What was the last book you read? A thriller you picked up in an airport bookstore? A highly acclaimed work of literary fiction? A book of business advice by a famous CEO?
Great choices, all of those – but when’s the last time you read a book that gives you solid advice on building up your creativity?
That’s what these books will do. So the next time you find yourself stuck on a product idea, struggling on your product’s marketing campaign, or just generally creatively stifled, pick one up and let the creative juices start flowing.
- Creative Confidence offers creative thinking exercises and tactics that will help you put your most creative foot forward.”, by Tom Kelley and David Kelley.
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger.
- Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, by Jocelyn K. Glei.
- Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer.
- The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman.
- Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step-by-Step, by Edward de Bono.
- Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
- The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life, by John Maeda.
- The Creative Priority: Putting Innovation to Work at Your Business, by Jerry Hirshberg
- Process: 50 Product Designs from Concept to Manufacture, by Jennifer Hudson.
The Kelley brothers are the duo behind IDEO, an international design and consulting firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. Arguing that every one of us is creative – not just those in the “creative” professions – Creative Confidence offers tactics and ways of thinking that will help you put your most creative foot forward.
Technically, this is a marketing book – but it’ll give you excellent food for thought as you’re working on your next big product idea. Berger is a Wharton School of Business marketing professor, and he’s studied what makes things popular – including what makes products get word-of-mouth advertising.
Who among us doesn’t struggle with daily distractions? Glei’s book offers practical advice for building a productive, solid routine that will give you the freedom to invest in your creative work, while still managing the rest of your daily priorities.
Lehrer, like the Kelley brothers, believes fervently that creativity is something every one of us can cultivate, and this book shows you how. Using engaging storytelling and concise, useful tips, Lehrer’s book will help you understand how to cultivate your own creative mind.
A classic must-read for anyone who designs – well, anything – this book goes into the why’s and how’s of great design, showing just how important it is to the human experience.
Written in 1970, this is a classic book on the alternative to “vertical thinking,” or the traditional way we’re taught to approach problems: head-on, sequentially. As de Bono says, the approach works fine for simple situations, but complex issues require something different. With lateral, or creative thinking, you’re encouraged to free up your imagination and look at things from a variety of angles.
You know how runners talk about a “runner’s high”? In a sense, that’s what Csikszentmihalyi means by “flow”: the state of being highly aware, highly focused, and completely involved in what you are doing. It’s not something many of us experience often, but Csikszentmihalyi’s book shows you how you can achieve this state on demand.
In this short, 100-page book, graphic designer and MIT professor Maeda sets forth 10 principles of simplicity that will help you identify the extraneous in your own designs – as well as various other aspects of your life and work. It’s a quick, satisfying read.
Written by the founder and president of Nissan Design International, The Creative Priority tells the engaging story of one of the most innovative automotive companies in the world. At the same time, Hirshberg offers principles and strategies for making creativity a priority in your own team, department, or company.
A fascinating read for anyone interested in product design, Hudson’s book selects 50 items from around the world and takes you through every step of their design and production process. You’ll see unique materials used in unorthodox ways, new technology at work, and complex manufacturing processes explained.
Want to read more about how to improve creativity? Read our blog posts 6 TED Talks to Inspire Inventors and Product Designers, What’s the Advice from 6 Creative Geniuses?, and 5 Enjoyable Ways to Increase Your Creative Thinking.