44 Best Books on Creativity

Best Books on CreativityC

reativity in the business allows the thinking that encourages, inspires, challenges, and develops people to find the solutions that are innovative that create opportunities to fix problems. Creativity in businesses is the reason why we see some companies constantly “wow us” in their new services or products. While we see others following a dead path and chasing those who use creativity in their business strategy.

Best Books on Creativity: THE LIST

1. The Poetry and Music of Science
2. Tinker Dabble Doodle Try
3. The Creative Thinking Handbook
4. The Creativity Leap
5. Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It)
6. Out of Our Minds
7. The Creativity Code
8. Creative Confidence
9. Unlocking Creativity
10. Creative Quest
11. Originals
12. Yes, And
13. Art Thinking
14. A More Beautiful Question
15. Steal Like an Artist
16. Creative Intelligence
17. Creativity, Inc.
18. Creative Innovators
19. Little Bets
20. Disciplined Dreaming
21. Inside the Box
22. Idea Agent
23. The 20% Doctrine
24. The Idea Hunter
25. Thinking in New Boxes
26. Creative Strategy
27. Creative Genius
28. Innovate the Pixar Way
29. Weird Ideas That Work
30. Creative Leaps
31. How to Get Ideas
32. The Creativity Toolkit
33. Quantum Leap Thinking
34. Breakthrough Creativity
35. A Whack on the Side of the Head
36. Super Brain Power
37. Welcome to the Creative Age
38. Business Beyond the Box
39. Paradoxical Thinking
40. Corporate Creativity
41. Think Better
42. Group Genius
43. We-Think
44. Brian Storm

1. The Poetry and Music of Science | By Tom McLeish

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What human qualities are needed to make scientific discoveries, and which to make great art? Many would point to ‘imagination’ and ‘creativity’ in the second case but not the first. This book challenges the assumption that doing science is in any sense less creative than art, music, or fictional writing and poetry, and treads a historical and contemporary path through common territories of the creative process. The methodological process called the ‘scientific method’ tells us how to test ideas when we have had them, but not how to arrive at hypotheses in the first place. Hearing the stories that scientists and artists tell about their projects reveals commonalities: the desire for a goal, the experience of frustration and failure, the incubation of the problem, moments of sudden insight, and the experience of the beautiful or sublime.

Selected themes weave the practice of science and art together: visual thinking and metaphor, the transcendence of music and mathematics, the contemporary rise of the English novel and experimental science, and the role of aesthetics and desire in the creative process. Artists and scientists make salient comparisons: Defoe and Boyle; Emmerson and Humboldt, Monet and Einstein, Schumann and Hadamard. The book draws on medieval philosophy at many points like the product of the last age that spent time in inner contemplation of the mystery of how something is mentally brought out from nothing. Taking the phenomenon of the rainbow as an example, the principles of creativity within constraint point to the scientific imagination as a parallel of poetry.

2. Tinker Dabble Doodle Try | By Srini Pillay

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Harness your mind’s innate tendency to wander, stall, rest, and unfocus and become more productive—in the boardroom, living room, or classroom.

Named one of Coastal Living’s Best Books for the Beach This Summer.

To finish tasks and achieve goals, most people believe that more focus is the solution. We rely on to-do lists, calendar reminders, noise-blocking headphones, and sometimes medication to help us concentrate—even though these tactics often fail to substantially improve productivity. Drawing on the latest brain research, compelling stories from his psychological practice, and colorful examples of counterintuitive success from sports, business, education, and the arts, neuroscientist Srini Pillay, M.D., challenges traditional ideas about productivity, revealing the lasting, positive benefits of adding deliberate and regular unfocus to your repertoire. A fascinating tour through brain wavelengths and rhythm, mindsets, and mental relaxation, Tinker Dabble Doodle Try demonstrates how specific kinds of planned unfocus stimulate cognitive calmness, jumpstart productivity, enhance innovation, inspire creativity, improve long-term memory, and, of course, help you stay on target.

Tinkering with ideas and with things releases your mind to wander from a state of stuckness into a possible frame of mind, triggering neural connections and new insights.

Dabbling in a new endeavor—whether a hobby or fantasy—disrupts your habitual and reactive thinking, helping you find new solutions to old problems.

Doodling can help you tap into another brain frequency to remove obstacles and create opportunities and inspiration.

With techniques for training the brain to unfocus, concepts for scheduling busy lives, and ideas for controlling this new cognitive-toggling capability, Tinker Dabble Doodle Try will change how you think about daydreaming, relaxing, leaving work unfinished, and even multitasking. What you’ll discover is greater freedom, a deeper intelligence, and a more profound joy in your life.

3. The Creative Thinking Handbook | By Chris Griffiths

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Some people say that creativity is about thinking outside the box, while others believe it is about being creative inside the box; but what if there is no box? More than 82 percent of companies believe creativity directly impacts results, yet few of us understand how it comes about or how to put it into practice. If we could identify and remove the ‘box’ around our thinking, we could unlock unlimited streams of creativity for professional and business success. The Creative Thinking Handbook offers an integrated system of personalized insights, along with clear, practical tools and strategies – including the tried-and-trusted Solution Finder model.

This book enables you to develop your creative problem-solving skills to make better decisions with an individualized step-by-step strategy. Based on long-term research and testing of the creative thinking process, The Creative Thinking Handbook helps you generate more ideas and find brilliant solutions for any professional challenge.

