5 Must-Read Books to Boost Your Creativity

best-books-for-creativity

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I have read more than 200 books in the past two years. Books that travel to different genres and explore the lives of some legendary people. Right from self-help to fantasy, I have read almost every genre. 

However, when I read those books, everyone said, ‘why are you wasting your time reading books when you can go out there and have fun?’

I still don’t know how to answer that one stupid question except to look down on the mystic pages of my books and find wisdom in every little world. It is for the books that I could find myself wrapped in words. It is through the books that I became the kind of writer I always loved reading without doing any course or degree. And it is for the books that creativity flows inside me like a river. 

So, here are 5 books that I believe can boost your creativity too. These 5 books have helped me understand creativity and master the art of it. And I hope after reading this article, you will realize that creativity is everyone’s cup of tea if you know the full recipe. Let’s explore the secret sauce of some of the legendary people so you can be the most CREATIVE version of yourself.

If you are in rush here are the top 3 books to boost your creativity.

Last update on 2022-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Hardcover
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 09/27/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Publishing Group (Publisher)

Last update on 2022-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This list and the entire creative genre are incomplete without Elizabeth’s book, Big Magic. Big Magic, as the name itself suggests, is about finding big magic but under small details that ordinary people ignore.

Elizabeth argues in the book that creativity is nothing but an idea. How common, right? But Gilbert argues that ideas are not just your thoughts. She says ideas are alive, that ideas do seek the most available human collaborator, that ideas do have a conscious will, that ideas do move from soul to soul, that ideas will always try to seek the swiftest and most efficient conduit to the earth believe that inspiration will always try its best to work with you — but if you are not ready or available, it may indeed choose to leave you and to search for a different human collaborator.

In Elizabeth’s words, ‘Creativity is the relationship between human beings and the mysteries of inspiration’

Yes, surprisingly Elizabeth connects creativity to our will to take inspiration and just start working on our goals. If you wait for the perfect idea then the perfect plan and then a perfect execution then ideas will find another person who is ready to take action with full excitement and love.

One of the lessons that stuck with me from Big Magic is ‘have a romantic relationship with creative ideas’

Allow me to explain. Just as you wear your best dress, and best makeup and present yourself with a happy smile when you meet your boyfriend/girlfriend so that they fall in love with you. Similarly, you need to dress well and do your work with all the love and happiness so that creative ideas automatically fall in love with you. It’s like a romantic relationship with creative ideas.

A study also suggests that when you dress well, you feel more excited about your work and thus, it improves your performance. So, we have a scientific reason to back Gilbert’s words as well.

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

Go ahead with Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert if you have no idea what creativity is and how to go about it. You will love the book and me for recommending it.

Click here to buy Big Magic on Amazon.

2. The Practice by Seth Godin

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The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
  • Hardcover Book
  • Godin, Seth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 11/03/2020 (Publication Date) - Portfolio (Publisher)

Last update on 2022-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Who doesn’t want to be creative? But not everyone is creative. Some people are like machines who can do what is told, people who need to have a strict process to follow. However, that kind of work can be done by machines as well. 

Then what are humans for? Obviously to be creative. However, unfortunately, we have made up a belief that creativity is some kind of giant monster that we can win against or a really expensive possession that we can just chase but never have. If you have a belief like this, you are not alone. I had been there as well.

Though The Practice by Seth Godin demolishes the popular belief – creativity is only for certain special people. Godin says creativity is not an inborn gift or talent. He says creativity is rather a skill that can be mastered by anyone who practices it.

“Writers write. Runners run. Establish your identity by doing your work.”

As per Godin, Creativity is not a feeling but an action that anyone can take and become an expert in it. Seth says creativity is like any other skill which can be mastered through one thing – THE PRACTICE: THE HABIT OF CONSTANTLY MAKING AND SHARING CREATIVE WORK.

Here is a three-step formula to practice creativity suggested by Godin in The Practice:

  1. Find Your Tribe: You are the sum of five people you spend your time with. Choose those 5 people based on the kind of creative ideas you want to have.
  2. Acquiring Relevant Knowledge: Garbage in garbages out. Understand this simple philosophy and feed your brain with knowledge and wisdom of your niche so creative ideas automatically swim in your mind.
  3. Practice Consistently: Take out 1 hour at least every day and do your creative work. Don’t focus on the outcome, just be immersed in the flow. “The magic of the creative process is that there is no magic. Start where you are. Don’t stop.”

The Practice is a great book to read if you think you are not born to be creative and to know the exact process Godin follows in his life.

Click here to buy The Practice on Amazon.

3. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

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Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
  • By artist and writer Austin Kleon
  • A collection of positive messages and exercises to realize your artistic side
  • A New York Times Best-seller
  • 10 Things nobody told you about being creative!
  • ERROR:#N/A

Last update on 2022-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My mother used to say ‘stealing is a bad habit’ but my mentor Austin says ‘Stealing is a good thing if you do it like an artist’

We all have a belief that creativity means doing something that is entirely new for the world, something that never existed before in human civilization. And to get such an idea, we keep waiting and cursing ourselves. 

But here is good news, Austin says in his book, Steal like an Artist that there is no such thing as ‘new’ He even says that everything that you need, be it an art piece or a book, is an updated version of what was already there. If you think something is entirely new, you just don’t know the inspiration behind that.

Hence, the first lesson for you is to kick out the belief that you need to create something entirely new. Because everything is already there, You just need to take inspiration from the best minds in the world and do 1% better than them.

For example: Let’s say you want to write a book on self-love. In such a case, read 100s of books on self-love, books by favorite authors, and books by famous authors. Then? Combine the wisdom of those 100 books in one book with your own unique writing style and add a pinch of your personal experiences/perception. Then? There you are with your own book on self-love. That’s what stealing as an artist means.

“What to copy is a little bit trickier. Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.”

So, from now on, just consume a lot of content in your niche and take inspiration. Make things better than they already are. And don’t beat yourself up for creating something new because that is just a myth.

“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use—do the work you want to see done.”

Click here to buy Steal Like an Artist on Amazon.

4. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
  • A great option for a Book Lover
  • Great one for reading
  • Compact for travelling
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2022-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are some authors who bring out the harsh reality of the world and Mihaly is one such author.

If you ever thought ‘why do creative ideas not knock on your doors’ then Mihaly has the answer for you. He says most people do their work with so many distractions and constant disturbances that they never reach the flow state. As a result, their work is shallow. When you keep producing shallow work, you create proof for your brain that you cannot be an expert who creates artistic results.

In Flow, the author says, Flow is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In short, it’s a state of work where you get lost in work so much that you don’t even realize you are hungry. (I just realized I am)

Once you get into the flow state, you will be the most creative person who ever lived on this planet. Every successful person does their work in a flow state or should I say, they become successful because they were in a flow state always.

“Few things are sadder than encountering a person who knows exactly what he should do, yet cannot muster enough energy to do it. “He who desires but acts not,” wrote Blake with his accustomed vigor, “Breeds pestilence.”

If you want to know more about flow state, how to get into a flow state, and most importantly how you can create a flow state environment if your general environment is not in your hands then get your hands on Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Click here to buy Flow on Amazon.

5. Where Good Ideas Come From; The Seven Patterns of Innovation by Steven Johnson

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Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
  • Riverhead Books
  • Johnson, Steven (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 344 Pages - 10/04/2011 (Publication Date) - Riverhead Books (Publisher)

Last update on 2022-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Where Good Ideas Come From describes how the process of innovation is close to evolution and why good ideas have to be shaped over time, build on existing platforms, require connections, luck, and error, and how you can turn something old into something new.

The truth is, good ideas come from the clash of knowledge and speculation that occurs when people from different backgrounds get together and talk. 

“Change favors the connected mind”

If you talk with an uneducated person who has no idea about what you do and how new ideas can change the world then you might just judge others and curse your own life. However, if you talk to someone who has achieved more than you or aspires to change the world then the conversation will spark a bunch of creative ideas that may really have the potential to change the world.

Steven says in his book that good ideas come from a good talk. When two like-minded people come together and just talk with complete presence of mind, and excitement then creative ideas just flow into the conversation without any special efforts. 

Though our world is getting more dependent on mobile phones to have a conversation, if you take one thing from Steven’s book and this blog, learn to talk to people in person. Don’t waste your time on small talk. Don’t expect anything from a conversation. Just sit down over a cup of coffee like you have the desire to do something big and artistic. Talk with all the excitement and love you carry for your work and see how a simple conversation turns into a bank of creative ideas. 

All in all, interact more with people in real life than liking others’ posts on social media and expecting to become creative.

Click here to buy Where Good Ideas Come From on Amazon.

Conclusion

I always thought that creativity is for some extraordinary people and that I can never be creative. However, it is after I keep working on my goals, I have realized creativity is really a skill, a flow state, and an inspiration that we need to find in the process, not in the end result.

These books are more than a diamond for anyone who wants to have a brighter career and become more creative with their work. Pick any one or all and you can thank me later.