The 5 Best Books on Creativity

The 5 Best Books on Creativity - Must reads for a creative life - www.yeswemadethis.com

During our weekly blog brainstorming session (or coffee, as you may call it) Ula and I realized something. We haven’t yet touched upon a topic that is in fact so very dear to us. Books. Books on creativity, to be exact.

Books play a very important part in my creative process. They are the source of inspiration and direction. Sometimes just going through a book with beautiful images can inspire me and give me a fresh perspective. When I feel stuck, reading stories of successful artists or creative companies can give me the motivation I need to keep going. Books are something I turn to again and again and again.

 

Honestly, there are so many amazing books on creativity out there, it is really hard to choose the best. And probably if I try to make this list a year from now another book might make the cut.

You don’t want to forget all the cool things you’ve read, do you? Keep track of the books you loved (or nor) with this cute book journal.

Download your free printable:
my book JOURNAL

Fill out the form at the end of this article to get the download link.

But still, if you ask me today what are the 5 best books on creativity – this list here is the answer.

 

I’ve chosen 5 books that offer various views on creativity and the creative process. 

 

Furthermore, the way you read them is different for each of the books on the list. For example, you can read the stories in The Art of Creative Thinking: 89 Ways to See Things Differently separately, no need to start on page 1. Sunday Sketching is great for when you want to flick through something to get an instant hit of inspiration and Steal Like an Artist is an awesome quick (but powerful) read. If you’re ready to take action, The War of Art and Creative Confidence are amazing.

 

Before I give everything away, let’s dive into it.

My List of the 5 Best Books on Creativity​

1.

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All​

David and Tom Kelley

 

The book Creative Confidence is written by Kelley brothers David and Tom. David is a founder of the successful industrial product design firm IDEO and creator of Stanford d.school and Tom is an IDEO partner who runs the marketing side of the company and is an author of best-selling books.

 

I feel the main message of this book is that creativity lies in each and every one of us.

But if you want to be creative, you have to take action – investigate, play, experiment, have fun!

 

The authors suggest you do this by developing your Creative Confidence. They provide exercises which help you explore your creativity and unleash your potential.

 

The book leads you through the topic through 8 chapters, all action focused, followed by the case studies of people who have successfully done it themselves.

 

These success stories also give you some insights into the authors’ work at IDEO and Stanford d.school.

When to read this?
This well structured and comprehensive book is perfect if you are looking for ways to be more creative – and are ready to take action!


The 5 Best Books on Creativity - Must reads for a creative life - www.yeswemadethis.com

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
David and Tom Kelley

Buy this book on Amazon

2.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Austin Kleon

 

Steal Like an Artist is a relaxed and easy read, but can help immensely when you are feeling stuck or not creative enough.

 

It’s written (and illustrated) by the young author and artist Austin Kleon, who explores the concept of creativity through 10 statements. He gives some useful tips on how to approach things – be it your creative endeavors or ordinary day-to-day activities.

 

What I like most about this book is how it makes me feel more relaxed and confident about my creative work. It encourages you to break the ice and just get started. As Kleon writes: There are no shortcuts. Make stuff every day. Know you’re going to suck for a while. Fail. Get better.

 

One of the things he suggests (and I do my best to follow) is to keep a daily journal. Write, draw, doodle. Do whatever you want, just do something. Keep your mind busy and your creative wheels in motion. 

When to read this?
This is a perfect book to read when you are looking for a creativity or productivity boost, when you need to calm down or cheer up… Fun reading and well-spent 30 minutes.


The 5 Best Books on Creativity - Must reads for a creative life - www.yeswemadethis.com

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Austin Kleon

Buy this book on Amazon

3.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Pressfield

 

I got this book as a Christmas present with a comment The author might be quite radical at some points, but he has a point. I liked it, worth reading. Soon after I started reading it I got to the point that friend mentioned – it is a provoking book. It has to find you at the right moment to resonate with you.

