Coming from a painter himself, being creative isn’t all about painting and poetries.
It’s also about coming up with innovative solutions to stubborn problems.
And the better your solutions are; the more people they help, the better rewards you earn.
But there’s a problem.
Not everyone possesses the same level of creativity. And it’s not like we can do anything about it. Right?
You can learn to be more creative. Yes, some people are more creative than others. But that doesn’t stop you from pumping up your creative muscles.
So what’s the next logical question? “How to do that?”
Here are some books that will help you become much more creative than you currently are.
1. How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery
Book by Kevin Ashton
Goodreads Score: 4.03/5
Creating is not extraordinary, even if its results sometimes are. Creation is human. It is all of us. It is everybody.― Kevin Ashton, How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery
How do you become creative by reading a few books? Well, let’s set all your expectations right.
If you are talking about that one-winner idea that will make all your dreams come true, you are right; you can’t find that in any book.
But by reading the right books, you can overhaul your thought process to find the creative shortcuts to better outcomes through lesser effort.
Sounds good? Then you might find this book helpful.
How can I say so?
Well. Don’t we scrap old paint off the walls before applying a new layer over it?
Likewise, knowing how to be more creative only works when you are free from your pre-conceived misconceptions.
The author and British MIT pioneer Kevin Ashton demystifies creativity through this book.
He argues anyone can be creative:
A species that survives by creating must not limit who can create. More creators means more creations.
So how don’t we feel like it? Here’s why. We choose ‘known but less’ instead of ‘unknown but better.’
We are resistant to change. Most importantly, we are afraid of the risks.
So we create a myth. We put the people who are creating magic up on a pedestal. It helps us feel comfortable when we are wasting our lives.
They are exceptional, and you are not. So you are better off not even trying. That’s the sentiment that limits us.
But that’s not true. You have a decent chance of getting what you want, building something special. And you are losing it by not breaking it into actionable steps.
2. How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success From the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs
Book by Guy Raz
Goodreads Score: 4.2/5
Failing is scary. Wasting your life is dangerous.― Guy Raz, How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs
As I said earlier, we will take the lamer outcome just because we are familiar with it over amazing rewards that would require us to change.
That’s why most people choose to work for businesses instead of owning one.
It’s not because they hate entrepreneurship; but because they fear the uncertainties.
Jobs are easier to get. Building a business from the ground up isn’t.
But what if building a business can be safer? What if there are several risk-free, actionable steps to build upon simple yet effective ideas?
That’s exactly what you get in this book by journalist, correspondent, and radio host Guy Raz.
How to make entrepreneurship less risky? By optimizing the risks well.
It takes skills to be an entrepreneur. And when you have that, you can fall back and get a job any time you want. And if you don’t take unnecessary loans, you cut down another source of anxiety.
Yes, you can be a successful entrepreneur on a budget.
But you can’t do it by putting your own desires over the market. You have to detect the series of market gaps and find the right solutions to fill them up.
Want to know how it’s done? Read this book.
3. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
Book by Steven Johnson
Goodreads Score: 4.10/5
Every genuinely new technology has a genuinely new way of breaking — and every now and then, those malfunctions open a new door to the adjacent possible. Sometimes the way a new technology breaks is almost as interesting as the way it works.― Steven Johnson, How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
Coming to solving problems, don’t you feel amazed at how far we have come?
Yet, none of it would be possible; if not for the creative minds. No. I’m not talking only about scientists and innovators.
If you skim through this book by Steven Johnson, it will amaze you how creativity comes from the most unlikely places.
In fact, most of the time, innovation is the product of happy accidents, lucky coincidence, and a healthy dose of human curiosity.
I am recommending this book because it gives us a good look at the sheer craziness behind the evolution of modern civilization.
Reading this book will broaden your conception of the long-term technological trend, the flow of historical events, and how they change the world as you know it.
Not only that, but it also inspires you to make something of your own by bending the rules to your advantage.
Why does it matter? These little information edges turn out to be the difference between half-measure wannabes and a literal winner.
4. Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Book by John J. Ratey & Eric Hagerman
Goodreads Score: 4.12/5
Just as the mind can affect the body, the body can affect the mind. But the idea that we can alter our mental state by physically moving still has yet to be accepted by most physicians, let alone the broader public.― John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Creativity takes a lot of mind work. There’s no denying it. But is it all about the mind? Not really. Your physical conditioning and fitness play their roles as well.
But most people don’t act upon it. Therefore, they give up on one of the fastest ways to be more skillful and creative.
Why do they do that? Take a guess.
They do it because they have bought into the ‘hustle = productivity’ equation.
It prevents us from maintaining a healthy lifestyle with proper eating habits, sleep routines, and minimal exercise to keep us up and running.
On the contrary, we grind ourselves to death, compromising our health and results.
That’s not how you get the best out of yourself. That’s not how you get the best possible rewards for your efforts.
In this book, Harvard Medical School professor John Joseph Ratey, M.D., gives you evidence-based facts on how you can literally boost your creativity by exercising.
In his words:
Cognitive flexibility is an important executive function that reflects our ability to shift thinking and to produce a steady flow of creative thoughts and answers as opposed to a regurgitation of the usual responses. The trait correlates with high-performance levels in intellectually demanding jobs.
So how do you adapt accordingly? As Ratey suggests in this book:
So if you have an important afternoon brainstorming session scheduled, going for a short, intense run during lunchtime is a smart idea.
Being creative is far more complex than simply catching an idea. Sure, having an idea helps. But it’s better to have a system at your disposal, not only to get ideas; but also to make the most out of them.
And the process isn’t spontaneous. It doesn’t reacquire you to be gifted. All it asks is constant, focused efforts and the willingness to improve.
No. It’s not easy. But it’s not that hard either.
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