4. The Creativity Leap | By Natalie Nixon

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Too many people associate creativity solely with the arts, even though to be an incredible scientist, engineer or entrepreneur requires immense creativity. And it’s the key to developing breakthrough products and services. Natalie Nixon, a creativity strategist with a background in cultural anthropology, fashion, and service design, says that in the fourth industrial revolution a creative leap is needed to bridge the gap that exists between the churn of work and the highly sought-after prize called innovation.

Nixon says that since humans are hardwired to be creative, it is a competency anyone can develop. She shows that it balances wonder (awe, audacity, and curiosity) with rigor (discipline, skill-building, and attention to detail), and that inquiry, improvisation, and intuition are the key practices that increase those capacities. Drawing on interviews with fifty-six people from diverse backgrounds–farming, law, plumbing, architecture, perfumery, medicine, education, technology, and more–she offers illuminating examples of how creativity manifests in every kind of work.

Combining creativity tools and techniques with real-world stories of innovative people and businesses, this book is a provocation, an inspiration, and an invitation to unleash the innate creativity that lies within each of us. It offers a more dynamic and integrative way to adapt and innovate, one that allows us the freedom to access our fully human selves.

5. Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It) | By Dave Trott

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Creativity is all around us. Not in art galleries. But on the train, at work, in the street outside, and in schools, hospitals, and restaurants. Creative vision exists wherever people are. In this entertaining collection of real-life stories, Dave Trott applies his crystal clear lens to define what genuine creative vision looks like. It is problem-solving, clarity of thought, seeing what others do not see, and removing complexity to make things as simple as you can. The timeless lessons revealed here can be applied in advertising, business, and everyday life. By seeing things differently, you can think differently, and change the world around you. Dave Trott shows you how.

6. Out of Our Minds | By Ken Robinson

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Creativity is critical.

Out of Our Minds explores creativity: its value in business, its ubiquity in children, its perceived absence in many adults, and the phenomenon through which it disappears ― and offers a groundbreaking approach for getting it back.  Author Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized authority on creativity, and his TED talk on the subject is the most-watched video in TED’s history. In this book, Sir Ken argues that organizations everywhere are struggling to fix a problem that originates in schools and universities. Organizations everywhere are competing in a world that changes in the blink of an eye – they need people who are flexible enough to adapt, and creative enough to find novel solutions to problems old and new. Out of Our Minds describes how schools, businesses, and communities can work together to bring creativity out of the closet and realize its inherent value at every stage of life. This new third edition has been updated to reflect changing technologies and demographics, with updated case studies and coverage of recent changes to education.

While education and training are the keys to the future, the key can also be turned the other way; locking people away from their own creativity. Only by actively fostering creativity can businesses unlock those doors and achieve their true potential. This book will help you to:

  • Understand the importance of actively promoting creativity and innovation.
  • Discover why creativity stagnates somewhere between childhood and adulthood.
  • Learn how to re-awaken dormant creativity to help your business achieve more.
  • Explore ways in which we can work together to keep creativity alive for everyone.

The modern business absolutely demands creativity of thought and action. We’re all creative as children ― so where does it go? When do we lose it? Out of Our Minds has the answers and clear solutions for getting it back.

7. The Creativity Code | By Marcus Du Sautoy

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What does it mean to be creative? Can creativity be trained? Is it uniquely human, or could AI be considered creative?

Mathematical genius and exuberant polymath Marcus du Sautoy plunges us into the world of artificial intelligence and algorithmic learning in this essential guide to the future of creativity. He considers the role of pattern and imitation in the creative process and sets out to investigate the programs and programmers―from Deep Mind and the Flow Machine to Botnik and WHIM―who are seeking to rival or surpass human innovation in gaming, music, art, and language. A thrilling tour of the landscape of invention, The Creativity Code explores the new face of creativity and the mysteries of the human code.

8. Creative Confidence | By Tom Kelley and David Kelley

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IDEO founder and Stanford d.school creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and the author of the bestselling The Art of Innovation, have written a powerful and compelling book on unleashing the creativity that lies within each and every one of us.

Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the “creative types.”  But two of the leading experts in innovation, design, and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative.  In an incredibly entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, the Stanford d.school, and with many of the world’s top companies, David and Tom Kelley identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives, and in our personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems.  It is a book that will help each of us be more productive and successful in our lives and in our careers.

9. Unlocking Creativity | By Michael A. Roberto

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Tear down the obstacles to creative innovation in your organization.

Unlocking Creativity is an exploration of the creative process and how organizations can clear the way for innovation. In many organizations, creative individuals face stubborn resistance to new ideas. Managers and executives oftentimes reject innovation and unconventional approaches due to misplaced allegiance to the status quo. Questioning established practices or challenging prevailing sentiments is frequently met with stiff resistance. In this climate of stifled creativity and inflexible adherence to conventional wisdom, potentially game-changing ideas are dismissed outright. Senior leaders claim to value creativity, yet often lack the knowledge to provide a creative framework. Unlocking Creativity offers effective methods and real-world examples of how the most successful organizations create cultures of innovation and experimentation.

Best-selling author and scholar Michael Roberto presents a thorough investigation of organizational obstacles to creative thought. Highly relevant to the growing crises many enterprises face in today’s economic landscape, this book examines how to break barriers to spark creativity and foster new ideas. This insightful and informative work allows business executives, senior managers, and organization leaders to:

  • Recognize the six organizational mindsets that impede creativity and innovation
  • Learn how to tear down the barriers that obstruct the creative process
  • Create an environment that allows talented people to thrive
  • Encourage creative collaboration in teams throughout an organization

Leaders do not have to conceive innovative ideas, but rather open the path for curious and creative employees within their organization. Unlocking Creativity: How to Solve Any Problem and Make the Best Decisions aids organizations in removing obstacles to the creative process and helps to form an atmosphere of imagination and innovation.

