100 books like Think Like a Rocket Scientist

By Ozan Varol,

Here are 100 books that Think Like a Rocket Scientist fans have personally recommended if you like Think Like a Rocket Scientist. 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 Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Angela Champ Author Of The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

From my list on accelerating your career.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’ve worked in many professions and industries, a common theme in all my jobs is that I love helping people succeed in their careers. I’ve started or sponsored employee networks that focused on professional development, I’m a certified coach that focuses on propelling a client’s career, and I am a conference keynote speaker on the topics of careers and leadership. Everyone deserves to have a great career that makes them want to jump out of bed on Monday morning and that provides a good living and lifestyle. I love to make that happen!

Angela's book list on accelerating your career

Angela Champ Why did Angela love this book?

I love this book for its idea and evidence that generalists, and not specialists, are often the most successful.

With examples of how those who cross domains are the most impactful inventors, it gives great hope for those broad thinkers who explore diverse experiences and careers to develop skills. It’s validation for those who haven’t quite figured out what they want to be when they grow up, with the idea that “frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers.” 

A must-read for job seekers and for human resources professionals.

By David Epstein,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Range as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fascinating . . . If you're a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you' - Bill Gates

The instant Sunday Times Top Ten and New York Times bestseller
Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A Financial Times Essential Reads

A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize.

From the '10,000 hours rule' to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialization and many…


Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Author Of Every Shot Must Have a Purpose: How GOLF54 Can Make You a Better Player

From my list on improving performance and growth.

Why we are passionate about this?

We have been coaching and learning about peak performance for four decades. To learn from playing golf ourselves, coaching others to play better, and continuously staying curious and learning from others is a mix that we want to keep alive. It’s not only to perform well that matters to us, but that we also grow as a human being. It’s about excellence and wellbeing. What skills, what culture, and what foundation can make that a possibility? Our deepest wish is for all of us to access our own unique possibilities to be good and happy. 

Pia and Lynn's book list on improving performance and growth

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Why did Pia and Lynn love this book?

This book both confirmed and encouraged the best mindset to optimize growth. It’s about learning to create a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Studies have shown that it’s a better way to be successful and happy in life.

“Qualities can be nurtured; our potential is unknown, and failure does not define you. Deal with it, learn, and praise the process."

The main keys are that it’s all about learning, learning, learning…no matter what happens to you. “Yet” is a key word, and hard work is required to succeed. Setbacks are opportunities for growth.

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the renowned psychologist who introduced the world to “growth mindset” comes this updated edition of the million-copy bestseller—featuring transformative insights into redefining success, building lifelong resilience, and supercharging self-improvement.

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this…


Book cover of A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas

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?

Due to a mania for metrics, in recent years educators have been pressured to focus on answers rather than exploring the significance of questions. This imbalance can be very damaging. Students who are only motivated by the questions their teachers pose never become intellectually independent and are unable to fully cultivate their creativity.

A More Beautiful Question tackles this problem head-on and offers an informative and engaging analysis of different types of questions and their uses. I was surprised to find gems in every chapter, even those directed at businesspeople. I often recommend this book to other college professors and those who have read it have found it transformative.

By Warren Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A More Beautiful Question as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To get a great answer, you need to ask the perfect question. Warren Berger revives the lost art of questioning.

In this groundbreaking book, journalist and innovation expert Warren Berger shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool--one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioning--deeply, imaginatively, "beautifully"--can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask "Why?"

Berger's surprising findings reveal that even though children start out asking hundreds…


Book cover of Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen

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 eye-opening and informative book provides vivid examples of small problems that became real tragedies due to inaction, miscommunication, and poor decision-making. By looking upstream to seek and address root causes of problems, we can save money, improve lives, and increase productivity. I loved the gripping examples Dan Heath used in this book. It was as engaging as reading a novel, yet provided substantial information based on careful research.

By Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Dan Heath asks what happens when we take our thinking upstream and try to prevent problems before they happen.

When we shift our energies upstream, we stop dealing with the symptoms of problems and we start fixing problems.

If we can stop crimes from being committed, we do not need to work to 'solve' crimes.
If we can prevent chronic diseases from developing, we do not need to treat these diseases.
If we can provide affordable housing, we do not need to provide shelter for the homeless.
Looking to business, politics, and society, Dan Heath…


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

Anthony D. Fredericks Author Of From Fizzle to Sizzle: The Hidden Forces Crushing Your Creativity and How You Can Overcome Them

From my list on creativity and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was the kid who colored outside the lines and marveled at the special effects of monster movies. Yet, as I grew, I became aware of certain “rules” and “expectations” that seemed to limit my innate creativity. When I became a professional educator, I became even more cognizant of how students’ creativity was shut down. I read tons of books on creativity, but soon discovered that no one had ever written a book on the ingrained practices in family life, education, work environments, and personal beliefs that stamped out our natural creativity. Why do so many people consider themselves as “non-creative?” I wanted to find out…and change the equation.

Anthony's book list on creativity and imagination

Anthony D. Fredericks Why did Anthony love this book?

This is the “Rock of Gibraltar” of creativity books.

First published in 1983, it still stands as the pre-eminent tome of how to infuse more creativity into your life. This is a book I refer to time and time again. Its strategies have helped me address and solve more problems and conundrums than any other book.

From writing my blog for Psychology Today to fixing the kitchen sink to teaching undergraduate student how to think more productively, this book has given me the tools necessary to, not only think outside the box, but create entirely new boxes for most of life’s challenges.

By Roger von Oech,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Whack on the Side of the Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the years, A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD has been praised by business people, educators, scientists, homemakers, artists, youth leaders, and many more. The book has been stimulating creativity in millions of readers, translated into eleven languages, and used in seminars around the world.

