The best books to feed your creativity

Cathy Pickens Author Of Create! Developing Your Creative Process
By Cathy Pickens

Who am I?

Creativity is a practical, problem-solving, risk-taking endeavor, something we all do, whether we claim it or not. After working for many years with groups of graduate business students, artists, writers, business professionals, women in recovery, men in prison, with those just discovering their creative ability—and with myself and my own creative journey, I realize the question isn’t “Am I creative?” The question is “Am I using it?” or “Am I continuing to grow?” Nothing is more exciting than watching others as they realize just how creative they are.

I wrote...

Create! Developing Your Creative Process

By Cathy Pickens,

Book cover of Create! Developing Your Creative Process

What is my book about?

What is creativity, exactly? In what ways am I creative? How can I be more creative? What is my own personal creative process? If I could be more creative, what would it mean for my personal life and career?

Create! is a six-step guide to developing your individual creativity, a roadmap tested and enthusiastically endorsed by hundreds of workshop participants, from those who already defined themselves as creative to those who didn't (yet). With author and creativity expert Cathy Pickens as your guide, you'll discover your best creative process and, if you're not careful, a whole lot about your creative self.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Why did I love this book?

For me, Madeleine L’Engle’s novels, especially her fantasy A Wrinkle in Time, were enriched when I came across her writing about her creative process and the role her spiritual faith played in her work. L’Engle was a Christian, but she wasn’t afraid of questions—she didn’t think anyone should be. I re-read this book periodically, to refill my creative well with words from a wise voice about how our creative work should be an integrated part of our whole lives.

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Walking on Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic book,Madeleine L'Engle addresses the questions, What does it mean to be a Christian artist? and What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L'Engle's beautiful and insightful essay, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one's own art.

Book cover of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

Why did I love this book?

For many years, I taught in a graduate school of business. Daniel Pink’s book is a well-researched argument about why all of us—especially those of us who don’t think we’re creative—need to (1) realize we are creative, (2) develop the creative abilities we have, and (3) recognize those abilities as our competitive advantage, in our work lives as well as our personal lives.

By Daniel H. Pink,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Whole New Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a book that you have to read. A Whole New Mind is a groundbreaking look at how we should live our lives in a world turned upside down by rising affluence, the outsourcing of good jobs abroad, and the computerization of our lives a world fast shifting from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. Lawyers. Accountants. Radiologists. Software engineers. That's what our parents encouraged us to be when we grew up. But Mum and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person - a person with a very different kind of mind.…

If You Want to Write

By Brenda Ueland,

Book cover of If You Want to Write

Why did I love this book?

Many of us are a bit afraid of stepping out and trying something new. That applies especially with creative work. “I’m just not that good,” we tell ourselves—or voices from our past tell us. Brenda Ueland was a long-time Chicago creative writing instructor, and her little book is strong encouragement (and a bit of a kick in the pants) about risk-taking and learning about our super-powers in the process.

By Brenda Ueland,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked If You Want to Write as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1938, this classic by Brenda Ueland is considered by many to be one of the best books ever written on how to be a writer. Part a lesson on writing and part a philosophy on life, Ueland believed that anyone could be a writer and everyone had something important to say. Heavily influenced by the ideas of William Blake, Ueland outlines 12 points to keep in mind while writing and encourages writers to find their true, authentic selves and write from there. Born in Minneapolis in 1891 to a progressive household, Ueland’s father was a lawyer and…

Book cover of The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Why did I love this book?

Modern dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp encourages the discipline of creativity. She illustrates both the play and the hard work that went into creating her dance works—and shows how her life’s lessons can be applied to any of us, if we really want to be productive creatives.

By Twyla Tharp,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Creative Habit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes someone creative? How does someone face the empty page, the empty stage and making something where nothing existed before? Not just a dilemma for the artist, it is something everyone faces everyday. What will I cook that isn't boring? How can I make that memo persuasive? What sales pitch will increase the order, get me the job, lock in that bonus? These too, are creative acts, and they all share a common need: proper preparation. For Twyla Tharp, creativity is no mystery; it's the product of hard work and preparation, of knowing one's aims and one's subject, of…

Book cover of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

Why did I love this book?

While not a book explicitly about creativity, it opened my eyes to how our brains work, how we can make them work better, and what we’re just going to have to live with. For instance, “multi-tasking” is really a myth—some brains just switch from one task to another faster and women are better at that than men, something rooted in our evolutionary development. And our brains are hardwired for movement, particularly walking. Developmental neurobiologist Medina offers plenty of food for creative brains.

By John Medina,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Most of us have no idea what's really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know--like the need for physical activity to get your brain working its best. How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget--and so important to repeat new knowledge? Is it true that men and women have different brains? In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in creativity, creative thinking, and writer's block?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about creativity, creative thinking, and writer's block.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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