What five books should you read if you want to learn more about creativity but have no idea where to start?
I’ve read a lot of books centralized around the concept of creative thinking over the last ten years. Everything from the psychology or creativity to how some of histories greatest artists utilized it in their work and lives.
When I first started learning about creativity I had no idea what the word meant, but that’s changed quite a lot over the last few years of reading and researching and writing on the subject.
I’ve come to learn that creativity is our capacity to generate novel and useful ideas, and that it ultimately comes down to our perspective and what we do with it. To adjust our perspectives—and to expose ourselves to new ones—in ways that spur and inspire creativity, we must be open to new experiences, willing to take on new challenges and look outside of constraints, have grit and be motivated, and remain ever curious.
Within these five books I believe you can get everything you need to know about creativity at some primary level. In no particular order, here are the five books I’d recommend for anyone just starting out in the realm of creativity.
Creative Confidence by David M. Kelley and Tom Kelley.
The Kelley brothers have struggled for many years to learn what it takes to encourage people to think differently about the world and the work each of us do within it. In their book, the brothers emphasize a few key lessons about creativity that drive home the importance of play, curiosity, and confidence.
Ingenius by Tina Seelig
Described as “a crash course on creativity,” Stanford University’s Tina Seelig demystifies much of what creativity has been known for over the past few decades. She not only uses clear language to define creativity, but gives examples and actionable take-sways that make this book a must-have for creative thinkers.
Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Johnson’s book is a bit more technical than the others, but with the additional benefit of going into more of the science of ideas and creativity than other books.
Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum
Nussbaum takes a more scientific approach to what we know about the mind and how creativity bridges the gap between imagination and intelligence. The book is a bit more technically daunting, but is highly rewarding in that it will energize you to think creatively while giving you details on how to move forward.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read on the topic of the creative act, Pressfield doesn’t get into much science or philosophy but does focus on some of the more magical and emotional aspects of getting creativity to work for you.
And that’s it! Five books I’d recommend to anyone just beginning to show an interest in creativity.