Whether you listen to audio editions on your commute, use a tablet or e-reader, or relax with a cat on your lap and an old-fashioned paper edition, books are still a great source of information and knowledge for creative pros.
A book allows you to take a deeper dive into a subject and emerge with a broader awareness of how its details fit into context. When it’s easier and easier to consume bite-sized bits of information, delving into a book gives you an advantage over those with less experience of focus.
And books make excellent gifts. With countless titles to choose from, they’re not easy to shop for. Your favorite creative mentor, peer, or friend will be delighted when a thoughtfully chosen book drops into his or her lap.
Whether you’re shopping for a designer, a developer, an artist, or a marketing executive, here are fourteen selections that will spark creative inspiration.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This revolutionary writing guide gave rise to a system of thought and a movement that has helped creative people of all types develop greater respect for themselves and their work. Its most influential exercise is probably “the morning pages,” a daily three-page handwritten routine that has galvanized authors, actors, musicians, and everyday people around the world.
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
A favorite among UX designers, this classic takes a thorough and counterintuitive look at the familiar objects around us and wonders how they came to be as they are.
Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry
You only get one chance to make the most of the creative career you pursue in this lifetime. This urgent and heartfelt challenge will embolden you to “lose yourself,” fully commit to your process, and leave it all on the field.
How To Be Useful by Megan Hustad
Hustad’s book is a wry, comprehensive, no-nonsense primer on networking, career-building, doing your job, and preserving your soul. It’s perfect for graduates, those mulling a career change, or anyone who sometimes wonders if he or she missed out on some essential knowledge about how to thrive in the workplace.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
A successful novelist with a cult following among creatives in all fields, Pressfield believes that success means showing up, every day, and maintaining a regular practice, and that the only way to self-actualize as a creative is to start treating yourself as a professional.
The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You’re Not by John Vorhaus
Some of the most useful creative inspiration has always come from jokes and humor, from looking at life sideways and shattering expectations. This is a practical and amusing guide to the functions and structure of humor, with exercises that can help you produce smarter and more entertaining work.
Place Your Thoughts Here: Meditation for the Creative Mind by Steven L. Saitzyk
A Buddhist art teacher explores the connections between creativity and meditation in a warm and compassionate book that will fascinate any creative pro with an interest in mindfulness practice.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This landmark study on human behavior, and how it relates to thought, is a must-read for anyone who needs to understand incentive structures and why people sometimes act as they do. Kahneman won the Nobel prize for economics and is a highly regarded psychologist.
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
This book examines what happens when we get so absorbed in our work that we lose track of time, and suggests how we might cultivate such a state of pure creative devotion.
Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done by Jocelyn K. Glei
In an always-on world of perpetual distraction, an influential blogger and editor makes a case for shutting out the noise and decluttering your digital life. You don’t have to be a hardcore minimalist to get some empowering and actionable insights from this one.
Quartz: The Objects That Power the Global Economy by Quartz Editors
This coffee table book from the business blog Quartz showcases the innovative genius of product design and makes a beautiful companion to The Design of Everyday Things.
How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster
Foster is a fun, funny, avuncular guide to the art of generating fresh ideas. If you know someone who’s struggling to stay creative, this book can reignite the joy of the process.
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan
This irreverent but practical guide to the advertising industry provides a thorough understanding of the creative business and shows how a rebellious attitude can help you do work that gets attention. The classic text has been updated to address new channels and technologies.
Seth Godin is a business and marketing guru to millions through his daily blog. This tiny but crucial book examines what happens when we get stuck in a gap between mediocrity and excellence, how to persist, and how to get out.
When you’re inspired and driven to take your career to the next level, contact Artisan Creative, and join some of the most prestigious creative talent around. We hope you enjoy the 454th issue of our weekly a.blog.