Editor's Choice

Five Books To Get Ahead: Creativity

by Jake Courage (co-founder of edtech company

Often what separates the good from the great in business is the ability to be creative. The challenge is that most people don’t believe they can be. There are many myths surrounding creativity and this is the biggest.

(Jake Courage,

The reality is, creativity is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Another misnomer is that for something to be really creative, it must come in a flash of inspiration. The truth is that any ‘eureka’ moment is, in fact, the result of a tried and tested process.

The good news is that this process can be learnt by anyone: there is no mystery surrounding where brilliant ideas come from. They are the result of combining many different concepts in the brain, marinating them in the subconscious; then finally they appear as if by magic in the shower.

In a world increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence, creativity is one of humankind’s last remaining advantages. The following books will help you unleash your creative superpowers.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
by Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace

creativityIn 1986, Steve Jobs bought a little known animation studio. Ever the visionary, he was betting on the future of computer animated films. Together with Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, it was renamed Pixar Animation Studios. It eventually became responsible for some of the most successful animated movies of all time including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc.

The company grew fast and, with it, came the challenge of keeping their creative spirit intact. Creativity is about challenging conventions and breaking rules and as organisations grow this is often killed by the developing bureaucracy. Catmull was in charge of making the creative process run smoothly and allowing it to continue to flourish regardless of Pixar’s size. This book offers an enjoyable guide to any organisation that values the power of creativity and wants it to continue to thrive.

Hegarty on Creativity: There Are No Rules
by John Hegarty

Sir John Hegarty is one of the UK advertising industries most famous figures. He co-founded the advertisingcreativity agency BBH in 1982. The company enjoyed huge success, launching the famous tagline for Audi ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ along with many award winning campaigns including Levi’s, Lynx/Axe deodorant, Johnny Walker, and Xbox.

Hegarty’s amusing and easy going nature comes through clearly in this terrific book. It’s fun to read, accessible and peppered with some great stories. It’s not heavily advertising focussed, so the lessons are relevant for anyone trying to get an edge in any industry.  

The Art of Creative Thinking: 89 Ways to See Things Differently
by Rod Judkins

creativityJudkins is a lecturer at Central St Martin’s, one of the world’s pre-eminent art schools. It’s alumni include Lucien Freud, Antony Gormley, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.

Packed full of stories that shed light on the processes of some of the greatest creative thinkers from the worlds of writing, music, architecture, painting and technology, Judkins shows us how each of us can learn from them. The Art of Creative Thinking contains a great deal of practical wisdom and some wonderful anecdotes of creative breakthroughs that led to the invention of frozen peas, some of Picasso’s masterpieces and The Simpsons.

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
by Steven Johnson

Ever wondered where good ideas come from?

Steven Johnson did and his excellent book attempts to answer this elusive question. Looking at examples creativityas diverse as Darwin to Apple, he separates out the seven common factors that appear at moments of originality. These include the benefits of collaborating, looking at other industries for inspiration and the importance of timing. Johnson is a seasoned storyteller with ten other books to his name, all of which are well worth reading.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be: The World’s Best-Selling Book
by Paul Arden  

creativityPaul Arden was a creative director at the famous advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

He’s recognised as the talent behind saving the fortunes of British Airways and seeing it become ‘The World’s Favourite Airline’ as well as producing highly creative campaigns for a wide range of brands. This easy-to-digest book is packed full of wit and wisdom. It’s a must read if you want to get ahead in life or business.

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