10. Creative Quest | By Questlove

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A unique new guide to creativity from Questlove—inspirations, stories, and lessons on how to live your best creative life.

Questlove—musician, bandleader, designer, producer, culinary entrepreneur, professor, and all-around cultural omnivore—shares his wisdom on the topics of inspiration and originality in a one-of-a-kind guide to living your best creative life.

In Creative Quest, Questlove synthesizes all the creative philosophies, lessons, and stories he’s heard from the many creators and collaborators in his life, and reflects on his own experience, to advise readers and fans on how to consider creativity and where to find it. He addresses many topics—what it means to be creative, how to find a mentor and serve as an apprentice, the wisdom of maintaining a creative network, coping with critics and the foibles of success, and the specific pitfalls of contemporary culture—all in the service of guiding admirers who have followed his career and newcomers not yet acquainted with his story.

Whether discussing his own life or channeling the lessons he’s learned from forefathers such as George Clinton, collaborators like D’Angelo, or like-minded artists including Ava DuVernay, David Byrne, Björk, and others, Questlove speaks with the candor and enthusiasm that fans have come to expect. Creative Quest is many things—above all, a wise and wide-ranging conversation around the eternal mystery of creativity.

11. Originals | By Adam Grant

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“Reading Originals made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world.” —Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point

Originals is one of the most important and captivating books I have ever read, full of surprising and powerful ideas. It will not only change the way you see the world; it might just change the way you live your life. And it could very well inspire you to change your world.” —Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In

With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals, he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?

Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

12. Yes, And | By Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton

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Executives from The Second City—the world’s premier comedy theater and school of improvisation—reveal improvisational techniques that can help any organization develop innovators, encourage adaptable leaders, and build transformational businesses.

For more than fifty years, The Second City comedy theater in Chicago has been a training ground for some of the best comic minds in the industry—including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey. But it also provides one-of-a-kind leadership training to cutting-edge companies, nonprofits, and public sector organizations—all aimed at increasing creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.

The rules for leadership and teamwork have changed, and the skills that got professionals ahead of a generation ago don’t work anymore. Now The Second City provides new toolkit individuals and organizations can use to thrive in a world increasingly shaped by speed, social communication, and decentralization. Based on eight principles of improvisation, Yes, And helps to develop these skills and foster them in high-potential leaders and their teams, including:

  • Mastering the ability to co-create in an ensemble
  • Fostering a “yes, and” approach to work
  • Embracing failure to accelerate high performance
  • Leading by listening and by learning to follow
  • Innovating by making something out of nothing

Yes, And is a must-read for professionals and organizations, helping to develop the invaluable leadership skills needed to succeed today.

13. Art Thinking | By Amy Whitaker

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An indispensable and inspiring guide to creativity in the workplace and beyond, drawing on art, psychology, science, sports, law, business, and technology to help you land big ideas in the practical world.

Anyone from CEO to freelancer knows how hard it is to think big, let alone follow up, while under pressure to get things done. Art Thinking offers practical principles, inspiration, and a healthy dose of pragmatism to help you navigate the difficulties of balancing creative thinking with driving toward results.

With an MBA and an MFA, Amy Whitaker, an entrepreneur-in-residence at the New Museum Incubator, draws on stories of athletes, managers, writers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and even artists to engage you in the process of “art thinking.” If you are making a work of art in any field, you aren’t going from point A to point B. You are inventing point B.

Art Thinking combines the mind-sets of art and the tools of business to protect space for open-ended exploration and manage risks on your way to success. Art Thinking takes you from “Wouldn’t it be cool if . . . ?” to realizing your highest aims, helping you build creative skills you can apply across all facets of business and life. Warm, honest, and unexpected, Art Thinking will help you reimagine your work and life—and even change the world—while enjoying the journey from point A.

Art Thinking features 60 line drawings throughout.

14. A More Beautiful Question | By Warren Berger

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To get a great answer, you need to ask the perfect question. Warren Berger revives the lost art of questioning.

In this groundbreaking book, journalist and innovation expert Warren Berger shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool–one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioningdeeply, imaginatively, “beautifully”–can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?”

Berger’s surprising findings reveal that even though children start out asking hundreds of questions a day, questioning “falls off a cliff” as kids enter school. In an education and business culture devised to reward rote answers over challenging inquiry, questioning isn’t encouraged–and, in fact, is sometimes barely tolerated.

And yet, as Berger shows, the most creative, successful people tend to be expert questioners. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking–and finding powerful answers. The author takes us inside red-hot businesses like Google, Netflix, IDEO, and Airbnb to show how questioning is baked into their organizational DNA. He also shares inspiring stories of artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, basement tinkerers, and social activists who changed their lives and the world around them–by starting with a “beautiful question.”

15. Steal Like an Artist | By Austin Kleon

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Unlock your creativity.

An inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist presents ten transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.
 
Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix, and reimagine to discover your own path. Follow interests wherever they take you—what feels like a hobby may turn into your life’s work. Forget the old cliché about writing what you know: Instead, write the book you want to read, make the movie you want to watch.
 
And finally, stay Smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring in the everyday world so that you have the space to be wild and daring in your imagination and your work.

