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Last Updated on March 4, 2021

Top 25 Books to Unleash Your Creative Potential

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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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                                                    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

                                                    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

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                                                    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                                                    Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

                                                    What Is Creativity?

                                                    Creativity Needs an Intention

                                                    Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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                                                    Creativity Is a Skill

                                                    At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

                                                    How Creativity Works

                                                    Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

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                                                    Can I Be Creative?

                                                    The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role, you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

                                                    Start Connecting the Dots

                                                    Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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                                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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