There are a small selection of books that I keep recommending to people (creatives and ‘non-creatives’ alike – in my mind everyone is creative in some way) that I think are worth reading whatever field you are in. To me a good creative book is one that is a well crafted interesting read, stuffed full of genuinely useful practical tips and is so inspiring that you have to keep putting it down to go get your creative stuff done! So in that vein here are:
Five of my favourite creative books that I think everyone should read…
Making Ideas Happen is a brilliant book in which Scott Belsky combines inspiring insights with step by step practical instructions. It is this combination which underpins everything that originates from the99percent.com and it is also the encouraging slap in the face that so many creatives need to get themselves in a position to actually make something happen. Ideas are easy, making them happen is hard. This book could help make all the difference.
REWORK – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
The guys at 37signals.com are a maverick bunch who like to do things their own way, which is partly why they’re so good at what they do. REWORK is their manifesto on changing the way you work forever and for good. A fast and fun read for anyone starting their own company or trapped in a job they hate (quit) or at the very least interested in a proven way of challenging the 9-5 status quo.
37signals other book ‘Getting Real‘ is about coding web apps and it is available free online.
Richard Branson is probably the most famous entrepreneur on the planet, and whose own brand of ‘do it my way’ business has made him hugely successful for decades. Part biography, part life lesson manual, part business insight – Screw It Let’s Do It was hugely inspiring to the entrepreneurial side of me (being a successful freelancer is as much about business as it is creativity) and as its such a short read, its well worth it. Just ignore all the new-age spiritual mumbo-jumbo. If spiritual stuff is piquing your interest, read anything by Tim Keller. Buy on Amazon.co.uk | Buy on Amazon.com
I have to admit I’ve only just starting reading Twyla Tharp’s book, but already I like it. Its often recommended as a ‘classic’ in the creativity world and only 20 pages in, I have to agree. Tharp is a dancer and choreographer by trade but provides simple, effective advice on how to build discipline – the secret ingredient to any creative career (i.e. something that is around long enough to be noticed) – and makes those hard won creative lessons accessible and worthwhile digesting to every and any creative person. Oh and its nicely presented too.
While reading Googled by Ken Auletta (a somewhat interesting history of Google) Larry Page is quoted as saying that Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things is the only book worth reading on design. So I thought I’d read it, seeing as it is considered a classic and you can’t really argue with billionaires. But having read it, it is well worth unearthing a copy. Interesting, insightful, though a little dated, its hugely informative for anyone considering undertaking any form of design work in any field. When you understand what good design really is, it is surprising how hard it is to come by…