 “Brilliant and real and true.”—Rosanne Cash

16. Creative Intelligence | By Bruce Nussbaum

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Offering insights from the spheres of anthropology, psychology, education, design, and business, Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum, a leading thinker, commentator, and curator on the subjects of design, creativity, and innovation, is the first book to identify and explore creative intelligence as a new form of cultural literacy and as a powerful method for problem-solving, driving innovation, and sparking start-up capitalism.

Nussbaum investigates the ways in which individuals, corporations, and nations are boosting their creative intelligence — CQ—and how that translates into their abilities to make new products and solve new problems. Ultimately, Creative Intelligence shows how to frame problems in new ways and devise solutions that are original and highly social.

Smart and eye-opening, Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire illustrates how to connect our creative output with a new type of economic system, Indie Capitalism, where creativity is the source of value, where entrepreneurs drive growth, and where social networks are the building blocks of the economy.

17. Creativity, Inc. | By Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

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Creativity, Inc. is a manual for anyone who strives for originality and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about creativity—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”

For nearly twenty years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, WALL-E, and Inside Out, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner thirty Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired—and so profitable.

As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream as a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start and then forged a partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his co-founding Pixar in 1986. Nine years later, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie’s success—and in the thirteen movies that followed—was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on leadership and management philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, such as:

• Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
• If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill-prepared to lead.
• It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them.
• The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
• A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

18. Creative Innovators | By Tony Wagner

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Tony Wagner’s groundbreaking bestseller—“a road map for parents who want to sculpt their children into innovative thinkers” (USA TODAY) and a guide for “an employer looking to have a pipeline of creative talent” (Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO).

Harvard education expert Tony Wagner explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. In profiling compelling young American innovators such as Kirk Phelps, product manager for Apple’s first iPhone, and Jodie Wu, who founded a company that builds bicycle-powered maize shellers in Tanzania, Wagner reveals how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations while teaching them to learn from failures and persevere. Play, passion, and purpose: These are the forces that drive young innovators.

Wagner takes readers into the most forward-thinking schools, colleges, and workplaces in the country, where teachers and employers are developing cultures of innovation based on collaboration, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and intrinsic motivation. The result is a timely, provocative, and inspiring manifesto that offers crucial insight into creating the change-makers of tomorrow.

19. Little Bets | By Peter Sims

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What do Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, and the story developers at Pixar films all have in common? Bestselling author Peter Sims found that rather than start with a big idea or plan a whole project in advance, they make a methodical series of little bets, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins.

Reporting on a fascinating range of research, from the psychology of creative blocks to the influential field of design thinking, Sims offers engaging and illuminating accounts of breakthrough innovators at work, and a whole new way of thinking about how to navigate uncertain situations and unleash our untapped creative powers.

20. Disciplined Dreaming | By Josh Linkner

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A 5-part process that will transform your organization — or your career — into a non-stop creativity juggernaut

We live in an era when business cycles are measured in months, not years. The only way to sustain long-term innovation and growth is through creativity-at all levels of an organization. Disciplined Dreaming shows you how to create profitable new ideas, empower all your employees to be creative, and sustain your competitive advantage over the long term. Linkner distills his years of experience in business and jazz — as well as hundreds of interviews with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and artists — into a 5-step process that will make creativity easy for you and your organization. The methodology is simple, backed by proven results.

  • Empowers individuals, teams, and organizations to meet creative challenges posed by the marketplace
  • Turns the mystery of creativity into a simple-to-use process
  • Shows how creativity can be used for everything from innovative, game-shifting breakthroughs to incremental advances and daily improvements to business processes
  • Offers dozens of practical exercises, thought-starters, workouts to grow “creative muscles,” and case studies

Disciplined Dreaming shows even the stuffiest corporate bureaucracies how to cultivate creativity in order to become more competitive in today’s shifting marketplace.

21. Inside the Box | By Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg

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The traditional attitude toward creativity in the American business world is to “think outside the box”—to brainstorm without restraint in hopes of coming up with a breakthrough idea, often in moments of crisis. Sometimes it works, but it’s a problem-specific solution that does nothing to engender creative thinking more generally. Inside the Box demonstrates Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT), which systemizes creativity as part of the corporate culture. This counterintuitive and powerfully effective approach to creativity requires thinking inside the box, working in one’s familiar world to create new ideas independent of specific problems. SIT’s techniques and principles have instilled creative thinking into such companies as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and other industry leaders. Inside the Box shows how corporations have successfully used SIT in business settings as diverse as medicine, technology, new product development, and food packaging.

Dozens of books discuss how to make creative thinking part of corporate culture, but none takes the innovative and unconventional approach of Inside the Box. With “inside the box” thinking, companies of any size can become sufficiently creative to solve problems even before they develop and to innovate on an ongoing basis. It’s a system that works!

22. Idea Agent | By Lina M. Echeverria

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Leaders are responsible for helping their teams meet and advance organizational goals while nurturing intuition and growing talent. Drawing on considerable experience assembling and nurturing cutting-edge teams at Corning Inc., author Linda Echeverria shows how leaders can serve as a team catalyst through which new ideas come to fruition. The results apply well beyond traditional creative domains–propelling innovation across entire organizations. You’ll gain an arsenal of instantly actionable tools and will learn how to unleash passion and drive, embrace productive conflict, and emphasize excellence and structure while promoting values that liberate creativity in the workplace. One of the most daunting challenges leaders face is discovering how to harness creativity–without stifling passionate, intelligent people. How do you unleash their energy and simultaneously channel it into something tangible? By showcasing how to juxtapose creative freedom with management rigor, Idea Agent gives readers the skills to lead dedicated professionals through one great innovation after another.

