Books That Will Help You Think Outside The Box & Do Things Differently

There are plenty of books about creativity, famous libraries have a whole section dedicated to it, with thousands of titles currently available. To narrow it down a bit, here are our top must-reads to get your creative journey a kickstart.

6 min read

The creative process can be a bit of a mystery. No matter how many times you try to explain it, there will always be those who ask, “How do you come up with all these ideas?”

It’s not easy to explain the creative process (which is why many books are written on it). But there are some things you can do to improve your thinking skills and help develop fresh ideas. Reading about creativity is a great way to inspire yourself, learn about what others have done in your field and motivate yourself to do your best work yet.

There are plenty of books about creativity, famous libraries have a whole section dedicated to it, with thousands of titles currently available. To narrow it down a bit, here are our top must-reads to get your creative journey a kickstart.

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Thinking fast and slow
The laws of Simplicity

  • Thinking Fast and Slow

Creativity is stifled by slothful thinking. Nobel Prize-winning economistDaniel Kahneman discusses how the brain actually has two distinct thinking systems in his book Thinking Fast and Slow. System 1 lets us make fast decisions based on intuition, while system 2 is more deliberative and slower. Quick, emotional decisions can be helpful for creativity on occasion, but most of the time we need to step back and reevaluate, using the second technique.

  • The Laws of Simplicity

One of the best graphic designers in the world and a professor at the MIT Media Lab is John Maeda. He puts forward ten simple design guidelines in The Laws of Simplicity, which creatives, designers, and entrepreneurs may use to strike the correct balance between simplicity and complexity in their works.

The war of Art
Steal like an artist

  • Steal Like an Artist

Following the success of a speech he gave to students, Austin Kleon wrote Steal Like an Artist. The idea is that nothing is truly innovative because it has all been done before. Instead, embrace who you are and how your unique talent may add your own distinctive style to the world.

  • The War of Art

The warrior metaphors used in this book will make sense to everyone who engages in any form of creativity. You are always immersed in a conflict with yourself over how to get past obstacles to creativity, prevail, and keep going. Author Steven Press field depicts this conflict as one that can be won with perseverance and hard work in his book The War of Art. If you keep fighting against the inertia that stifles your creativity, success will come as a byproduct of your efforts.

Keep your lights on
Manage your day-to-day

  • Keep Your Lights On!

In Keep Your Lights On!, Yoris Sebastian highlights a concept that is frequently overlooked: innovation is necessary and desired everywhere. While we may focus on the big concepts, the biggest differences are frequently brought about by the simplest adjustments.

  • Manage Your Day-To-Day

Manage your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Glei is a collection of wise counsel from some of the most eminent creative minds in the world, similar to several of the books on this list. The book focuses on developing a practical routine to increase your daily productivity and creativity.

The creative habit
The opposite mind

  • The Creative Habit

Twyla Tharp has worked tirelessly to cultivate a habit of creativity, and in her book The Creative Habit, she reveals the lessons she has discovered over the course of her career as a top choreographer. Her book's core message is that creativity must be allowed to play a significant role in your life, but that choice must be made consciously.

  • The Opposable Mind

The main concept of Roger Martin's The Opposable Mind is integrative thinking. Instead of studying the methods of the greats of the past and attempting to emulate them, you should search for the fundamental element of their creative thinking: the capacity to synthesis many excellent ideas and to pose the appropriate questions.

Man's search for meaning
The little spark

  • Man’s Search For Meaning

A book which influences how to live a meaningful life. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl writes about his time in the concentration camps and talks about logotherapy, a school of thought that claims people are driven by a desire for meaning rather than for power or pleasure. Frankl demonstrates that, whatever the circumstances of our existence, we always have the power to decide how to react and derive purpose from our pain.

  • The Little Spark

The main goal of The Little Spark is to remind you of your inner kid again. Adult anxiety merely absorbed it; it never really went away. You can rekindle that flame by following the instructions in Carrie Bloomston's book.

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