Now Roger von Oech's fully illustrated and updated volume is filled with even more provocative puzzles, anecdotes, exercises, metaphors, cartoons, questions, quotations, stories, and tips designed to systematically break through your mental blocks and unlock your mind for creative thinking. This new edition will attract an entire new generation of readers with updated…


Book cover of Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius

Anthony D. Fredericks Author Of From Fizzle to Sizzle: The Hidden Forces Crushing Your Creativity and How You Can Overcome Them

From my list on creativity and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was the kid who colored outside the lines and marveled at the special effects of monster movies. Yet, as I grew, I became aware of certain “rules” and “expectations” that seemed to limit my innate creativity. When I became a professional educator, I became even more cognizant of how students’ creativity was shut down. I read tons of books on creativity, but soon discovered that no one had ever written a book on the ingrained practices in family life, education, work environments, and personal beliefs that stamped out our natural creativity. Why do so many people consider themselves as “non-creative?” I wanted to find out…and change the equation.

Anthony's book list on creativity and imagination

Anthony D. Fredericks Why did Anthony love this book?

Here is another “classic” that should be part of your personal library.

Michalko shares life-changing creative techniques captured from creative “experts” such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Pablo Picasso. With easy-to-follow instructions, you too, can lead a more creative life (and change the world) at home and at work.

The author shows you, in exquisite detail, how to alter your thinking or modify your problem-solving abilities to generate tons of new ideas and tons of satisfying solutions to ongoing challenges.

No matter your occupation, this is a book that will generate an array of new and positive ideas.

By Michael Michalko,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Thinkertoys, this follow up brings innovative creative thinking techniques within reach, giving you the tools to tackle everyday challenges in new ways. 

Internationally renowned business creativity expert, Michael Michalko will show you how creative people think—and how to put their secrets to work for you in business and in your personal life. You don't have to be a genius to solve problems like one. Michalko researched and analyzed hundreds of history's greatest thinkers across disciplines—from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso—to bring the best of their techniques together and to teach you how to apply…


Book cover of The Art of Creative Thinking: 89 Ways to See Things Differently

Anthony D. Fredericks Author Of From Fizzle to Sizzle: The Hidden Forces Crushing Your Creativity and How You Can Overcome Them

From my list on creativity and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was the kid who colored outside the lines and marveled at the special effects of monster movies. Yet, as I grew, I became aware of certain “rules” and “expectations” that seemed to limit my innate creativity. When I became a professional educator, I became even more cognizant of how students’ creativity was shut down. I read tons of books on creativity, but soon discovered that no one had ever written a book on the ingrained practices in family life, education, work environments, and personal beliefs that stamped out our natural creativity. Why do so many people consider themselves as “non-creative?” I wanted to find out…and change the equation.

Anthony's book list on creativity and imagination

Anthony D. Fredericks Why did Anthony love this book?

This slim volume is packed - no packed! - with eighty-nine practical, innovative, and absolutely incredible creativity strategies that will change your life…right now.

This is an absolute bonanza of easy-to-use advice that will fire up your creative engines as no other book. Here you will discover how to approach any challenge in your work or family life.

This is creativity at its best - a wealth of super-charged possibilities from the worlds of writing, music, architecture, painting, technology, and more.

These brief entries include how to surprise yourself, why you should plan to have more accidents, how to contradict yourself more often, how to look forward to disappointment, and how to be more incompetent, among others.

Your thinking will change and so will your approach to any problem.

By Rod Judkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Get ready to get inspired
 
In short and engaging entries, this deceptively simple volume presents examples of creative thinkers from the worlds of writing, music, architecture, painting, technology, and more, shedding light on their process, and showing how each of us can learn from them to improve our lives and our work.

Subjects range from the grueling practice schedule of the Beatles and the relentless revisions of Tolkien, Sondheim, and Picasso to the surprisingly slapdash creation of The Simpsons. You’ll learn about the most successful class in history (in which every student won a Nobel Prize), how frozen peas were…


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 How Creativity Rules the World: The Art and Business of Turning Your Ideas into Gold

Stephanie Blanchard

From my list on running a creative small business.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer who is drawn to entrepreneurs, especially those with creative businesses; they inspire me. I launched a freelance writing business in 2014, but I’ve always wanted to work for a magazine. One day, it finally occurred to me to combine my interests and start a magazine about creative entrepreneurs! I have interviewed over 100 creative entrepreneurs for my magazine. I created this list because I think it can help others interested in starting a creative business.

Stephanie's book list on running a creative small business

Stephanie Blanchard Why did Stephanie love this book?

This book demonstrates that anyone can be creative, regardless of their background, profession, or society’s definition of a creative person.

Even though the examples in the book are largely artists’ stories, Brito presents them in a way that I can apply to my career. The book inspires me to explore new ways of thinking and problem-solving. What resonated with me the most were the examples of artists who faced setbacks but transformed their approaches, ultimately achieving success.

The book also delves into the stories of well-known entrepreneurs who pivoted, providing me with inspiration for sticking with an entrepreneurial project when it gets challenging.

By Maria Brito,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Entrepreneurship Category

Learn to make creativity work for your career.

Anyone, regardless of who you are or what you do, can cultivate the habits, actions, and attitudes that inspire creativity and innovation.

There has never been a more crucial time than now to develop your creativity and your ability to innovate. Coming up with original ideas of value is today's most precious skill.

How Creativity Rules the World shows that, despite contrary beliefs, creativity can be taught and learned by anyone. Creativity is an inexhaustible resource that is the key to thriving in the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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