When was the last time you switched on your creative personality?
We, humans, possess countless volumes of creativity deep within us.
And reading about creativity is the finest approach to stimulate yourself.
There are a myriad variety of books on creativity and innovation out there, but only a few that withstand the test of time!
Here are the best books about creativity and innovation to jump-start your journey of creative thinking!
1. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art is a succinct, captivating and a crisp guide for prospering in a creative sphere.
It emphasizes on how one can avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor, especially the naysayer within us!
It outlines a battle plan to conquer your internal foe, then effectively pinpoints how to achieve your greatest creative discipline.
Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield inspires you to overcome your resistance and seize the potential of the unlived life within!
The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul!
- It stresses on loving what you do, having patience, and acting in the face of fear.
- It draws on channeling creative energies and living the destiny gifted to us.
- Three principles of creative impulse – Creative courage, being in the right place at the right time, and deepening connections with others.
2. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
“Don’t be a genius, just be yourself” – that’s what Austin Kleon wants to tell everyone through Steal like an Artist.
Putting the readers directly in touch with their artistic side, it is an inspiring, hip-original manifesto for the digital age!
It centers on unlocking your inner creativity and following your interests wherever they take you.
Steal like an Artist stimulates you to be a creative to an extent of making your imagination wild and daring.
An artist’s ritual: Stay smart, stay curious, stay out of debt, and risk being boring!
- Creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone.
- Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and reimagine to discover your own path.
- Experiment while your obscurity lasts as there is no pressure when you are unknown.
3. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
Julia Cameron leads you through a twelve-week program to recover your creativity by replacing varied blocks with artistic confidence and productivity.
The assortment of blocks includes limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other various inhibiting forces.
To conquer these self-destructive tendencies, she recommends two ongoing activities – Morning pages and Artist’s dates!
Morning pages are three pages of daily writing, artist’s dates are a weekly block of two hours spent observing and experiencing.
An international bestseller, The Artist’s Way is a powerfully proactive and an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life!
- The basic principle draws on creative expression is the natural direction of life.
- It links creativity to spirituality by presenting how to connect with the creative energies of the universe.
- Morning pages and artist’s dates help one overcome the negative internal censor and human tendencies.
4. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
New York Times bestseller, Creativity, Inc. is the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation!
It is a humble manual for managers, striving for originality, who want to lead their employees to new heights.
It is an expression of ideas that helps us build a creative culture and make the best of us possible.
In this book the authors reveal the ideas and practices that have made Pixar so widely admired and profitable.
It encourages you to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature to excel in your life.
- It develops methods to root out and destroy the barriers of creativity to marry creativity to the pursuit of excellence.
- For us to grow, it tells us to keep a “mistakes-be-dammed” attitude rather than avoiding failures.
- It contains wisdom and stories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
5. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive by Betty Edwards
2013 Nautilus Books for a Better World Silver winner as “Best Creative Process Book”, it is a life-changing book destined to inspire!
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain brings the brain’s right hemisphere functions and importance into focus.
Betty Edwards describes five aspects that together composes drawing skills – Perception of edges, perception of spaces, perception of relationships, perception of lights and shadows, and perception of gestalt.
This book will increase your confidence, deepen your artistic perception, and foster a new appreciation of the world around you.
The book teaches readers to discover how to transfer perceptual skills to thinking and problem-solving.
- It coaches you to draw what you see, and not what you think.
- It demonstrates the dichotomy between the left and right brain hemispheres and how they interact.
- Consists of exercises and experiments for you to experience the switching of processing between the two halves of your brain.
6. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
A Whole New Mind takes readers to a daring new place and a provocative new thinking process about the future!
With visionary flare, Pink argues that business and everyday life will soon be dominated by right-brain thinkers.
Daniel Pink guides you for an adjustment of expanding your right brain to survive and prosper in the western world.
He demonstrates the importance of developing and cultivating six senses for achieving success – Design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.
The future belongs to a different kind of a person with a different kind of a mind!
- The holistic “right-brain” thinker’s abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.
- Drawing on research, it outlines six human abilities that are essential for personal fulfillment and reveals how to master them.
- It unites creative thinking with logical intellectual.
7. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
With insight, humor, and practicality, Writing Down the Bones will stir writers to take a leap into writing skillfully and creatively!
Natalie Goldberg offers encouragement and solid advice on writing from first thoughts, listening, using verbs and overcoming doubts.
It identifies three things all writers must do – Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot!
It highlights the importance of trusting your mind and body and creating your own practice.