23. The 20% Doctrine | By Ryan Tate

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Gawker tech-blogger and journalist Ryan Tate reveals how businesses can inspire greater creativity and productivity by giving employees the freedom to experiment and explore their passions.

We’re at a crossroads. Many iconic American companies have been bailed out or gone bankrupt, while others are fighting to survive ever-increasing digitization and globalization.

In The 20% Doctrine, Tate examines how companies large and small can incubate valuable innovative advances by making small, specific changes to how work time is approached within their corporate cultures. The concept of “20% Time” originated at Google, but Tate takes examples from powerful businesses like Yahoo!, National Public Radio, Flickr, and The Huffington Post to demonstrate how flexibility and experimentation can revolutionize any business model.

By pursuing their passion projects, employees can fuel innovation and foster new ideas. Only through a new devotion to the unhinged and the ad hoc can American businesses resume a steady pace of development and profitability.

24. The Idea Hunter | By Andy Boynton, Bill Fischer, and William Bole

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A different way of discovering and developing the best business ideas.

Jack Welch once said, “Someone, somewhere has a better idea.” In this myth-busting book, the authors reveal that great business ideas do not spring from innate creativity, or necessarily from the brilliant minds of people. Rather, great ideas come to those who are in the habit of looking for great ideas all around them, all the time. Too often, people fall into the trap of thinking that the only worthwhile idea is a thoroughly original one. Idea Hunters know better. They understand that valuable ideas are already out there, waiting to be found – and not just in the usual places.

· Shows how to expand your capacity to find and develop winning business ideas.

· Explains why ideas are a critical asset for every manager and professional, not just for those who do “creative.”

· Reveals how to seek out and select the ideas that best serve your purposes and goals and define who you are, as a professional.

· Offers practical tips on how to master the everyday habits of an Idea Hunter, which include cultivating great conversations.

The book is filled with illustrative accounts of successful Idea Hunters and stories from thriving “idea” companies. Warren Buffet, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Mary Kay Ash, Twitter, and Pixar Animation Studios are among the many profiled.

25. Thinking in New Boxes | By Luc De Brabandere and Alan Iny

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When BIC, manufacturer of disposable ballpoint pens, wanted to grow, it looked for an idea beyond introducing new sizes and ink colors. Someone suggested lighters.

LIGHTERS?
 
With an idea that seemed crazy at first, that bright executive, instead of seeing BIC as a pen company—a business in the PEN “box”—figured out that there was growth to be found in the DISPOSABLE “box.” And he was right. Now there are disposable BIC lighters, razors, even phones. The company opened its door to a host of opportunities.
 
IT INVENTED A NEW BOX.
 
Your business can, too. And simply thinking “out of the box” is not the answer. True ingenuity needs structure, hard analysis, and bold brainstorming. It needs to start
 
THINKING IN NEW BOXES
 
—a revolutionary process for sustainable creativity from two strategic innovation experts from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
 
To make sense of the world, we all rely on assumptions, on models—on what Luc de Brabandere and Alan Iny call “boxes.” If we are unaware of our boxes, they can blind us to risks and opportunities.
 
This innovative book challenges everything you thought you knew about business creativity by breaking creativity down into five steps:
 
• Doubt everything. Challenge your current perspectives.
• Probe the possible. Explore options around you.
• Diverge. Generate many new and exciting ideas, even if they seem absurd.
• Converge. Evaluate and select the ideas that will drive breakthrough results.
• Reevaluate. Relentlessly. No idea is a good idea forever. And did we mention Reevaluate? Relentlessly.
 
Creativity is paramount if you are to thrive in a time of accelerating change. Replete with practical and potent creativity tools, and featuring fascinating case studies from BIC to Ford to Trader Joe’s, Thinking in New Boxes will help you and your company overcome missed opportunities and stay ahead of the curve.
 
This book isn’t a simpleminded checklist. This is Thinking in New Boxes.
 
And it will be fun. (We promise.)

26. Creative Strategy | By Christ Bilton and Stephen Cummings

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People tend to think of creativity and strategy as opposites. This book argues that they are far more similar than we might expect. More than this, actively aligning creative and strategic thinking in any enterprise can enable more effective innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership, and organizing for the future.

By considering strategy as a creative process (and vice versa), the authors define ‘creative strategy’ as a mindset which switches between opposing processes and characteristics, and which drives every aspect of the business. The authors draw experiences and cases from across this false divide – from the music industry, sports, fashion, Shakespearean theatre companies, creative and media organizations, and dance, as well as what we might regard as more mundane providers of mainstream products and services – to uncover the creative connections behind the successful strategy.

27. Creative Genius | By Peter Fisk

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Time and space. Genetics and robotics. Education and fashion. Possibilities limited only by our imaginations. The future is yours to create. Could you be the Leonardo da Vinci of our times?

Most ideas are incremental, quickly copied, and suffocated by conventions. “Future back” thinking starts with stretching possibilities then makes them a reality “now forward”. The best ideas emerge by seeing what every one has seen and thinking like nobody else. Newness occurs in the margins, not the mainstream. Solutions emerge through powerful fusions of the best ideas into practical, useful concepts. Creative people rise up. Visionaries, border crossers, and game-changers. Engage your right brain, open your eyes, think more holistically… intuition rules.

