Five books you should read to learn more about creativity

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.

Presenting: A Creative Library


I’m happy to officially launch something I’ve been wanting to put together for a long time: A Creative Library.

This is a curated list of more than three dozen books on the topic of creativity as it relates to art, psychology, science, and life.

From timeless works like The War of Art, to more modern and specialty books like CreativeYou, the library is full of a lot of creative wisdom. Whether you’re hoping to utilize creativity more in your day job or simply wondering what it’s like to live as a true artist, you’re going to find it in the library.

I’ll be adding more books as I come across (and read) them, but head on over and scan the library to pick up some books today. You can recommend books that might not be listed there as well.

Full disclosure: If you purchase any book from the list I will get a small percentage of the price as part of the Amazon Affiliates network. This helps pay for the costs involved in maintaining Creative Something.

Recommended reading to help boost your creativity

You and I were born with creative instincts. Creativity - or using original, unique ideas - is in our genetic makeup; it’s not something that has to be learned. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t intensify your creativity through experimenting and learning. As Arthur Koestler once said: “Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.”

In order to learn about - and expand your knowledge of - creativity, you need quality learning resources. What better resources are there for creative learning than books?

Fortunately for you, I have taken the liberty of finding some of the best books in existence to help you boost your creativity; so you don’t have to waste your time looking for helpful creative books. Each one of the books listed here is highly recommended by me, and each book is extremely helpful for anyone searching for ways to boost their creativity. Not only that, but each book should be affordable.

Cracking Creativity by Michael Michalko.

Michael Michalko provides a colossal list of techniques for creative insight in his book, “Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius”. Although “Cracking Creativity” was originally intended for creative business professionals, the techniques and knowledge Michalko provides is extremely beneficial to all creative people. By evaluating creative geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Charles Darwin, and even Thomas Edison, “Cracking Creativity” simply describes what it takes to become a true creative genius, and ways to fuel your creativity through professional techniques.

Click here to buy Cracking Creativity right now for only $13.57.

It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden.

The world’s best selling book, or so claims author Paul Arden, “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” is not necessarily a book, but more of a bible for creative thinking. Whether you need creative inspiration, or just some motivation for your day, Arden focuses on creative insights that nobody should ever forget. This book is highly recommended for everyone, and because it’s so affordable and small, there’s no reason not to pick up a copy.

Click here to buy It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be for only $7.95 .

The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel.

“America’s leading expert on the psychological side of creativity”, Eric Maisel provides an entire year of creative lessons in his book “The Creativity Book”. The best part of Maisel’s book is that you don’t need to be in the creative industry to use the creative plans. Maisel knows that creativity makes everything better, and he wants you to know that you can incorporate creativity into everything - he even helps you do it with this book. Don’t hesitate, start planning your next creative project with the help of The Creativity Book.

Click here to buy The Creativity Book right now for only $11.16.

Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie.

If you only pick up one book to boost your creativity this year, make it “Orbiting the Giant Hairball”. In his self-perspective book, MacKenzie explains how the corporate world often turns creativity into a giant mess of ideas and techniques. MacKenzie also explains how to avoid such “hairballs” by recounting his thirty-year career as “creative paradox” at Hallmark Cards. That’s right, MacKenzie created his own position within Hallmark Cards by avoiding the “giant hairball”. Inspiring, funny, and extremely informative, “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” is a creative outlook at creativity in the real world.

Click here to buy Orbiting the Giant Hairball right now for only $14.96.