Writing Down the Bones tells you to keep your hand moving, loose control, and not think!
- With a witty approach, it inspires anyone who writes or who longs to.
- It is a brilliant guide to self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-realization.
- It directs you through the poetic ramblings of your mind and allows you to come forward out of the den.
8. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
Show your Work explains to us how to take that critical next step on a creative journey of getting known!
Austin Kleon outlines ten transformative rules for being productive, brave, generous, and open.
It talks about broader life lessons about work, the etiquette of sharing and the practicalities of the internet life.
It is an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as an artist or an entrepreneur in the digital age.
Show your Work is about “Why generosity trumps genius!”
- It is creatively designed to offer effective strategies to share your work without leaving your comfort zone.
- It is a beginner’s guide to self-promotion without literal promotion.
- Rather than stealing from others, it encourages you in making your work influential enough to be theft-worthy.
9. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
Brilliantly compiled and edited, and filled with detail and anecdote, Daily Rituals is irresistible, addictive, and magically inspiring!
It is a zestful survey of the working habits of some of the greatest minds of the last four hundred years.
This passionate and wise volume is full of quotes and fascinating disclosures about the vagaries of the creative life.
Mason Currey illustrates the habits of nearly 200 choreographers, comedians, philosophers, painters, scientists, writers etc. in a dizzying array.
Daily Rituals is an elucidating and enjoyable compendium!
- Basically, this book is all about the routines brilliant and successful creators adopted and followed.
- It showcases how wonderful artists do meaningful creative work while also earning a living out of it.
- It inspires you to think about creativity and productivity from a completely different perspective.
10. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
Prescriptive and inspirational, The Creative Habit pinpoints how and why artists must actively seek and nurture inspiration.
It reveals much about Twyla Tharp’s struggles, goals, and achievements along with experiences of artists from other disciplines.
It leads you through the painful first steps of scratching ideas, finding the spine of your work, and being productive.
The author not only promotes tried-and-true habits but also encourages you to dig deep within yourself for your answers.
The Creative Habit is for students from all manner of creative arts who wish to make their dreams come true.
- It provides you with thirty-two practical exercises to put your creativity to use.
- Through her personal experiences, the author guides us into cultivating habits that give birth to success.
- It is a reflection of the nature of creativity itself, exploring the influences of inspiration and rigorous study.
11. Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie
A business “cult classic”, Orbiting the Giant Hairball is an empowering and entertaining look at the human creativity.
Gordon Mackenzie tells us his knowings about creativity and his learnings about the creative process in a corporate setting.
In this deeply hilarious book, he shares the story of his own professional evolution.
Orbiting the Giant Hairball outlines how creativity is crucial for any business to succeed.
A must-read for any manager looking for new ways to invigorate employees, or any professional wanting to achieve his best!
- This piece of work provides you with lessons for awakening and fostering your creative genius.
- It inspires you to slip the bonds of corporate normalcy and dream and dare to rise to the orbit.
- It serves to open your mind to think differently about creativity and organizations.
12. Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
Imagine, being a light treatment on the creative process, spurs ideas on cognitive, artistic, and social levels.
Jonah Lehrer surveys a number of fascinating aspects of creativity like insight, novelty, hard work, teamwork, and environment.
It explains and highlights psychological phenomena with physiological causes.
It is a treasure trove of ideas and well-crafted reviews of creativity from various sciences encompassing neurology to sociology.
Imagine helps you to innovate faster and uncover your unique ability to generate ideas!
- This book illustrates how creativity works.
- It explains the creative process based on quality scientific research.
- It enables you to understand your creative abilities and repeat it for a better efficiency.
13. Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory
Filled with encouragement, Art Before Breakfast teaches you to develop a creative habit and lead a richer life through art.
The exceptional guide, packed with signature can-do attitude, serves you a hearty helping of inspiration.
It is for all those who want to inculcate creativity but just can never seem to find the time.
Danny Gregory serves us ideas that take no more than a quarter hour a day to execute.
Full of humor and empathy, Art Before Breakfast tells you how to banish self-doubt that undermine your best intentions.
- It offers 5-10 minute exercises for every skill level that fits well into your busy schedule.
- This practical book trains you to draw daily just for ten minutes until it becomes an ingrained habit.
- It provides practical techniques and strategies for making work exciting, unintimidating, and fulfilling.
14. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
Powerful and compelling, Creative Confidence unleashes the creativity that lies within each and every one of us.
A myth-busting, muscle-building gem of a book that identifies the principles that allow you to tap into your creative potential.
