious combines innovative research with prevailing stories.  This book offers a set of precise, actionable procedures to spread information—designing messages, promotion material, advertisements, and information that people will share.

                                        20. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

                                        Understanding Comics

                                          AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                                          “Art, as I see it, is any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species’ two basic instincts: survival and reproduction.”

                                          Praised throughout the cartoon industry, Scott McCloud explains and observes many characteristics of visual communication. This famous book has been translated into 16 languages, its ideas applied in many other fields such as game design, web development, and animation.

                                          21. Save The Cat by Blake Snyder

                                          Save the Cat

                                            AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                                            “Liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story.”

                                            This book is an ultimate insider’s guide that discloses the mysteries that no one dares to admit, told by a showbiz expert who’s supported that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

                                            22. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E. B. White

                                            Elements of Style

                                              AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                                              “Omit needless words.”

                                              This book offers useful advice on improving writing skills. Throughout The Elements of Style, the authors promote a plain English style. It can help many students to communicate more effectively by demonstrating how to enliven their sentences.

                                              23. Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland

                                              art & fear

                                                AmazoniTunes / Google Books / Kindle

                                                “Vision, Uncertainty, and Knowledge of Materials are inevitabilities that all artists must acknowledge and learn from.”

                                                Art & Fear explores the world of art, and discusses the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up. The authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, have personal experience, and provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is experienced by art makers themselves.

                                                24. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

                                                Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

                                                  AmazoniTunes / Google Books Kindle

                                                  “Once you have learned to walk, you know how to walk for life. You don’t have to go on forever adding additional basic skills.”

                                                  This book is the world’s most widely used drawing-instruction book. People from every walk of life—artists, students, managers, designers, architects, real estate agents, engineers—have applied its ground-breaking approach to problem solving.

                                                  25. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

                                                  The War of Art

                                                    AmazoniTunes / Google Books / Kindle

                                                    “If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

                                                    The War of Art is a profoundly inspiring guide to disable creative blocks of every kind. It also identifies the internal enemy, sketches a battle plan to conquer this enemy; and then determines ways to achieve greatest success.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Paddy via flickr.com

                                                    More by this author

                                                    Tayyab Babar

                                                    Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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                                                    1 How To Brainstorm Ideas More Creatively And Effectively 2 How To Adapt Flexible Thinking Strategies To Solve Problems 3 How To Improve Your Creativity: 10 Ways To Boost It 4 15 Best Brainstorming And Mind-Mapping Tools For Every Creative Mind 5 How to Train Your Brain to Be More Creative

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                                                    Published on April 6, 2021

                                                    How To Brainstorm Ideas More Creatively And Effectively

                                                    How To Brainstorm Ideas More Creatively And Effectively

                                                    Do you continually look for ways and means to do things better but find yourself in a shortage of ideas? As humans, we are continually evolving and looking for ways to do what we do more efficiently—to yield the same or higher output with lesser inputs in time, resources, and effort. One way to do this is to wait for the Eureka! moment and inspiration to strike. But that is far-fetched and requires a lot of waiting around to take small steps ahead.

                                                    However, putting in place a structure for ideation can come in handy for those looking to take giant leaps forward. And that’s where brainstorming ideas can help.

                                                    Let’s have a look at how to brainstorm ideas more creatively and effectively. But before that, let’s dive deeper into understanding brainstorming.

                                                    What Is Brainstorming?

                                                    Brainstorming is an excellent tool for ideation, out-of-the-box thinking, and creative problem solving without criticism or judgment.

                                                    Meriam Webster’s dictionary defines brainstorming as “a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group; the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt to devise or find a solution to a problem.”[1]

                                                    Three things stand out here:

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                                                    1. Spontaneous contribution – Brainstorming allows individuals to share crazy, far-fetched, out of the box half-baked ideas. It does not have to be thoroughly thought out yet at the ideation stage.
                                                    2. All members – Brainstorming is a technique where taking in diverse opinions can improve ideating offbeat solutions.
                                                    3. Find a solution to a problem – It is fundamentally goal-oriented towards one thing—solving the issue at hand. Without a clear problem statement, brainstorming ideas will not yield effective results.

                                                    Broadly speaking, brainstorming is synonymous with the idea-generating process that creatively solves problems.

                                                    You Can Brainstorm Ideas on Your Own

                                                    It is common to think that brainstorming is effective only in groups and cannot be done individually. However, that is not entirely true. Studies have shown that although both approaches have their pros and cons in catalyzing idea generation, people are more creative when they brainstorm on their own than in groups.[2]

                                                    Individually, one is empowered to flexibly work at their pace and drive idea generation. They can set their own time and place and ideate when one is at their creative best. Additionally, there is no fear of judgment when brainstorming individually.

                                                    On the other hand, group brainstorming holds a sacred place in innovating in workplaces. Here, you can take advantage of the diverse experience, perspectives, and creativity of all team members to ideate and develop offbeat solutions that offer outstanding results.

                                                    Is Brainstorming Effective?

                                                    Brainstorming delivers tremendous value, from providing innovative and offbeat ideas that would have never occurred in the ordinary course of work to building a culture of collaboration and team spirit. Here are some reasons why brainstorming is effective and beneficial.

                                                    1. Goes Beyond Creative Blocks

                                                    Brainstorming ideas can help individuals and teams move forward when they find themselves creatively stuck. Inspiration is hard to come by, and brainstorming is an excellent approach to access on-demand creativity without the pressure of getting it right the first time.

