10 Books We Recommend for the Creative Businessperson

Book Recommendations for Creative Businesspeople

Read Into It 

We recently suggested a slew of podcasts to coax creativity out of even the least inspired business person; given the recent trend towards creativity in business, it seems only natural that those of us who don’t typically tend to be creative would want some guidance as far as how to get inspired, stay motivated, and continue down a creative path even if their job looks like it’s strictly business. 

This post of recommended books is for those who may prefer a long read to a brief listen, though nothing’s stopping you from churning through an audiobook on your commute either—best of both worlds!

Without further ado, here are 10 books we recommend for business people across a variety of categories who find themselves trying to gain, maintain, or sustain that elusive quality of creativity. 

1. If you’ve hit a wall and need to break through…

Inspired by countless conversations with friends and colleagues on their inability to actually bring their creative ideas to life, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is your guide to overcoming the walls and obstacles that are preventing you from achieving creative success. Through Pressfield’s book, you’ll begin to understand that though your level of talent and number of ideas may be immutable, your self-motivation and self-discipline are entirely within your control. By mastering those traits, you can see formidable success.  

2. If you’re flummoxed by how to succeed within a group…

Working in a group may go either way; creativity could flourish, or it could be stifled. It all depends on the group dynamic.

Read The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle to spark creativity, cohesion, and collaboration, understanding how even the most diverse groups can come together to aspire towards a single goal. 

3. If you are struggling with managing people, or struggling with your manager…

The 2017 book Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott was such a global phenomenon that an updated 2nd edition is on its way (slated for publishing in early October 2019). With the lofty aim to rid the world of bad bosses, Radical Candor is also an excellent blueprint for actionable success within even the most rigid management structures. Borrowing upon Scott’s wisdom from her time at Google and Apple, it’s also full of insight on how to work within the context of creative business. 

4. If you want to learn from the example of one of the most creative companies of all time…

Written by Pixar Animation’s cofounder, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull is hailed as a must-read for anyone who strives to be original and creative, and doubles as a riveting inside peek at one of the most compelling (and creative) company cultures worldwide- Pixar, home to some of the world’s most successful movies for 20 years and counting. 

5. If you could benefit from a pep talk…

From the self-described “writer who draws” author of  Steal like an Artist and Show Your Work, Keep Going by Austin Kleon is a perfect pep talk for anyone who feels their creativity dwindling and needs some inspiration to keep it going strong –while staying focused and keeping your work authentic. 

6. If you know you could be more creative if it weren’t for having poor habits, or no habits…

The next book we recommend, Mind Hacking: How to Rewire Your Brain to Stop Overthinking, Create Better Habits and Realize Your Life Goals by Jennifer Ferguson, is a great read on harnessing the principles of neuroplasticity to decimate negative thought patterns, reroute unhelpful impulses, and build your brain power to give you more control over your life’s path. 

7. If you’ve been told your ideas are too “out there” but you know better…

Most creatives have heard “That’s crazy!” in response to an idea or two. What happens when those ideas are supported and welcomed?

Written by a physicist and entrepreneur, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall is a fascinating focus on radical ideas and the structures that nurture them in ways that can literally change the world. 

8 & 9. If you feel like you’re uncertain about your purpose…

The pair of bestselling books Start with Why and Find Your Why by Simon Sinek have resonated with millions and prompted a veritable movement to become more inspired while at work, while in turn inspiring others. Sinek’s TED Talk on the topic is the 3rd most popular TED talk of all time- his work presents the concept of The Golden Circle: that leaders with the greatest influence in the world all “think, act, and communicate the same way—and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does.” 

10. If you want a quick read, with (bonus!) cartoons…

Flip open the wonderfully whimsical Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh Macleod – expounding on words of wisdom like “Put the Hours In” and punctuating each insight with a witty doodle, this book was borne out of Macleod’s days living in a YMCA, trying to make a living as a copywriter, and whiling away his hours cartooning on the backs of business cards. Eventually his drawings became a blog that attracted tons of attention—Macleod is now finds a creative director for a “culture design group” with the mission to transform work culture and make it more meaningful.

Use these books to jump-start your creative process in any aspect of your business.

Then tell us what worked – what takeaways made an impact on your work?

What books would you recommend?

What are you left wondering about in bringing creativity into your business?

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