 

The main topic of the book is Resistance as the counterforce of achievement and the reason for your creative blocks or battles. Everyone faces it at one point or another – at work and in everyday life situations where creative barriers appear. It results in procrastinating, doubts, and fears.

 

In the book resistance is studied in three sections: Resistance, Combating Resistance, and Beyond Resistance.

 

The first section is about resistance in general – what it is and where it can be found. The author gives common examples of situations which anyone can relate to.

 

In the next section, the author explores how to deal with resistance. He looks into how to behave like a professional and successfully cope with resistance. He emphasises the importance of doing the work and being disciplined.

 

The third part is a bit more spiritual and discusses divine inspiration.

When to read this?
Of all of the books on creativity on this list, I would say this one stands out the most. It is hard to compare it to other books on the subject.

 

I encourage you to give this a try if you feel like you need that first kick to get going. You know, sit down, be disciplined and do the work. That seems to be the recipe.


The 5 Best Books on Creativity - Must reads for a creative life - www.yeswemadethis.com

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield

Buy this book on Amazon

4.

Sunday Sketching

Christoph Niemann

 

I first came across Christoph Niemann’s work through his covers for The New Yorker. His simple but meaningful graphics immediately caught my attention.

 

Years later I saw a Netflix series called Abstract: The art of design. The very first episode is about – guess who – Christoph Niemann. It is a great show and I wholeheartedly recommend watching it. It provides an inspiring insight into Niemann’s work and life.

 

I was really impressed by his story and approach, so I couldn’t resist ordering his book, Sunday Sketching. And I am not sorry I did.

 

In fact, Sunday Sketching is one of the pillar books in my home library. It reminds me all the time that creativity is something we should work on.

 

In the book, Niemann leads you through his life journey. He describes, explains and draws (with his graphics being a very important part of the book) his creative process. He tells the stories and shares experience of his life as an artist. From the fears and obstacles to the (as he finishes the book) mood that might even border on happiness.

When to read this?
I highly recommend you read this just to observe Niemann’s amazing work and learn more about his creative approach. But as you will see yourself, it’s a book that you will keep coming back to. I do whenever I feel I need some inspiration or encouragement. It has a way of helping you get unstuck


The 5 Best Books on Creativity - Must reads for a creative life - www.yeswemadethis.com

Sunday Sketching
Christoph Niemann

Buy this book on Amazon

5.

The Art of Creative Thinking: 89 Ways to See Things Differently

Rod Judkins

 

This book by Rod Judkins tells the stories of numerous well-known creative people (89 to be exact :)) from various field of work.

 

Judkins talks about the lives and work of painters, writers, musicians, architects, … People from different fields of art, science, and technology, who all have one thing in common. They think creatively.

 

These inspiring insights into the lives of these amazing individuals are proof that there is no universal formula for creativity. Nothing is right or wrong. If it works for you, then that is it.

When to read this?
What I really like about this book is the fact that you can read the stories separately. This is why I love to read it when I have 15 minutes on my hands.  It is a great source of inspiration and an eye-opener if you feel like creativity is a trait only possessed by the great artists. This book will make you see it is so much more.


The 5 Best Books on Creativity - Must reads for a creative life - www.yeswemadethis.com

The Art of Creative Thinking: 89 Ways to See Things Differently
Rod Judkins

Buy this book on Amazon

These are my 5 best books on creativity that I think everyone should read, even if you don’t work in the creative field. I strongly believe they can inspire you to do or make something amazing.

 

Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think? Do you have any favorite book on creativity you would recommend? Share in the comments below!

 

P.S.: If you want to learn what you can do to boost your creativity (other than reading these awesome books), check out our article How to be Creative – 7 Ideas to Boost Creativity.

 

You don’t want to forget all the cool things you’ve read, do you? Keep track of the books you loved (or nor) with this cute book journal.

Download your free printable:
my book JOURNAL

Fill out the form below to get the download link.

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