From Apple to Blackberry, GE to Google, innovative companies stand out from the crowd not so much for their exceptional products, despite what one might assume, but for the way they challenge conventions, redefine markets, and change consumer expectations. Apple didn’t just create the iPod; it envisioned the future of music and then made a product to service that future. And the same holds true for every highly innovative company. In Creative Genius, Peter Fisk presents ten tracks for innovation and provides business blueprints for making that innovation happen.

Creative Genius is inspired by the imagination and perspective of Leonardo da Vinci, in order to drive creativity, design, and innovation in more radical and powerful ways. It includes practical tools ranging from scenario planning and context reframing to accelerated innovation and market entry, plus 50 tracks, 25 tools, and 50 inspiring case studies.

Creative Genius is “the best and last” in the Genius series by bestselling author Peter Fisk. Others include Business Genius, Marketing Genius, and Customer Genius.

28. Innovate the Pixar Way | By Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson

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In movies from Toy Story to The Incredibles to WALL-E to Up, Pixar Studios continues to set new standards for commercial and critical achievement. Pixar is a place where collaboration sets the tone for “artists and geeks” to work side by side in a spirit of mutual respect and trust. The key lies not just in who–writers, animators, directors, tech wizards, and others–makes Pixar outstanding, but in how Pixar creates the ultimate haven where creativity overflows.

In this eye-opening book, Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson, authors of The Disney Way, reveal how Pixar has reawakened the innovative spirit of Walt Disney. They explore how president Ed Catmull and chief creative officer John Lasseter and the rest of Pixar’s brain trust have built an organization on the simple philosophy that quality is the best business plan. It makes no difference if you are making a movie that takes four years or serving a customer that takes four minutes, you have only one chance to deliver that magical, magnetic, enchanting experience for your customer.

In this concise, accessible book, Capodagli and Jackson offer examples of how it’s done–and explain what it takes to get your people to achieve greatness by unleashing their power to

  • Dreamlike a child . . . Have a vision, and be able to clearly communicate your objectives and goals.
  • Believe in your playmates . . . Hire creative people, trust in their skills and judgment, and inspire them to trust their colleagues.
  • Dare to jump in the water and make waves . . . Challenge the status quo. Encourage risktaking, but permit your people to fail, get back up, and try again.
  • Unleash your childlike potential . . . Focus on the details; make quality work your business’s highest priority.

Learn not only from Pixar but also from how other leading organizations–Google, Griffin Hospital, Men’s Wearhouse, OMA (Opening Minds Through the Arts) student achievement program, Nike, Target, and the Internet shoe giant Zappos–unshackle their people’s imaginations and do outrageously great things. And by motivating your team to Innovate the Pixar Way you, too, can discover the magic that will help your business stay ahead of the competition, attract the best talent, and fatten the bottom line.

In 1993, Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson cofounded Capodagli Jackson Consulting in West Olive, Michigan. They have helped scores of organizations revamp their customer service experiences and develop innovative products, and they also have developed performance strategies to impact organizational change using Walt Disney’s “Dream, Believe, Dare, Do” success credo. Bill Capodagli is the most requested keynote speaker on the creative cultures of both Disney and Pixar.

29. Weird Ideas That Work | By Robert I. Sutton

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A breakthrough in management thinking, “weird ideas” can help every organization achieve a balance between sustaining performance and fostering new ideas. To succeed, you need to be both conventional and counterintuitive.

Creativity, new ideas, innovation—in any age they are keys to success. Yet, as Stanford professor Robert Sutton explains, the standard rules of business behavior and management are precisely the opposite of what it takes to build an innovative company. We are told to hire people who will fit in; train them extensively, and work to instill a corporate culture in every employee. In fact, in order to foster creativity, we should hire misfits, goad them to fight, and pay them to defy convention and undermine the prevailing culture. Weird Ideas That Work codifies these and other proven counterintuitive ideas to help you turn your workplace from staid and safe to wild and woolly—and creative.

In Weird Ideas That Work Sutton draws on extensive research in behavioral psychology to explain how innovation can be fostered in hiring, managing, and motivating people; building teams; making decisions, and interacting with outsiders. Business practices like “hire people who make you uncomfortable” and “reward success and failure, but punish inaction,” strike many managers as strange or even downright wrong. Yet Weird Ideas That Work shows how some of the best teams and companies use these and other counterintuitive practices to crank out new ideas, and it demonstrates that every company can reap sales and profits from such creativity.

Weird Ideas That Work is filled with examples, drawn from hi- and low-tech industries, manufacturing, and services, information, and products. More than just a set of bizarre suggestions, it represents a breakthrough in management thinking: Sutton shows that the practices we need to sustain performance are in constant tension with those that foster new ideas. The trick is to choose the right balance between conventional and “weird”—and now, thanks to Robert Sutton’s work, we have the tools we need to do so.

30. Creative Leaps | By Michael Newman

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Important lessons in advertising from an industry leader
Saatchi & Saatchi is one of the best-known names in the advertising business. It’s a cradle of creative ideas and a global industry leader. Filled with universal lessons for advertisers and unique methodologies, Creative Leaps explores the transformational power of ideas. It offers firsthand insights into the advertising campaigns of Saatchi & Saatchi, revealing the theories behind each campaign strategy, the process behind creativity, and the behind-the-scenes stories involved with each project. The book includes a CD-ROM filled with extra material and interviews with high-profile ad makers.
Michael Newman (Australia) is the former Executive Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi Australia and Director of the Worldwide Toyota Board. As a writer and creative director, he won numerous creative awards including Cannes, Caxton, D&AD, and AFA Golden Pinnacle for Effectiveness. He is now Principal Director at brand new man, an ideas resource for advertisers and agencies.

