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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

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                                                    Tayyab Babar

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

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                                                    Last Updated on March 15, 2019

                                                    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                                                    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                                                    When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

                                                    Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

                                                    In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

                                                    What Makes a Leader Fail?

                                                    A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

                                                    If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

                                                    And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

                                                    What Is Effective Leadership?

                                                    Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

                                                    Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

                                                    Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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                                                    “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

                                                    How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

                                                    To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

                                                    1. Courage

                                                    The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

                                                    “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

                                                    Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

                                                    For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

                                                    In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

                                                    It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

                                                    Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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                                                    2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

                                                    If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

                                                    The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

                                                    To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

                                                    3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

                                                    Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

                                                    Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

                                                    4. Likability

                                                    Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

                                                    When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

                                                    Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

                                                    So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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                                                    5. Vulnerability

                                                    Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

                                                    When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

                                                    6. Authenticity

                                                    Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

                                                    Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

                                                    7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

                                                    Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

                                                    Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

                                                    Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

                                                    Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

                                                    As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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                                                    “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

                                                    8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

                                                    Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

                                                    This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

                                                    9. A Passion for Continual Learning

                                                    Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

                                                    These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

                                                    Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

                                                    Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

                                                    More Resources About Effective Leadership

                                                    Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

                                                    Reference

                                                    [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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