You know the feeling: you are on a deadline to come up with an amazing proposal, write a story or complete a project. Your head is empty, the screen in front of you is blank, and the urge to see what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is strong and growing stronger.
Time to stage a creativity intervention. For me, that means taking a short walk to my bookshelves.
Here are five books I turn to when I need a hit of inspiration. A little quality time with one of these authors is enough to get ideas flowing.
1. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
When you think of Amanda Palmer, you probably think ‘rockstar’ first, and partner of Neil Gaiman second. In The Art of Asking, she’s brought together her artistic experience, her fearlessness, her great generosity, and a fair degree of writing talent to show the world why vulnerability is important to creativity.
2. Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky
Cognitive Surplus is a call to arms. Shirky argues that we must not waste the amazing opportunities that technology has brought, and continues to bring, to society. He tells inspirational stories of how we can be part of the change by using the tools of technology to harness our innate creativity.
3. The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson
The Medici Effect could have the subtitle, ‘two heads are better than one.’ Johansson looks at how great ideas can spring from engaging with and listening to people who have different skill sets. The ‘intersection of ideas’ is at the heart of this book and Johansson gives plenty of examples of how connectivity spurs imagination.
4. Manage Your Mind by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope
At first glance, you might not think a book with the word ‘manage’ in the title would have anything to do with creativity. But it does and that’s because most of us erect invisible barriers in our lives. Manage Your Mind offers advice about dismantling those barriers so that we can develop our full potential via building self-confidence, and clarifying goals and values.
5. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
What began as a series of class notes has become one of the most-loved books on unlocking creative potential. Author Julia Cameron starts with the premise that we are naturally creative but our tendency to self-sabotage gets in our way, “too much thinking is part of being blocked.”
To help with the process, Cameron published The Artist’s Way Workbook which guides the reader through twelve weeks of exercises and tasks.
These five authors have produced books which make us look at the world from different angles. A change in perspective is a great way to unblock creative juices. Sometimes to get from the mundane to the marvelous, you just need a little help.
YouTube Channel: TED
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