31. How to Get Ideas | By Jack Foster

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Jack Foster’s simple five-step technique for solving problems and getting ideas takes the mystery and anxiety out of the idea-generating process. It’s a proven process that works. You’ll learn to condition your mind to become “idea-prone,” utilize your sense of humor, develop your curiosity, visualize your goals, rethink your thinking, and overcome your fear of rejection.
 
This expanded edition of the inspiring and enlightening classic features new information on how to turn failures to your advantage and how to create a rich, idea-inducing environment. Dozens of new examples and real-life stories show that anyone can learn to get more and better ideas.

32. The Creativity Toolkit | By H. James Harrington, Glen D. Hoffherr, and Robert P. Reid Jr.

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In today’s workplace, employee creativity is not just advisable–it is expected! The Creativity Toolkit reveals ways to instill and develop creativity in virtually any stage and level of the business process. Its easy-to-follow framework boosts original thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. Harrington’s team explores the four unique styles of creativity, the three areas that require the most creativity, and much more. Dynamic tools and techniques will show instant results when applied to virtually every company or organization.

33. Quantum Leap Thinking | By James J. Maps

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Positive change can happen in sudden and profound leaps. Quantum Leap Thinking provides the foundation for breakthrough thinking that will trigger astonishing growth in your personal and professional life.

  • What if it was possible to break through fear and make positive changes in your life in an instant by a simple shift in your mindset?
  • What if you could lower your anxiety in a matter of seconds by changing your perceptions?
  • How would your life change if you had unshakable motivation for whatever you chose to do?

Quantum Leap Thinking is the key to unlocking the door to new-found potential and peak performance.

34. Breakthrough Creativity | By Lynne C. Levesque

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Howard Gardner’s classic book Multiple Intelligences exploded the myth that intelligence can be measured along a single dimension. Now Lynne Levesque shows that creativity, like intelligence, exists in a variety of forms, and demonstrates that high-performance organizations need to make use of creativity in all its dimensions. It takes more than just “thinking outside the box” to build a flexible, adaptive organization that will survive competitive battles, grow and prosper, and provide the environment that attracts and keeps the best talent. On the basis of her research in personality, innovation, and creativity, as well as her experience helping top executives achieve their full potential, Levesque describes eight distinct creative talents. People of each talent have a unique way of looking at challenges, collecting data, and generating creative solutions. Breakthrough Creativity describes in individual chapters how each talent works, how each contributes to the creative process, and how each can improve decision making, team building, and strategic planning and thinking. Breakthrough Creativity brings to life the stories and rich experiences of working individuals around the world to help readers discover their own creative talents and use them to further their professional and personal lives.

35. A Whack on the Side of the Head | By Roger von Oech

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Over the years, A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD has been praised by business people, educators, scientists, homemakers, artists, youth leaders, and many more. The book has been stimulating creativity in millions of readers, translated into eleven languages, and used in seminars around the world.

Now Roger von Oech’s fully illustrated and updated volume is filled with even more provocative puzzles, anecdotes, exercises, metaphors, cartoons, questions, quotations, stories, and tips designed to systematically break through your mental blocks and unlock your mind for creative thinking. This new edition will attract an entirely new generation of readers with updated and mind-stretching material.

36. Super Brain Power | By Jean Marie Stine

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Jean Marie Stine, renowned for her nationwide seminars on “instant learning”, draws on cutting-edge scientific research to present an unprecedented strategic program for liberating the vast untapped reservoir of brainpower — and getting it operating at its peak.

Through proven, simple-to-master exercises, readers will learn how to optimize their six innate bits of intelligence to achieve every goal. Backed by personal testimonials and telling anecdotes, these brain-friendly techniques promise amazing immediate benefits. With Super Brain Power, the unthinkable becomes a reality.

37. Welcome to the Creative Age | By Mark Earls

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This book chronicles the dawn of the age of creativity in business when new ideas and practices based on creativity will drastically change the way we do business. Starting with an overview of the age of marketing, the book winds its way through the past and the present to show us the future of business, backed up with insights from sociology and psychology.

38. Business Beyond the Box | By John O’ Keeffe

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Use triangular thinking for breakthrough business.
Business Beyond the Box makes note of the self-imposed limitations each of us places on ourselves unconsciously. With a focus on applying new mindsets and achieving breakthrough results, O’Keeffe suggests working with – rather than within – boundaries. Applicable to both individuals and organizations, Business Beyond the Box will improve readers’ ability to innovate.

39. Paradoxical Thinking | By Jerry Fletcher and Kelley Olwyer

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Unlikely as it may seem, sprinters who relax run faster. In fact, simultaneously feeling both aggressive and relaxed is essential to their peak performance. Similar, seemingly contradictory patterns abound: Bill Gates’s success is built on both his vision and his practicality; former New York governor Mario Cuomo is both passionate and intellectual, action-oriented and reflective.

After more than fifteen years of studying thousands of detailed examples of people performing at their best, Fletcher and Olwyler have found that individuals are always paradoxical when performing optimally and that each person has a particular combination of contradictory and paradoxical qualities that work together to produce that person’s best work.

In Paradoxical Thinking, they provide a 5-step process to help you identify your own core personal contradictions, and harness them to achieve outstanding results at work and in your personal life.

