100 books like The Myths of Creativity

By David Burkus,

Here are 100 books that The Myths of Creativity fans have personally recommended if you like The Myths of Creativity. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Creativity in Business: Based on the Famed Stanford University Course That Has Revolutionized the Art of Success

Matthew E. May Author Of Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking

From my list on creative thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long I can remember, I’ve been an ideas guy. I even like the idea of ideas…I guess that makes me a meta-idea guy. But not just any ideas. Ideas that achieve the maximum impact with the minimum means. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, “I wouldn’t give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity, but I’d give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Creative ideas are the main event of the imagination, and the simpler the better. I've written and published several books, hundreds of articles and blogs, and even had dozens of songs published. But by far my favorite creative accomplishment is winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest in 2008.

Matthew's book list on creative thinking

Matthew E. May Why did Matthew love this book?

Creativity in Business was the book that started it all for me in terms of creativity in business. I had just graduated from The Wharton School with my MBA, and I had no idea that business creativity was even a thing. Or even a possibility. I thought they were entirely different worlds, and never the twain shall meet. In this book, authors Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers made me want to go take their course at Stanford. As soon as they started talking about business as art and silencing the “voice of judgment,” I was hooked.

By Michael Ray, Rochelle Myers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Creativity in Business as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This exploration of innovative thinking in companies of all kinds "shows us how creativity in business can enrich us, and those who work with us." -- Spencer Johnson, co-author, The One Minute Manager


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

Craig Detweiler Author Of Honest Creativity: The Foundations of Boundless, Good, and Inspired Innovation

From my list on creativity and deepening your spirituality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I blame my mother. She took us to the public library every week and let us check out as many books as we could carry. Consequently, reading was a joy rather than a burden. The writing came after I got over my false assumptions about English Lit and Modern Poetry. As a screenwriter, I craft silly stories to make audiences laugh. That’s why I watch movies after an exhausting week. As an author, I gravitate towards non-fiction–trying to reconcile my artistry with my faith. I’ve written about movies, music, video games, technology, and art–with an eye toward lifting our spirits and comforting our aching souls.

Craig's book list on creativity and deepening your spirituality

Craig Detweiler Why did Craig love this book?

I get frustrated by organizations and systems that are so devoted to metrics that they miss the creative opportunities at hand.

Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind flips the script on the AI-driven world we’re inheriting, insisting that the right-brained approach to creativity will unlock a brighter future for us all. I’ve found that his focus on story and design moves audiences far more than spreadsheets and PowerPoints.

Pink reminds us why empathy and playfulness are the kinds of superpowers we must rediscover amid so much machine learning.

By Daniel H. Pink,

Why should I read it?

4 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.…


Book cover of Ingenius: A Crash Course on Creativity

Matthew E. May Author Of Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking

From my list on creative thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long I can remember, I’ve been an ideas guy. I even like the idea of ideas…I guess that makes me a meta-idea guy. But not just any ideas. Ideas that achieve the maximum impact with the minimum means. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, “I wouldn’t give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity, but I’d give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Creative ideas are the main event of the imagination, and the simpler the better. I've written and published several books, hundreds of articles and blogs, and even had dozens of songs published. But by far my favorite creative accomplishment is winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest in 2008.

Matthew's book list on creative thinking

Matthew E. May Why did Matthew love this book?

This book is a practitioner’s guide to applied creativity in business, from yet another Stanford University professor. What is it about Stanford? I learned Design Thinking at Stanford, and I’ve had the honor of spending time with Tina Seelig. In many respects, this book is volume two of Creativity in Business a few decades apart. She introduces a conceptual model she calls the Innovation Engine, which explains how creativity is produced on the inside…our “in-genius,”…but is then influenced by the outside world. For anyone looking to create something from scratch, this book is for you.

