The best books for developing innovative and creative thinkers

Who am I?

Dr. Gerhard Plenert has a PhD in Resource Economics and Operations Management, which are fancy words for “a whole lot of math.” He spent 12 years as a university professor and the remainder of his life living and working all over the world in places like Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and of course North America. He has 8 children, and his grandchildren are just starting to get numbered, the last count was 15. He has successfully published over 30 books and close to 200 articles on various business and academic topics. But his loves include Sci-Fi movies like Avatar, Star Trek, and Star Wars, and mysteries like Jason Bourne and James Bond.


I wrote...

The XLs

By Dr. Gerhard Plenert,

Book cover of The XLs

What is my book about?

Finally a Sci-Fi novel that breaks free from traditional, repetitively used, and overworked, themes. Here is a novel that mixes medical experimentation with telepathic alien communication and involves an escape to mysterious hiding places within the earth itself. It describes how these various themes interact and work smoothly together by using three main characters from different parts of the world. The book adds suspense because of the threat of abduction. Additionally, the book gives insight to how this alien world would function, having itself been the subject of an ecological disaster. The book is filled with excitement and suspense as it weaves through the struggles and lives of the main characters and hopefully ends with a “happily ever after” scenario; or does it.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Today and Tomorrow

By Henry Ford,

Book cover of Today and Tomorrow

Why this book?

This book first came out in 1926 but it’s interesting how much of what he teaches in this book is still relevant and lacking in today’s workplace. He is falsely remembered for his operations concepts as if they were more important than the employee, but he stresses over and over again the importance of focusing on the needs of the employee. This is also reflected in his objective of creating a vehicle for the average man, making his life easier and happier. If we would have listened and learned from him long ago we may not be rehearing these same messages again coming from Japanese automakers.

Today and Tomorrow

By Henry Ford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Today and Tomorrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Henry Ford is the man who doubled wages, cut the price of a car in half, and produced over 2 million units a year. Time has not diminished the progressiveness of his business philosophy, or his profound influence on worldwide industry. The modern printing of Today and Tomorrow features an introduction by James J. Padilla, Group Vice President, Ford North America. It also includes an enhanced selection of photos illustrating the processes and facilities Ford covers in the text. Taiichi Ohno acknowledged that a key stimulus to JIT was his close reading of this book. Today, these same ideas are…


The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeffrey Cox,

Book cover of The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

Why this book?

This book focuses on Continuous Improvements by optimizing bottlenecks within an organization. By building structure that supports bottlenecks we can optimize the overall throughput of an organization. This book has been recognized worldwide as an authoritative tool for improvements. What makes the book so successful is its ability to be read as a novel, demonstrating its concepts in a story-like format. 

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeffrey Cox,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Goal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A Graphic Novel version of this title is now available: "The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel"

30th Anniversary Edition. Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, is transforming management thinking throughout the world. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry - even to your bosses - but not to your competitors. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant - or it will be closed by…


Maverick! The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace

By Ricardo Semler,

Book cover of Maverick! The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace

Why this book?

This book discusses how an innovative Brazilian CEO turned his company over to his employees because “they knew more about the business than he did.” It describes how they turned the company around and made it a booming success. The book details the transformation process and explains how it can be applied to other organizations. 


Breakthrough Thinking: The Seven Principles of Creative Problem Solving

By Gerald Nadler, Shozo Hibino,

Book cover of Breakthrough Thinking: The Seven Principles of Creative Problem Solving

Why this book?

This book describes a methodology of thinking that is used in Japan by Toyota for innovation and creativity. It describes a series of principles that are used to discover new ideas and gives examples and stories that demonstrate how these principles have been applied in industries throughout Japan. The “Breakthrough Thinking” methodology has been applied in businesses of all types throughout the world.

Breakthrough Thinking: The Seven Principles of Creative Problem Solving

By Gerald Nadler, Shozo Hibino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breakthrough Thinking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Anatomy of Successful Problem Solving
How do great leaders solve problems differently from the rest of us? In Breakthrough Thinking you will learn the seven steps consistently used by those who solve problems most creatively. By taking an analytical approach, Nadler and Hibino discovered that there is a specific method used to successfully make decisions that is both teachable and duplicable. This program is now presented to you in this volume.
"Finally, we have a beautifully lucid book which tells you how to get from here to there—how to get to 'excellence.'"
—Warren Bennis, co-author of Leaders
"I've used…


Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

By E.F. Schumacher,

Book cover of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

Why this book?

This is a book that is focused on Small Country Economics. It is considered a book on New Age economics, which describes concepts that are more relevant today than they were when the book was first published in 1973. It discusses approaches to production, peace, education, technology, and size from a people/cultural perspective which should be considered extremely relevant in today’s mass production/waste society. 

Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

By E.F. Schumacher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Small Is Beautiful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This New York Times bestselling “Eco Bible” (Time magazine) teaches us that economic growth must be responsibly balanced with the needs of communities and the environment.

“Embracing what Schumacher stood for--above all the idea of sensible scale--is the task for our time. Small is Beautiful could not be more relevant. It was first published in 1973, but it was written for our time.” — Bill McKibben, from the Foreword

Small Is Beautiful is Oxford-trained economist E. F. Schumacher’s classic call for the end of excessive consumption. Schumacher inspired such movements as “Buy Locally” and “Fair Trade,” while voicing strong opposition…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Brazil, creative thinking, and capitalism?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Brazil, creative thinking, and capitalism.

Brazil Explore 41 books about Brazil
Creative Thinking Explore 12 books about creative thinking
Capitalism Explore 101 books about capitalism

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Democracy in Chains, The Ecological Rift, and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team if you like this list.