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                                                    2. Encourages Divergent Thinking

                                                    By leaving no idea behind, brainstorming can help explore diverse ideas and alternatives to grow. Brainstorming ideas offers a judgment-free space to think of as many possibilities as you can until you’re convinced of the way forward.

                                                    3. Supports Team Building

                                                    Compared to other techniques, you create a relaxed and informal ambiance to brainstorm ideas that encourage open participation among team members. People are offered the space to share their opinion and points of view without fear of judgment, strengthening the camaraderie among team members. Frequent brainstorming sessions instill the spirit of collaboration and help teams to rely on each other’s strengths to deliver improved results.

                                                    How Does It Work?

                                                    Brainstorming ideas involves 4 crucial stages:

                                                    1. Identifying the central problem or goal: This stage defines the critical purpose for brainstorming ideas.
                                                    2. Idea Generation: An avenue permitting free-flowing generation of ideas.
                                                    3. Developing the idea: Deep dive into the ideas produced and build upon them.
                                                    4. Idea evaluation: Evaluating the top ideas towards its efficacy in solving the central goal or issue.

                                                    The process is structured to allow consideration of varied ideas objectively to achieve the solution to the critical problem at hand.

                                                    ProTips to Brainstorm Ideas Effectively

                                                    Here are a few #ProTips to brainstorm ideas creatively and effectively.

                                                    • Welcome wild ideas: Make sure you encourage offbeat and non-linear ideas. The more diverse the ideas produced in the ideation stage, the better it is to allow for innovative solutions to come forth.
                                                    • Plan ahead: Allow people to think by themselves before the brainstorming session. This tip ensures that people are allowed sufficient time to mull over the problem statement and come prepared to ideate on tackling the issue.
                                                    • Goal-tending: As you navigate the ideation stage, focus on the central goal or problem. It is natural to stray away while opening up the forum for ideas. So, it is essential to remind the teams on the problem statement to keep the discussions relevant and identify the best solution.
                                                    • Record everything: Record all ideas, not just the good ones. This rule is fundamental to capture all probable ideas in the ideation stage. Make sure that every single idea generated is systematically captured regardless of how useful it is. Additionally, permit one conversation at a time to ensure all thoughts are given consideration and are not missed out in parallel discussions.
                                                    • Judgement-free: Creating a no-judgment space encourages people to speak up and express their opinions freely. Keeping judgments aside can help continue the flow of ideas and encourage teams to build and develop each other’s thought processes. One idea could spark another, leading to much more effective solutions.
                                                    • Defer evaluation: Refrain from evaluating ideas in the ideation stage. Hold the assessments till the evaluation stage for the best results. All ideas hold some potential so enforce the no assessment rule until all the ideas are captured, tabled, and developed. Alex Osborn, who conceptualized the brainstorming technique, recommends “defer judgment” as the golden rule to brainstorm effectively.[3]

                                                    How to Use Brainstorming Effectively on Your Own

                                                    Here are a few tips for brainstorming ideas effectively on your own:

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                                                    1. Ground Yourself

                                                    Make sure to ground yourself by meditating or practicing any other mindfulness technique to ensure your entire presence before brainstorming. You could also choose a time and place when you’re most active and energetic for the best results.

                                                    2. Minimize Distractions

                                                    Choose a time where you can focus entirely on brainstorming ideas for the problem at hand. Minimize distractions and create space for paying 100% attention in ideating solutions.

                                                    3. Go Wild

                                                    Individual Brainstorming does not have worries about other’s judgment and offers a safe space to ideate as many crazy or wild ideas as they come. There’s no worry about egos or team dynamics either. So, the brainstorming can be focused on solving the core issue.

                                                    4. Use Mind maps

                                                    To keep the chain of thought as you brainstorm ideas, you can use mind maps to arrange, assimilate, and develop concepts further. Word association, prompts, or even visual cues can come in handy to ideate across the spectrum.

                                                    5. Take a Break Before Evaluating

                                                    Don’t go into assessments and evaluations right after you ideate. Take a break. Do something completely different before you consider the ideas to be objective and unbiased. Keep the overarching goal in mind to filter the best possible outcomes. You could also narrow it down to the top 2 to 3 ideas and run it past your mentors or colleagues to get unbiased opinions from trustworthy sources.

                                                    How to Use Brainstorming Effectively in a Group

                                                    Here are a few tips for brainstorming ideas effectively in a group:

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                                                    1. Diversity

                                                    Form groups across functions to bring in different perspectives as you brainstorm together. Ensure that the individuals chosen are equally vested and aligned towards the shared goal to achieve maximum results. You could also brainstorm with a complete outsider to get a fresh perspective on a problem that you’ve been stuck with for a long time.

                                                    2. 6-3-5 Technique

                                                    You can adapt the 6 people coming up with 3 ideas every 5 minutes to keep the ideation momentum going. You can get over 100 ideas in 30 minutes using this approach.

                                                    3. Challenge Bad Ideas

                                                    Ask team members to write down the craziest and most ludicrous ways to solve the problem. Then challenge other team members to make changes to flip a bad idea into a good one.

                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                    Brainstorming ideas is an excellent way to creatively identify the best way forward. It provides structure to unstructured thinking and delivers immense value to individuals and organizations to think beyond the conventional norms. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ve picked up a thing or two to help you brainstorm ideas effectively.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Leon via unsplash.com

                                                    Reference

                                                    [1] Merriam-Webster: brainstorming
                                                    [2] MindTools: Brainstorming
                                                    [3] The Heart of Innovation: Why You Need to Defer Judgment During the Ideation Phase of a Brainstorming Session

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