By Tina Seelig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Is the ability to creatively tackle problems innate or can it be learned? Like most human traits, both answers are correct. Some people are inherently more innovative than others. But, just like maths, or writing, everyone can improve with practice. Tina Seelig, PhD teaches creativity every day in her courses on innovation at Stanford School of Engineering. After ten years of experience, she confidently asserts that not only can creativity be taught but that there are a clear set of tools, skills and approaches that can unlock anyone's creative potential.

In InGenius, Seelig reminds us that creativity is not just…


Book cover of The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking

Matthew E. May Author Of Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking

From my list on creative thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long I can remember, I’ve been an ideas guy. I even like the idea of ideas…I guess that makes me a meta-idea guy. But not just any ideas. Ideas that achieve the maximum impact with the minimum means. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, “I wouldn’t give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity, but I’d give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Creative ideas are the main event of the imagination, and the simpler the better. I've written and published several books, hundreds of articles and blogs, and even had dozens of songs published. But by far my favorite creative accomplishment is winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest in 2008.

Matthew's book list on creative thinking

Matthew E. May Why did Matthew love this book?

Roger Martin is a mentor. I learned how to think strategically from him, first-hand. In fact, I hated strategy until I met Roger. He is one of the brightest thinkers on the planet. I use his frameworks daily in my work. His concept of integrative thinking, taught while he was dean of the University of Toronto’s progressive Rotman School, is all about the ability to hold two opposing ideas in your head at once. This is the stuff of breakthrough. The challenge is to avoid either/or thinking when considering two different ideas and synthesize them into an altogether new concept that improves on both. It’s like alchemy for the mind.

By Roger L. Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Opposable Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you want to be as successful as Jack Welch, Larry Bossidy, or Michael Dell, read their autobiographical advice books, right? Wrong, says Roger Martin in The Opposable Mind. Though following best practice can help in some ways, it also poses a danger: By emulating what a great leader did in a particular situation, you'll likely be terribly disappointed with your own results. Why? Your situation is different. Instead of focusing on what exceptional leaders do, we need to understand and emulate how they think. Successful businesspeople engage in what Martin calls integrative thinking creatively resolving the tension in opposing…


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

John Beeson Author Of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level

From my list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent many years as a management consultant to a range of big, global corporations, smaller companies, and not-for-profits. I also headed up succession planning and management development at two major companies. I decided to go into this field based on a strong conviction, a conviction that continues today: that leadership counts. Strong leaders benefit people in their organizations and, ultimately, society itself. Having worked with many senior leaders and led organizations myself, I know the range of pressures executives face and how easy it is to fail. Companies need a supply of capable, well-equipped senior leaders, and those who aspire to top-level positions need guideposts about achieving their career aspirations. 

John's book list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level

John Beeson Why did John love this book?

One of the success factors I highlight in my book is leading innovation and change.

Simply maintaining or marginally improving the status quo isn’t enough in most organizations. Many aspiring executives find the requirement to lead innovation intimidating, since by definition it means finding solutions that are different from what they are most familiar with.

Murray illustrates that the vast majority of innovations are not “bolts out of the blue.” Rather, they are often the result of taking a new idea out of one context (for example, a different field or industry) and then building on it.

The implication for me is that the successful executive needs to adopt an external perspective, i.e., looking outside his or her own organization, and find ways to identify new ideas—even if the practical application is not immediately apparent. 

By David Kord Murray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Most of us think that outstanding success derives only from groundbreaking innovation. But we're wrong. In fact, many of the most successful business ideas of our time have come about when someone has borrowed and adapted an idea from somewhere else.

