Best Books on Creativity: Free Your Mind

Since the dawn of man, there have been scrolls, scribes, and storytelling to give ideas on creativity. After some time, scholars, teachers, or just the general folk wanted to share their creations. This is what leads to the best books on creativity.

In our modern world, we’re always put to the test to see how creative we are. As much as I wanted to say that I could whip some fresh ideas out once in a while, they are far from perfect. I want to be unique, but there’s only so much I can brainstorm without being repetitive or similar to other ideas.

So, how do we know if the book is the best book on creativity? Uniqueness is the key to good creativity, and I’m sure you’re interested in ways you can increase your creativity.

There are endless reading options out there, but not all books are worth the read. To become creative, you need a book that truly embodies the full steps in becoming innovative.

No matter what job you’re working on, a little innovation can always come in handy. Although I can name a hundred other instances where creativity has come in handy, I use creativity to help fuel my writing.

But how can the best creativity books help? Business is just one job you’d expect to think on your feet.

Entrepreneurs need to be quick on their feet and come up with instant solutions. If you’re not creatively or actively thinking, then you may be missing out on practical problem-solving ideas. That’s why I recommend enhancing your creativity through these books on creativity.

It can get tiring reading book after book. I want you to be able to sit back and relax and have an excellent eye-opening read. These recommendations are all recent books that I’ve personally read. I believe that they genuinely can help you improve your creativity.

Best Books on Creativity

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency

Sorrell, CEO of the communications house/ad agency, WPP, has a rather eclectic mix this summer:

  • Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency—James Andrew Miller
  • Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes—Richard Davenport-Hines
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future—Ashlee Vance

Sir Martin Sorrell
CEO/WPP
Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace

It’s difficult to say what business book is my favorite, as they all appeal to me in different ways. I’d say that the most influential book on my early career was Orbiting The Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie. It was an insider look at creative leadership from the former creative director at Hallmark, and helped me open up to the effects of bureaucracy on creativity and how to surmount them.
Todd Henry
Founder of Accidental Creative
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I read a bunch of books on writing before I wrote my first book and the two that stuck with me were Stephen King’s book and “On Writing Well” by Zinsser (which is a bit on the technical side). I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.”
Mark Manson
Founder/MarkManson.net
The Rise of the Creative Class

The Rise of the Creative Class

Question: What books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path?

Answer:

  • Anything by Peter Senge.
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
  • Once you are Lucky, Twice you are good – Sara Lacey
  • Revolutionary Wealth – Alvin Toffler
  • Black Swan – Taleb
  • Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change, by Ellen Pao.
  • Creative Class – Richard Florida
  • Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace
  • Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
  • American Government 101: From the Continental Congress to the Iowa Caucus, Everything You Need to Know About US Politics – Kathleen Spears
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
  • Any book by Herman Hesse
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Audrey Russo
President & CEO/Pittsburgh Technology Council
A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life

Question: What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why?

Answer:

  • 7 Habits Highly Effective People - life blueprint
  • Swim with the Sharks - realize people and how you relate to them are key
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People - a classic that matters a lot in our digital world
  • A Curious Mind by Brian Grazier - we all need to put curiosity higher as a priority
  • Peak Performers, by Charles Garfield - examples of greatness

Most of these books are 25 years old or more (Not A Curious Mind).... But the books you read when you are young set the patterns and habits that impact you. I read these when young and they had real impact on my succes

Thom Singer
Podcaster/Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do
Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others

Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others

It opened my eyes that you don’t really need to be born with a “talent” to actually become creative, that creativity is a process that can be learned, and this is something I did apply.
Nicolas Jouvenceau
CEO/Pink Diamonds Boutique
Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age

Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age

I read it after I finished an MA in Writing and it was exactly what I needed to burst my bubble. I loved it because it questioned everything and it perfectly matched my skepticism towards creative writing courses. Regardless of my amazing experience within the creative writing masters, nobody can teach you how to write, but somebody can definitely teach you how to rewrite and how to read. In a world where everybody urges you to be original, creative, Goldsmith states that you can totally be creative with somebody else’s work with a little help from the Internet: word processing, databasing, recycling, sampling, appropriation, coding (‘Pure Poems’ written by Shigeru Matsui in alphanumeric binaries), plundering, programming, and even plagiarizing. Yes, plagiarizing. The most eloquent example (I love it) is this essay entitled ‘The Ecstasy of Influence: A plagiarism’. Jonathan Lethem brilliantly shows us that nothing is original in literature – all ideas has been shared, recycled, stolen, quoted, translated, re-translated, imitated, pirated, patch written, re-written and so on. The essay is the perfect example for this – not a single word or idea belongs Jonathan Lethem. Everything is borrowed from others’ books, ideas, writings. Goldsmith even taught the ‘Uncreative Writing’ course at the University of Pennsylvania where students were not allowed to bring to the class any trace of originality and creativity.
Alina Varlanuta
Creator/The Hole in Your Head
Write. Publish. Repeat.: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success

Write. Publish. Repeat.: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success

Sean Platt has a good book that just came out about writing many books. I recommend it. “Write. Publish. Repeat.” I think Sean has published over 50 books. I don’t know because he uses pseudonyms as well.

James Altucher
Founder/StockPickr
Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

This book has everything: new ideas, bold insights, entertaining history and convincing analysis. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world.
Daniel Kahneman
Nobel Prize Winner, Author
Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation

Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation

I have meditated for 49 years and know TM leading light Bob Roth personally, so I can endorse listening to him if you’re interested in meditation. If you’re not, you’re overlooking the most powerful path to equanimity, creativity, and good decision making I know.

PS - I suggest his book “Strength in Stillness”.

Ray Dalio
Founder/Bridgewater Associates
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Also hard to find on audio. I find Steve's voice to be fascinating, and even before I knew him, I was fascinated by listening to him speak his own work. The War of Art is one of those books, at least for me when I finally was exposed to it, I said, 'Why wasn't I informed? Why did it take this long for this book to land on my desk?'... You need to be clear with yourself about what you are afraid of, why you are afraid, and whether you care enough to dance with that fear because it will never go away.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

A highly human exploration of artificial intelligence, its exciting possibilities and inherent limits.
Max Levchin
Co-founder/PayPal, CEO/Affirm, Investor
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)

A time management book. Personally, I like Manage your day-to-day by 99U. It is an extremely quick read, but provides some good insights for those who need some basic guidance regarding time management, especially in creative fields.
Andrew Elliott
Founder/GoDesignerGo
Make Enemies & Gain Fans: The Snask way of becoming a Successful Creative Entrepreneur

Make Enemies & Gain Fans: The Snask way of becoming a Successful Creative Entrepreneur

When asked what books he would recommend to youngsters interested in his professional path, Ryan mentioned Make Enemies & Gain Fans.
Ryan Len
Founder & Design Director/The Workbench
A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative

A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative

Nothing has ever pushed me into a different career path but A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech can really alter how you think. It's a very fun book to read because Roger is constantly throwing puzzles at you and systematically training you on how to be more of an independent and creative thinker.
Nick Janetakis
Founder/NickJanetakis.com
Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers

Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers

Skimmed in the past, rereading. It has great examples of frameworks that help move you from fuzzy ideas to tangible output.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
B.S., Incorporated

B.S., Incorporated

I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It harpoons the bloated, mindlessly self-destructive tendencies of American corporations. But it’s also a human story. Which is why--despite the absurdity and arrogance and plain ol’ stupidity on display at BSI--I’d kind of like to work there. Are they hiring?
Bill Anderson
President/One Voice Creative Media
A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science

A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science

A good teacher will leave you educated. But a great teacher will leave you curious. Well, Barbara Oakley is a great teacher. Not only does she have a mind for numbers, she has a way with words, and she makes every one of them count
Mike Rowe
CEO/MikeRoweWorks Foundation, Former TV Host/Dirty Jobs
The Ordinary Leader: 10 Key Insights for Building and Leading a Thriving Organization

The Ordinary Leader: 10 Key Insights for Building and Leading a Thriving Organization

Finally, a leadership book that I can relate to this book is full of practical and accessible strategies.

Dave Llyod
CEO/Square One Construction

We'd love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.