How To Boost Creativity: 10 Books You Should Read
If you are currently feeling a creative downward trend, then I've got a couple of books that may help you boost creativity and get yourself back in the groove.
These 10 books that may help you boost creativity have been penned by people from various walks of life.
They include artists, writers, psychologists and business people.
I've not read them all but I have many of them on my bookshelf and others in my wish list. Others I've consulted in the library at DBS where I study.
Some of the most interesting ones to me have been written by psychologists and academics who have spent many years in research into how creativity works.
These books are not meant to offer us definitive solutions or solve our creative problems. They are rather things that might point the way towards something we've missed or forgotten.
Same goes for any piece of writing including I should say, The Artist's Manifesto.
If you're in a difficult place creatively or you're simply curious, then read just one of these books and something may click into place. Or inspiration may arise.
The 10 Creativity Books You Should Read
Creativity is a very tricky thing to define. You know it when you see it but often we can't explain what it is.
It's so broad and deep and yet often in our creative careers, we feel the absence of it.
Over the last 30 years in work, business and creative endeavours I had several ups and downs and in those, I've found there's no one way of figuring this shit out.
Switching off completely often works.
Perhaps one or two of these books will help you.
Below I've included the summary of each book and a link to it on Amazon. I receive a very small commission when you buy using these links. It's hardly enough to buy a cup of coffee but just want to be upfront about that.
The Artist's Manifesto
The Artist's Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. Paperback out 2nd April 2018.
Become What You Are, Alan Watts
In this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never before available in book form, Watts displays the intelligence, playfulness of thought, and simplicity of language that has made him so perennially popular as an interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners.
He draws on a variety of religious traditions and covers topics such as the challenge of seeing one's life “just as it is,” the Taoist approach to harmonious living, the limits of language in the face of ineffable spiritual truth, and the psychological symbolism of Christian thought.
Ungifted, Scott Barry Kaufman
In Ungifted, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, who was relegated to special education as a child, offers a new way of looking at intelligence.
He explores the latest research in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology to challenge the conventional wisdom about the childhood predictors of adult success, arguing for a more holistic approach to intelligence that takes into account each individual's abilities, engagement, and personal goals.
Combining original research and a singular compassion, Ungifted increases our appreciation for all different kinds of minds and ways of achieving both personally meaningful and publicly recognized forms of success.
The Power of Less, Leo Babauta
I think the “wanting more” mode of thinking is attractive, because of the pull of the media and advertising that give us these images of very attractive things.
The paradigm shift comes when we realize that while we might want to do and buy everything, we simply can't. We might want to do a million tasks a day, and take on every project idea that comes our way, but we just can't.
And what's more, our lives suffer from trying to do too much. Something is always sacrificed — whether that's time with loved ones, exercise and health, time for ourselves, or pursuing our dreams.
When you make this realization, simple becomes more attractive.
Deep Work, Cal Newport
Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your attention the most.
When Cal Newport coined the term ‘deep work' on his popular blog, Study Hacks, in 2012, he found the concept quickly hit a nerve. Most of us, after all, are excruciatingly familiar with shallow work instead – distractedly skimming the surface of our workload and never getting to the important part.
Newport began exploring the methods and mindset that foster a practice of distraction-free productivity at work, and now, in DEEP WORK, he shows how anyone can achieve this elusive state.
Play, Stuart Brown
We've all seen the happiness on the face of a child while playing in the schoolyard. Or the blissful abandon of a golden retriever racing across a lawn. This is the joy of play. By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun.
But as Dr Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play.
Dr Brown has spent his career studying animal behaviour and conducting more than six thousand “play histories” of humans from all walks of life-from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners. Backed by the latest research, Play (20,000 copies in print) explains why play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve and more.
A powerful and inspiring book from the founders of IDEO, the award-winning design firm, on unleashing the creativity that lies within each and every one of us.
Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the ‘creative types’. But two of the foremost experts in innovation, design and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative.
In an entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, and with many of the world's top companies and design firms, David and Tom Kelley identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives
The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp
What makes someone creative? How does someone face the empty page, the empty stage and making something where nothing existed before? Not just a dilemma for the artist, it is something everyone faces every day.
What will I cook that isn't boring? How can I make that memo persuasive? What sales-pitch will increase the order, get me the job, lock in that bonus? These too, are creative acts, and they all share a common need: proper preparation.
For Twyla Tharp, creativity is no mystery; it's the product of hard work and preparation, of knowing one's aims and one's subject, of learning from approaches taken in the past.
Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
What really makes people glad to be alive? What are the inner experiences that make life worthwhile? For more than two decades Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied those states in which people report feelings of concentration and deep enjoyment.
His studies revealed that what makes experience genuinely satisfying is ‘flow' – a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in an activity and results in the achievement of an ideal state of happiness.
Flow has become the classic work on happiness and a major contribution to contemporary psychology. It examines such timeless issues as the challenge of lifelong learning; family relationships; art, sport and sex as ‘flow'; the pain of loneliness; optimal use of free time and how to make lives meaningful.
Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Being creative is about capturing those moments that make life worth living. Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reveals what leads to these moments–be it the excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab–so that this knowledge can be used to enrich people's lives.
Drawing on nearly one hundred interviews with exceptional people, from biologists and physicists to politicians and business leaders, to poets and artists, as well as his thirty years of research on the subject, Csikszentmihalyi uses his famous flow theory to explore the creative process.
He discusses such ideas as to why creative individuals are often seen as selfish and arrogant, and why the “tortured genius” is largely a myth. Most important, he explains why creativity needs to be cultivated and is necessary for the future of our country, if not the world.
Grit, Angela Duckworth
In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement.
Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that – not talent or luck – makes all the difference.
The Artist's Manifesto
The Artist's Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. Paperback out May 2018.