Some readers have been asking for a list of my favourite books on creativity. This exchange has taken place privately, over email, but I thought it may be of interest to others.
I’ve not read every book on creativity, so I’m just going to list the top 3 that have had a significant impact on either my creative output or mindset.
1. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
The way that this book is formatted helped me put the information contained within each chapter into action. The book is square, full of illustrations and broken down into ten steps as the below image shows. It offers practical advice as well ideas and best practices for approaching creative projects. The general idea I heard repeated throughout this book was to always create work that matters you to, and that you are interested in. Not what you think will be interesting to others, or go vial. My favourite line from the book captured this thought perfectly: ‘Write the book you want to read’, this inspired one of my previous blog entries as it struck a chord in me.
2. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
I found this book to offer the most practical advice of the 3, a chapter of which is why I started writing and publishing daily blog posts (daily dispatch). It provides many concepts and systems to share your work and build an audience around what you love, many of these ideas I have implemented into my work with great success. Much like ‘Steal Like an Artist’ this book is broken down into ten steps, making it an easy, 1 hour read for most.
3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
This book is broken down into three chapters, resistance, combating resistance, and beyond resistance. You’ll have noticed the common theme, resistance. If you struggle with procrastination, this book will be invaluable to you. Pressfield argues that resistance is the real enemy of creative work and that the hardest part of any creative project is getting started.
The wonderful thing about books is that even though everyone reads the same text, we all come away with a very different interpretation gathered from the pages.