A few months ago on SAK, our team started a mini SAK Book Club series (READ HERE) where we listed out our favorite industry, career and coffee table books. We decided to continue the mini series and help us all get in the swing of things for fall. Summer flew by, school has started back, work is crazier than ever, and I don’t know about you, but I could use a mental break to get motivated and back on track for the new season.
I’m a perfect mix of a free-spirit creative and a Type-A business person–I swear by to-do lists and routine, but I catch myself daydreaming and brainstorming more often than not. Today’s book series is for all of you curious souls and unconventional creatives. These books will help you overcome any creative blocks, act as an inspiration catalyst and help you dive into your next project. xo
Steal Like an Artist
Unpopular opinion: There is no more original thought, and that’s okay. Author, Austin Kleon, discusses how socialization has a direct impact on an artists work in a short, 160 page book. Everyone is a mashup of what they have come to know and love during their lifetime, whether it be music, film, art or clothing influences. While these influences blend together to create something new, each component has a history within itself that we did not create. How does one find each part of who they are? Explore your options, and, most importantly, “If you ever find that you are the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room”.
Bird by Bird
Feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and uncertain of your next move is normal for someone with a creative mind. Writers create their own narrative based on their life, and recognize their ability to rewrite these negative emotions as they experience them. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott stresses the power of writing and its ability to make the best of the worst situations. One can laugh in the face of their problems, mourn a sad truth, and praise a happy ending. More than this, she recognizes that sometimes it takes a bit of structure to create the foundation for innovative new ideas, and conveniently spelled out the basic steps to writing for yourself.
Thinking Fast and Slow
Has anyone ever said something to you along the lines of “I just don’t understand how you think”? I have had that conversation before, and you know what, I also don’t understand my thought process—or at least I didn’t until I read this book. Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow discusses the two systems of the brain that make your songwriting, graphic designing, and storytelling tendencies as profound as they are. Are quick, seemingly irrational decisions better in terms of creativity? If so, when is our time to take a step back and think about what this quick decision making means for us? It is all discussed here with Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winning economist.
Wreck This Journal
I know what you are thinking: this is a middle schoolers pastime activity, not a book that requires actual creative thought. I am here to prove you wrong. This book is a bit different from the others on the list, and while i firmly believe that reading is one of the best things you can do to feed your mind (ask Warren Buffet, who reads at least one novel a day), sometimes you need to try something out of the ordinary. Wreck this journal, and many workbooks like it, are a compilation of destructive (or constructive, however you choose to see it) prompts that are completely unorthodox in order to give its artist a true creative experience. Try painting the pages of your books with coffee and haphazardly punching holes into the pages, and you will feel like a new person. Who would have thought.
Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
This book is the most practical of the bunch. According to the author, Hugh MacLeod, everyone is born with creativity, but as a whole people tend to leave it behind as they go through school trading their crayons and original ideas for textbooks and algorithms to follow. How do we break away from the constraints society has set on the way we think? Don’t care about them. Of course this is much easier said than done, but the most important thing to take away from a book like this is that your own thoughts matter more than others opinions, especially in terms of creativity.