In Borrowing Brilliance, David Kord Murray explains exactly how you can do the same. He demonstrates conclusively that new business ideas are simply combinations of existing ideas, and then sets out to show how you can solve current problems and create new opportunities by learning where to look for ideas and answers. In the process, he takes you through…


Book cover of Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice

Chris Goward Author Of You Should Test That: Conversion Optimization for More Leads, Sales and Profit or the Art and Science of Optimized Marketing

From my list on human behavior and conversion rate optimization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the Founder & CEO of Widerfunnel, and the author of You Should Test That!. I launched Widerfunnel as the "anti-agency" with a purpose to prove that evidence-based decisions get the best results. Today, we run the experimentation, conversion rate optimization, qualitative research, and behavioral science programs for companies such as HP, Microsoft, Dollar Shave Club, The Motley Fool, TaylorMade Golf Company, and many more across all industries. I've spoken at over 300 events globally, sharing case studies, planning frameworks, and best practices of leading growth brands.

Chris' book list on human behavior and conversion rate optimization

Chris Goward Why did Chris love this book?

Every company wants to innovate, but it's not always clear how to do that in practice. Competing Against Luck highlights the importance of understanding what "jobs" your customer "hires" your product to do. The ‘Jobs to be Done Theory’ is one of the best frameworks I have seen to drive toward innovation and product-market fit. In the CRO world, we typically think about optimizing experience, but optimizing the product-market fit is equally as important.

By Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon , David S. Duncan

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Competing Against Luck as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The foremost authority on innovation and growth presents a path-breaking book every company needs to transform innovation from a game of chance to one in which they develop products and services customers not only want to buy, but are willing to pay premium prices for. How do companies know how to grow? How can they create products that they are sure customers want to buy? Can innovation be more than a game of hit and miss? Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has the answer. A generation ago, Christensen revolutionized business with his groundbreaking theory of disruptive innovation. Now, he…


Book cover of Grassroots Innovation: Minds On The Margin Are Not Marginal Minds

Dinesh C. Sharma Author Of The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution

From my list on the history of modern India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist who has strayed into book writing with a particular interest in the history of post-independent and contemporary India. My interest in this subject developed as an offshoot of reporting on landmark changes during the period of economic liberalization in the 1990s. One of the astounding stories of this period was the rise of the technology industry and the outsourcing business. A deeper study of this took me back to the period of independence in 1947 and decades before it.  

Dinesh's book list on the history of modern India

Dinesh C. Sharma Why did Dinesh love this book?

The discourse on modern India is often about achievements in science and technology, R&D in national laboratories, and industry. However, in a country of one billion plus people, innovation is happening not just in formal sectors. Ordinary people – farmers, teachers, students, artisans, school dropouts, homemakers – are constantly innovating to solve everyday problems using frugal means. The book is an account of spotting grassroots innovations, nurturing them, and building networks with formal systems and markets. It is critical to understand this process for a deeper appreciation of contemporary India. 

By Anil K. Gupta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A moral dilemma gripped Anil K. Gupta when he was invited by the Bangladeshi government to help restructure their agricultural on-farm research sector in 1985. He noticed how the marginalized farmers were being paid poorly for their otherwise unmatched knowledge. The gross injustice of this constant imbalance led Gupta to found what would turn into a resounding social and ethical movement-the Honey Bee Network-bringing together and elevating thousands of grassroots innovators.
For over two decades, Gupta has travelled through rural lands, along with hundreds of volunteers of the Network, unearthing innovations by the ranks-from the famed Mitti Cool refrigerator to…


Book cover of Big Little Breakthroughs: How Small, Everyday Innovations Drive Oversized Results

Alison Levine Author Of On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments

From my list on how to tackle life’s mountains.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have firsthand experience in some of the harshest environments on the planet. I’ve survived sub-zero temperatures, hurricane force winds, sudden avalanches…and a career on Wall Street. I served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, climbed the highest peak on every continent (the “7 Summits”), and skied to both the North and South Poles. I spent four years as an adjunct professor at the US Military Academy at West Point. Awarded the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. I have a beer named after me. I love dogs. Three heart surgeries could not slow me down. NY Times bestselling author of On the Edge. I’ve had some high profile failures and have been the butt of late night talk show opening monologue jokes. Come at me!

Alison's book list on how to tackle life’s mountains

Alison Levine Why did Alison love this book?

