books to change your life, or at least your mind: creativity
I was inspired by Danielle Laporte’s blog to think about the books I’ve read in the past year or two and cull the ones I found especially powerful.
So I give unto you, Dear Reader, as we consider the ending of one year and the beginning of another, some lists of really cool books. I’ve divided them into categories (Creativity, Life Strategy, Social Media, Blogging, Writing, For Fun). These are not namby-pamby self-help books, but authors who know their stuff and have something to say. They have fed my head — and thus my blog — and they can feed you too.
Hands down one of the best and most fascinating books I read this year, or in the last several years. The book looks at how cultures and disciplines and people converge to create instrumental, game-changing insight, and how you can create this kind of convergence in your own life.
Worth reading just to learn why most people suck at brainstorming, what real brainstorming looks like, and the power of “the third third”.
Eric Maisel is one of my heroes; he’s a psychologist who pretty much invented the whole profession of “creativity coaching”. CREATIVITY FOR LIFE takes a holistic approach to living a life that’s committed to art, from establishing a creative practice to managing the balance between solitude and community, and provides strategies and insights to find your creative destiny. (I just really wanted to say ‘creative destiny’. So dramatic!)
This book recognizes that it’s not only important to generate ideas, you also need to execute, and someone who is strong at one might not be so strong at the other. Belsky is the founder and CEO of Behance, “a company on a mission to empower and organize the creative world”, and gods know the creative world needs it.
There’s a massive shift of consciousness going on, as the old paradigm dies and the new one takes its place. In the new order, “artists” win the day because what they do cannot be outsourced or automated. Seth Godin calls these people “linchpins” because they “invent, lead, connect others, make things happen…figure out what to do when there’s no rule book.” Godin shows you why this is and inspires you to be one yourself. He’s been criticized a bit for not showing you how to be one, but that’s kind of the point: there is no real map, no “one path” that everyone can follow. You have to figure it out for yourself by playing to your own personality. Some good insights on “the resistance”, the culture of gifts and connection, and “the seven abilities of the linchpin.”
So sally forth, dear readers, and kick some creative ass.
image by Valery Moiseev