You can probably recall a difficult situation in which you performed surprisingly well-and being mystified after the fact as to exactly how you achieved such a high level of performance. Paradoxical Thinking takes the mystery and unpredictability out of performing at your peak by providing an easy-to-learn method of understanding and maximizing your personal success.

Based on years of real-world road testing with individuals and corporate leaders, the authors’ five-step “Paradoxical Thinking” method helps you consciously bring together the paradoxical sides of yourself to achieve outstanding results individually, on teams, and in organizations. Using an important problem or goal you are currently facing, Paradoxical Thinking will help you:
o Identify your own core personal paradox
o Redefine your problem or goal so that it can be approached paradoxically
o Monitor how well you are utilizing your personal paradox
o Take positive action steps to overcome roadblocks and banish cycles of the ineffectiveness of your paradoxical qualities and tools for using-instead of fighting-them, you can realize your potential, maximize your inherent strengths, and consistently achieve the results you seek in every aspect of your personal and professional life.

40. Corporate Creativity | By Alan G. Robinson and Sam Stern

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Turn creativity from a hit-or-miss proposition into something you can count on with this highly-praised program. Its co-authors, Alan G. Robinson and Sam Stern are top thinkers in the field of corporate creativity and together they have advised dozens of major organizations in the United States and abroad. In this convenient audio format, they’ll show you how innovation and improvement can actually happen in your corporation.

41. Think Better | By Tim Hurson

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Success isn’t about what you know. It’s about how you think.

Building a great career and an enriching life isn’t rocket science. It’s about understanding more clearly, thinking more creatively, and planning more effectively. This guide to productive thinking will help you do exactly that.

Whether you need to solve business problems, create new opportunities, or improve your personal life, Think Better offers the principles and tools you need. Author Tim Hurson takes you through the critical steps you need to:

• Commit to Change: Discover how what’s working often blinds us to what’s possible. Recognize that every frustration is an opportunity in disguise. Imagine a future of creative possibilities.

• Integrate the Principles of Productive Thinking: Don’t just think outside the box. Recognize that for productive thinkers there is no box. Unlock the creative ideas in the “third third” of your consciousness―ideas that are always there, but often hovering just out of reach.

• Take Active Steps to Focus on and Solve Problems: Use the thinking tools in this book to make the unexpected connections that are at the heart of all creative ideas and implementable solutions.

It’s a myth that people are either born productive thinkers or not. Productive thinking is a skill that can be taught, learned, practiced, and mastered―by anyone.

Thinking better leads to doing better, and ultimately to be better―in business and in life. With productive thinking, you can take on challenges in ways you never dreamed possible.

42. Group Genius | By Keith Sawyer

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Creativity has long been thought to be an individual gift, best pursued alone; schools, organizations, and whole industries are built on this idea. But what if the most common beliefs about how creativity works are wrong? Group Genius tears down some of the most popular myths about creativity, revealing that creativity is always collaborative — even when you’re alone. Sharing the results of his own acclaimed research on jazz groups, theater ensembles, and conversation analysis, Keith Sawyer shows us how to be more creative in collaborative group settings, how to change organizational dynamics for the better, and how to tap into our own reserves of creativity.

43. We-Think | By Charles Leadbeater

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You are what you share.

That is the ethic of the world being created by YouTube and MySpace, Wikipedia, and Facebook. We-Think is a rallying call for the shared power of the web to make society more open and egalitarian.

We-Think reports on an unparalleled wave of collaborative creativity as people from California to China devise ways to work together that are more democratic, productive, and creative. This guide to the new culture of mass participation and innovation is a book like no other: it started first online through a unique experiment in collaborative creativity involving hundreds of people across the globe.

The generation growing up with the web will not be content to remain spectators. They want to be players and this is their slogan: we think therefore we are.

44. Brian Storm | By Jason Rich

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Business people, entrepreneurs, artists, entertainers, parents, students, teachers, and people from all walks of life can improve their lives by learning how to brainstorm. Successfully implementing an idea is what generates success and results, whether it’s a business or personal challenge. Here is a fun, easy-to-read, upbeat book designed to help people boost creativity by learning how to brainstorm and transform their best ideas into reality. Starting with the basics, this book discusses the anatomy of ideas and how they’re generated. Focusing on various brainstorming techniques offers step-by-step directions for using these techniques as an individual or in a group situation. It helps readers analyze their ideas, pick out the best ones, and implement those ideas to produce positive and measurable results. This book also features in-depth interviews and profiles of a handful of well-known people whose brainstorming skills have led them to incredible success.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Creativity

Creativity in business inspires challenges and allows the mind to think of ways to innovate that fixes problems, explore concepts, and entertains. LinkedIn recently names creative thinking as one of the most demanding skills needed in today’s market. Researchers place creative thinking as one of the top three skills that is needed to run a business. Challenge your mind on the best books on creativity to learn to create. 

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

This page may contain affiliate links. This website may contain content that comes from Amazon. This website and its pages are not intended to constitute legal, financial, or tax advice. The information on this website and its pages are not intended to constitute investment advice and all content are the views and opinions of the author(s), contributors, or administrators. Please read our disclaimer for more info.

Hi. My Name is

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Welcome to the Bigger Investing website. I’m here to help you find the resources, motivation, and guidance for all entrepreneurial, investing, business, career endeavors, and more, so that you can invest in what’s most important. Your mind!

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Creativity44 Best Books on Creativity