3 Books Everyone Should Read on Creativity and Why

By Ken Wytsma

The possibility of hitting refresh on our lives, stirring our thinking and moving forward with dreams and innovations can be exciting, and books on creativity are a great way to do that. Yet, creativity is one of the words that shows up in the title of seemingly hundreds of books per year. Here are four excellent and practical books I recommend.

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery
I love stories, history and the combination—stories of different time and places. How to Fly a Horse is one of the most engaging books on creativity I’ve come across because it not only opens your mind and fills you with “aha” moments, but it is also woven with historical stories and anecdotes. In this book, author Kevin Ashton demystifies creativity and innovation by telling the stories of humanity’s greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth behind who creates and how they do it.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
I find that many people shy away from books on Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or large corporations because they feel—often erroneously—that reading about big companies is cliche and can’t offer anything for the individual or smaller organizations. We often think that the book will stay at the macro-level, telling their proud story without getting to any level of depth, but the opposite is true. The most creative individuals and legendary innovative companies are exactly where we should look to learn and study. They are the places that have developed, honed and refined ways of understanding the creative process are the trailblazers we can learn the most from. Creativity, Inc. tells the story of one of Pixar, one of the most creative companies of our generation, and shares great ideas and philosophies for how to build a creative culture.

Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life
I’m passionate about the power of creativity and innovation to make space for life and work towards restorative justice in this world. Makoto Fujimura’s book is all about that. It’s for anyone who feels called to create–which is all of us–with a focus on those who desire to reach across boundaries with understanding, reconciliation, and healing. It’s a beautiful call for using creativity to help humans flourish together. 

Good Idea, Now What?  *BONUS*
No list of books about creativity would be complete in my mind without mentioning Charles Lee’s book. Whatever book you read on creativity first, Charles’ must be the second because it not only deals with creativity, but on how to move ideas through to implementation–one of the hardest parts about making creativity work. In fact, he’s seen as the implementation expert and the title of this book bears that out. To anyone who has ideas but doesn’t know what to do with them, Charle’s book really is the best place to start as he offers systematic advice for moving your ideas forward to execution.


Photo Credit: Roo Reynolds, Creative Commons

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Categories: Innovation & Leadership

Ken Wytsma is a teacher, entrepreneur and author. He is the founder of The Justice Conference and president of Kilns College, as well as the author of Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live and Die for Bigger ThingsThe Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith, and Create vs. Copy:Embrace Change. Ignite Creativity. Break Through with Imagination.

Theology and Culture