So often we get “stuck” because we think we have to come up with a really big idea in order to have an impact and to achieve substantial results. Nope! Linkner explains why it is a mistake to put pressure on ourselves to “Go Big.” It’s often the little ideas that lead to the best, most significant results. This book chronicles all kinds of amazingly accomplished people – Lin Manuel Miranda, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, etc. Linkner’s story-telling will convince you to focus on small things and will help you unlock your creativity.

By Josh Linkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Big Little Breakthroughs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A surprisingly simple approach to help everyday people become everyday innovators.

The pressure to generate big ideas can feel overwhelming. We know that bold innovations are critical in these disruptive and competitive times, but when it comes to breakthrough thinking, we often freeze up.

Instead of shooting for a $10-billion payday or a Nobel Prize, the most prolific innovators focus on Big Little Breakthroughs-small creative acts that unlock massive rewards over time. By cultivating daily micro-innovations, individuals and organizations are better equipped to tackle tough challenges and seize transformational opportunities.

How did a convicted drug dealer launch and scale a…


Book cover of The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm

Mary Stewart Author Of Creative Inquiry: From Ideation to Implementation

From my list on for cultivating creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Trained as an artist, through my work as a college professor I became committed to helping others cultivate and expand their creativity. It has always been heartbreaking to hear friends and acquaintances bemoan their lack of creativity simply because they hadn't developed drawing skills. Creativity is a human characteristic that can be developed in any discipline and with practice and encouragement, is available to anyone. In my reading and my writing, I seek a combination of accessibility and substance. If a book is engaging enough to read at the beach yet substantial enough to provide fuel for thought long afterward, it is a winner!

Mary's book list on for cultivating creativity

Mary Stewart Why did Mary love this book?

This book provides a backstage pass into IDEO, one of the top design firms in the world. Combining humor and storytelling with practical advice, it offers insights into their process of innovation, from observation and brainstorming to prototyping and breaking through barriers. Written before design thinking evolved into a major force in education and industry, this book welcomed me into IDEO's world of playful invention.

By Tom Kelley, Jonathan Littman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Innovation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There isn't a business that doesn't want to be more creative in its thinking, products and processes. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, partner at the Silicon Valley-based firm IDEO, developer of hundreds of innovative products from the first commercial mouse to virtual reality headsets and the Palm hand-held, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit.

Kelley shows how teams:
-Research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service
-Examine each product from the perspective of clients,…


Book cover of The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation

William J. Poorvu Author Of The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decisionmaking and Investment

From my list on real estate and wealth-building.

Why am I passionate about this?

Bill Poorvu is a successful real estate investor and developer who for 35 years headed the real estate program at Harvard Business School, where he taught several generations of students, many of whom went on to become industry leaders. He is also one of the founders of the Baupost Group, a Boston-based investment firm that is considered one of the savviest hedge funds in the world, with some $30 billion in assets under management.

William's book list on real estate and wealth-building

William J. Poorvu Why did William love this book?

So where are you going to invest and develop? Antoine Von Agtmael offers a very interesting analysis, in this regard. He points to the advantages of investing in certain kinds of smaller cities, including those with good community colleges, ample affordable housing, a welcoming political environment, and no shortage of abandoned factory buildings that can be easily converted for high-tech uses. This isn’t the only great contemporary context for investment, of course, but it’s a good one to study and understand.

By Antoine van Agtmael, Fred Bakker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Smartest Places on Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Antoine van Agtmael coined the term "emerging markets" and built a career and a multibillion-dollar investing firm centered on these surging economies that would, over time, supplant the West as engines of wealth and prosperity. The trend held for decades, but a few years ago van Agtmael and Alfred Bakker, a renowned European journalist, began seeing signs that the tide might be turning. For example, during a visit to an enormously successful chip company in Taiwan, the company's leaders told them that their American competitors were now eating their lunch. And Taiwan was not the only place giving them this…


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