5 Books That Every Creative Person Should Read

A tunnel made out of books.

As a freelance writer with a demanding day job, I’m always looking for fuel to fill the creativity tank. These 5 books have been vital to keeping my creative fires burning, even after a long work day. Read them to boost your own creativity, and by extension, your creative work output.

Cover of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

This book explores the “spiritual” dimension of creativity, but you don’t necessarily have to be a spiritual person to get something out of it. The most valuable aspect of this book is its focus on getting into the right mindset for creativity. Cameron understands that high levels of creativity come from a place of safety, integrity, and a feeling that anything is possible. This book will help you get there.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman takes as his starting point the idea that the brain has two fundamental modes of operation: fast thinking and slow thinking. As the book unfolds, you learn how to utilize each of these ways of thinking to maximize your creativity and output.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

This groundbreaking book teaches you not only how to be creative — but how to ensure that creative ideas get heard. It draws from hundreds of studies that show that novel ideas and practices change the world. Grant teaches you how to overcome your fear of originality and become an ally to those who want to be as non-conforming as you do.

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

This book is hands down one of the best I’ve read on creativity. From the founders of IDEO this book throws out the old-school idea that creativity can only be found in “creative types” (whatever that means). The authors present an array of strategies that show you how to tap into your creative potential, both in your work and personal lives.

The Book of Doing and Being: Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love, and Work by Barnet Bain

Barnet Bain is known for being a filmmaker as well as a facilitator of inspiring workshops. Here he lays out all of his best strategies for sparking creativity in all areas of your life. Like Cameron in The Artist’s Way, Bain takes a holistic approach, looking at how your feelings, perceptions, and ways of thinking can affect or limit your creativity.

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Freelance writer and editor; dreamer; a believer in helping others to write better and be more creative.

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