The 11 Best Creativity Books for Your Library

With the best creativity books in hand, you can inspire your own creativity and learn to live the creative lifestyle to the fullest.

Are you a creative person? You may feel that you are more logical than creative, but the reality is most people are creative in their own way. 

One way you can tap into your inner creativity, and perhaps even transform it into an income source, is to read books from some of the great creative minds. Yet with so many creativity books on the market, how can you choose where to spend your time?

This guide will discuss the best creativity books for the modern artist, so you can build a small library of works that can help you tap your inner potential. 

Best creativity books for your library

So what creativity books should you have on your bookshelf? The answer depends on the type of art you create, but there are some bestsellers that every artist, regardless of their medium, can utilize. 

As you build a library of inspiration, consider adding these 10 works to your bookshelf. Whenever you need some creativity, pull one off of the shelf and get to reading.

1. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

In Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon explores the idea that no artistic work is actually an original idea. The premise is that creative people understand that art is everywhere, and the key to creating it is taking an idea and making it your own. This book touches on the impact of the digital age on creativity. 

Steal Like an Artist is a quick read. You can gain some creative confidence by sitting down and reading it in one sitting.

“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”

Austin Kleon
Sale
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
  • 10 Things nobody told you about being creative!
  • A collection of positive messages and exercises to realize your artistic side
  • An inspiring and entertaining read
  • By artist and writer Austin Kleon
  • A New York Times Best-seller

2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

In The War of Art, Pressfield touches on the fact that even those with the most creative thinking will eventually fall into a creative rut. If you find that it is hard to get your creative ideas out and onto paper or canvas, this book will teach you how to do it.

According to Pressfield, often the most creative mind never gets heard because the creator can't unlock the potential inside. 

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

Steven Pressfield
War of Art, The
  • Steven Pressfield (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/16/2015 (Publication Date) - Recorded Books on Brilliance Audio (Publisher)

3. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Creativity, Inc., is from the point of view of Ed Catmull, co-founder of the Pixar Animation Studio. This creative genius shows what it takes to transform a team of creative talents into a working culture that inspires greatness. 

This book not only explores creative thinking but also how to capitalize on it in a group and build a successful business.

“You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”

Ed Catmull
Sale
Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
  • Random House Export Editions
  • Ed Catmull and Edwin E. Catmull and Amy Wallace (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2014 (Publication Date) - Transworld Publishers Limited (Publisher)

4. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Novelist and playwright Julia Cameron explore what makes an artist in The Artist's Way. It outlines what living the artist's life looks like and is a must-read for the creative person.

This book has become an international bestseller. It teaches those living the creative life how to tap the best part of the art inside them to create masterpieces in literature and art.

“Leap, and the net will appear.”

Julia Cameron
Sale
The Artist's Way: 25th Anniversary Edition
  • Tarcherperigee
  • Cameron, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 10/25/2016 (Publication Date) - TarcherPerigee (Publisher)

5. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp believes people aren't born as “creatives.” She believes creativity is something you can develop with the right education and habits. The Creative Habit explores how anyone can become a creative person with the right plan.

If you feel that you just “aren't creative,” this is one of the best books on creativity for you. It may challenge your thinking and show you that there is potential inside everyone.

“I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read.”

Twyla Tharp
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The Creative Habit: Learn In and Use It for Life
  • The Creative Habit Learn It and Use It for Life
  • Twyla Tharp (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 01/01/2006 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

For most people, fear is a big thing that holds them back from being creative. Big Magic teaches readers how to tackle their fears and rise above them. Author Elizabeth Gilbert believes this is where the “big magic” of creativity takes place. 

This book is so effective at teaching you how to become creative that it jumped to the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list almost instantly.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

Elizabeth Gilbert
Sale
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 09/27/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Publishing Group (Publisher)

7. Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This book explores the psychological idea of flow, a state of optimal experience that inspires the best creative potential in an individual. Csikszentmihalyi believes this state is something an individual can control.

Through this book, you will learn what flow is and how you can reach and sustain that state. This will help you build your own creative process more effectively by keeping you in the right psychological state to get creative work done.

“Control of consciousness determines the quality of life.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Sale
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
  • Flow
  • The Psychology of Optimal Experience
  • English
  • First Edition
  • Paperback

8. It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden

If you believe creativity is a set state and something you are born with, then grab this book off Amazon. Paul Arden believes everyone has the potential to be more creative and better at their work.

He explores problem-solving strategies in this book that can help you achieve greater things. 

This book is an easy read because it is funny and short. You will finish it inspired to be better, and that will inspire more creativity.

“If you can't solve a problem, it's because you're playing by the rules”

Paul Arden
Sale
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be: The world's best selling book
  • Phaidon Press
  • Arden, Paul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 06/01/2003 (Publication Date) - Phaidon Press (Publisher)

9. Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step by Edward De Bono

Most people learn how to solve problems by facing them head-on. This is vertical thinking, according to De Bono. He uses Lateral Thinking to teach a more creative approach to problem-solving, ad this has been one of the favorite books on creative thinking since its publication in the 1960s.

Not only does this book explore the idea of lateral thinking as opposed to vertical thinking, but it takes the reader step-by-step through the process to learn to think outside the box.

“A problem is simply the difference between what one has and what one wants.”

Edward De Bono
Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step
  • De Bono, Edward (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 300 Pages - 02/24/2015 (Publication Date) - Harper Colophon (Publisher)

10. Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

Being a creative person is great, but if you want to earn money from your creative works, you need people to find you. Show Your Work! gives 10 practical ways to get your creative work seen by others. This explores everything from the balance between sharing and oversharing to getting over the fear of putting yourself out there.

Show Your Work! is particularly valuable today because it discusses the digital age and the Internet and how you can use those to get seen.

“Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.”

Austin Kleon
Sale
Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered (Austin Kleon)
  • Workman publishing
  • Binding: paperback
  • Language: english
  • Kleon, Austin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

11. The Power of Creativity By Bryan Collins

Struggling to come up with your next great idea? Or do you find it impossible to get your creative juices flowing? Or perhaps you don't think your creative talent will ever be strong enough to succeed? Desperate to make your next idea your big break?

Award-winning author, copywriter, and blogger Bryan Collins has had a lifelong fascination with creativity and the genesis of amazing ideas. After learning how to unleash his own creative dreams, Collins is now ready to share his hidden secrets with you too.

“You are more creative than you can imagine.”

Bryan Collins
The Power of Creativity: A Three-Part Series for Writers, Artists, Musicians and Anyone In Search of Great Ideas
  • Collins, Bryan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 338 Pages - 05/23/2018 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

A Final Word On The Best Creativity Books

The best creativity books are the ones that help you get past a hurdle or inspire your own creativity. As you build a library of inspirational books, keep these choices in mind. Each one will bring something to the table to help you become just a little more creative.

If you are in a creative rut, having a library on hand that you can tap will help you break past that rut and start creating again. However, in order to do so, you have to have the books on hand, so start building that creativity library today.

FAQs on the Best Creativity Books

What are the best creativity books for writers?

The best creativity books for writers are those that help them get past writer's block and their own fears about writing to continue creating beautiful works. Some that should be on your shelf include:
1. The Artist's Way
2. The Creative Habit
3. Steal Like an Artist

What are the best creative thinking books?

The best books to learn more about creative thinking include:
1. Lateral Thinking
2. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
3. Creativity, Inc.

Want more? Check out our book recommendations.

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