It is an incredibly entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from the authors’ work.
Tom and David Kelly describe a way of thinking that will change your personal and professional life.
A rare combination of thought leadership, soulful storytelling, and real-life exercises that inspire you to reclaim your creative courage!
- It shatters the false belief that only some people are creative and shows us how everyone is a creative soul.
- This piece of work helps you to be more productive and successful in your life and career.
- It provides a smart, practical action plan for boosting your innovative capacities.
15. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity by David Lynch
David Lynch discusses the techniques with which he expands his consciousness, catches ideas, and gives form to abstraction.
The author talks about his strategies for living a life as an artist and his artistic endeavors.
It showcases us the significance of understanding things like depression and how to overcome it.
It propagates progressive thinking with regards to the many benefits of transcendental meditation.
Catching the Big Fish communicates the powerful creative vitality you can tap through meditation.
- It points out the importance of healthy living, doing meditation, and being your natural self.
- This book consists of short snippets that connect with you mentally.
- It is a refreshing take on creativity showing us how to develop fresh ideas.
16. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: The world’s best selling book by Paul Arden
It is a pocket “bible” for the talented and timid to make the impossible possible and the unthinkable thinkable!
Paul Arden shares his wisdom on issues like problem-solving, responding to a brief, playing your cards right, and making mistakes.
It is a quirky compilation of quotes, facts, and wits, packed into bite-sized, easy-to-digest spreads.
It conveys you that ambition, and not just mere ability, is the key to success in this world.
Basically, this book is a startlingly refreshing collection of thought-provoking pearls of wisdom!
- It is a handbook on how to succeed not just in advertising but in business generally.
- It provides a one-of-its-kind insight into the world of advertising.
- This book is a little manifesto that reminds you nothing is impossible.
17. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
Where Good Ideas Come From is all about generating breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives.
Steven Johnson identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation and traces them across time and disciplines.
He investigates various innovation hubs and pulls out their approaches that seem to appear at the moments of originality.
It helps us in stimulating great ideas and synthesizing it into a success recipe.
Where Good Ideas Come From delivers a sweeping look at innovation spanning the human history.
- It is an eye-opening handbook that helps you spark your creativity and innovation.
- It demonstrates how the human brain works and how do some of the best ideas generate.
- This book reflects the strengths and weaknesses of the internet age.
18. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod
Ignore Everybody expands on the Hugh Macleod’s sharpest insights, wittiest cartoons, and most useful advice.
He argues for creativity in a complicated world and steps for personal creativity.
It focuses on new ideas and inspirations emerging in a cynical, risk-averse world.
The author has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life but most importantly creativity in this living.
After learning the forty keys to creativity, you will be ready to unlock and unleash your own brilliance!
- It inspires you to stop waiting for a miracle and find a new business model.
- It instructs you that your sovereignty over your work is far more important than the actual content.
- This book is a series of tips designed to turn creatives into artists.
19. Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims
Little Bets motivates you to deliberately experiment and take small exploratory steps in novel directions.
It talks about making methodical little bets, learning from failures, and having small but significant wins.
Studies ranging from the psychology of creative blocks to the field of design thinking, it offers illuminating accounts of breakthrough innovators.
Peter Sims inspires you to challenge the status quo and discover extraordinary possibilities in any endeavor you are engaged.
Bustling with examples from comedy to architecture, Little Bets outlines how a big idea takes shape through many small discoveries.
- This book unleashes our untapped creative powers.
- It is a fascinating and revealing journey through the real-life dynamics of the creative process.
- It is a roadmap to success in the 21st century, changing the way you think.
20. Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America’s Master Communicator, George Lois by George Lois
Damn Good Advice is an insight into the mind of George Lois, a legendary creative thinker!
It is a timeless guide providing practical advice, facts, and inspirations to all those looking to succeed in life.
Organized into inspirational, bite-sized pointers, it offers fresh vision about the sources of success.
It is a legendary career book full of rules to live by for aspiring creatives.
Moving, punchy, and to-the-point, Damn Good Advice is for anyone on a quest for success!
- It helps you in identifying your strengths and moreover identifying yourself.
- Fresh, witty, and in-your-face, it teaches you the course of creativity.
- It broadens an artist’s and entrepreneur’s perspective on the creative world.
Do You Know Any Other Books On Creativity? Share With Us Below!
Personally, I think I already curated the best creativity books available today.
All you need to do is buy one of the 20 books above or even buy the 3 most recommended books to get started.
But, if you think I’m missing something, feel free to share your thought on the comment section below.