Creating works of art isn’t easy. It involves a lot of hard work and seemingly uneventful days unless you have a proper system. You don’t know what you don’t know, so I’m sharing with you the top 10 best books on creativity. If you’re a book lover like me get ready because we’ve got some heaters today.
By reading any of these you will be looking through the window of a successful creative, peering over their shoulder, and gaining revelatory insight. Shhh…just be quiet, you don’t want them knowing you are taking their secrets. These books will get your creative juices flowing and make you eager with anticipation to jump right into that project you’ve had in mind or solve that problem.
There’s no reason you can’t be that bestselling author who can inspire readers, that award-winning artist who moves people, that lauded fashion designer who sets a new trend. You have the creative potential within yourself, that part of you just needs feeding. Over time you will develop the creative confidence to overcome any and all obstacles that present themselves.
I know you will get great ideas, boost your creativity and problem solving abilities from these books as well as a good creative habit system to get out of any creative rut you may find yourself in the future. I consider this to be a list of inspirational books that will help you strive for the highest level. So let’s get into it!
What are the 10 best books on creativity?
1. The Holy Bible
There’s a reason this book is the number one sold book worldwide. It has changed more lives than any other book that could possibly exist. Crafted and written by the Living God, of which all things came, this book is a library of truth tucked inside stories of creation, victory, defeat, life, death, and resurrection.
It speaks of the truth beyond what we see in our world and reveals the path of eternal and everlasting life. It does not force you to follow its teachings but presents you with the choice of choosing life or choosing death. We will all choose one or the other but this book has been given for us to inherit eternal life.
2. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield
With inspiration from the legendary battle strategy book, The Art of War, used by historians and CEOs alike, The War of Art with the same tone reveals the often hidden forces that stop us from producing the best work and lays out a battle plan on how to conquer the enemies of our creativity.
Steven Pressfield eloquently identifies the enemies of resistance that stops us from giving to the world what God has put in us. We have so much to give but are often times almost unknowingly defeated by the enemies, like self doubt, that stop us from being our best self. This is a very enlightening book to overcome any obstacle of resistance that tries to keep you in chains.
3. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
One of the hardest yet most crucial habits for anyone, especially artists and creatives, is focus. This easy-to-read book so wonderfully explains using interesting stories how the results we desire are just beyond the choice of less and not of more.
Focus brings intensity and intensity is what moves mountains. As a creative designer and artist my vision involves strong and meaningful art that delivers strong and meaningful results. Therefore this book has been paramount to structuring my life in a way that I can get the most out of it.
This is a phenomenal book describing the six senses that creative people tap into much more strongly than most of society. The right hemisphere of the brain controls the artistic, empathic and creative side.
A Whole New Mind lays out the importance of creative thinking by looking at the trend the world is moving toward. The competitiveness of our culture is now being driven by creatives, while the left-brain logic and reasoning is being pushed down to low-salary workers and artificial intelligence. Just as manual labor which was once prized in our society, now art and creativity is the most prized commodity. Now with AI like ChatGPT and a myriad of others, logistical processing is moving down the ladder of priority and creativity is moving up.
This is a great book if you want to be aware of the senses highly creative people tap into, and improve your own artistic flare. This will drastically drive up your importance in society no matter what industry you work in.
5. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” by Ed Catmull
Ed Catmull takes you behind the scenes of Pixar animation studios into the boardroom meetings and the ideas that made them who they are today as one of the most successful studios in the world. From Toy Story to Monsters Inc. to Finding Nemo, Pixar has cemented their legacy on the shoulders of their creative process.
They ensure its protection with their unique management and leadership style. Ed has laid out the philosophies they use to nurture their creativity and thus thrust themselves ahead of their constricted competition. Creative thought has to be fostered in an accepting environment to thrive. Don’t let your own mind restrict yours.
6. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
Tim Ferris sheds light on the everyday strategies and guiding wisdom in bite-sized form that great creative people follow. The people he has studied in this book solve problems for a living and the problems they have to solve are so intricate in complexity and great in size.
The reason they can succeed is from the wisdom they have gained and the tactics they use. I would definitely recommend this easy to read book where you can jump around to anyone in it and discover their secrets. Consider it a library of advice. This book explores the light which guides the lives of these titans.
Creativity is a habit, not a born-with talent. We might be born with unique inclinations but we are all naturally creative. Creativity is a habit that is formed with dedicated work. In order to start the work you need to know how to work on it in a way that can be powerfully consistent and measurably effective.
In her thirty-five year career as a creative artist and choreographer, Twyla shares thirty two practical exercises that will help you be more creative in your business, your music, your art, your personal life. With the right dedication any door can open for you.
Austin Kleon is a writer and artist speaking on creativity for organizations like Pixar, TedX, Google, SXSW, The Economist. He shares powerful principles on how to take inspiration from anything to create beautiful works of art and break the shackles that hold many of us back.
There is nothing new under the sun and every idea is based on something else. No idea that man has come up with is new and original. Austin rings the freedom bell in this book by freeing up your mind of the traps creatives find within themselves in the digital age, and showing how we can grab hold of inspiration from anywhere and use it as fuel.
Creative thinking is key to the success of any project. I consider bringing what’s in your mind out into reality with great accuracy a success. In Thinkertoys, Michael lays out a plethora of tricks, strategies, and activities you can do to boost your creative thinking. He was a U.S. army officer who organized a team of NATO researchers to discover and categorize all the known methods of creativity. He and his team applied these methods to various NATO problems and found very creative solutions to them.
This book is about giving you toys for your brain, to put it simply. Techniques to get you out of everyday brain mode and into unleashed potential brain mode. I would definitely recommend this book if you want practical advice you can use in your business and personal life.
10. Your Choice
I’m going to throw you a curveball and motivate you to take action on this one. This week I want you to do a little exploration because you might find some hidden gems. Look within a specific industry or someone you admire creatively, and find a book that catches your interest, then buy it and read it. Always remember, the number one investment you could ever make is in yourself.
Human beings are different and that’s what gives us our own voice with a fresh perspective, experience, and knowledge we’ve gained on the creative journey that is unique to us and only us. The major difference between a hobbyist and a professional who’s accessing their potential is the professional has a well-tuned creative process to lean on and grow from.
So get fired up from these creative thinking books, learn the creative processes from profound artists, and adopt them to live the creative life you desire.
Finally, you will be so inspired after reading any of these books you’ll most likely have a great idea come to you in which you should write it down. Make it a habit of writing your ideas. This will start to employ both lateral thinking and vertical thinking without the brain load of creative ideas you’re trying not to forget.
You are a creative person who is capable of solving immense problems and producing beautiful works of art. You just need the strategies to implement and the discipline to stay consistent. The books will give you the strategies and the inspiration but it’s up to you to be disciplined. But have no fear, for it has already been won for you.
Finally, I credit Jesus Christ with giving me all the creativity that I have from Himself. He is the Worthy King.