Are you looking for some good books about creativity to read for 2018? If so, here are the top 5 books I recommend the most. They will help you be more creative in your personal and professional life, as well as to help you lead your team and organization to innovate more. Happy reading!

What You’ll Learn

  • Amy Climer’s top recommended creativity books
  • A short review of each book


Weekly Challenge

Pick one of these 5 books and start reading! Then, let me know what you think. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Feel like reading instead of listening? Download the free transcript or read it below. Enjoy!

Transcript for Episode #085: Five Creativity Books I Recommend

Amy Climer: Welcome to The Deliberate Creative Podcast Episode 85. In today’s episode, I want to share with you five creativity books that I recommend all the time that I think you should read if you really want to understand creativity. We are just going to jump right in.

The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield

The first book is called The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. If you feel like you need a kick in the pants to help you create or get past procrastination, this is a great book to read. Stephen Pressfield is a writer and he clearly understands how creativity works. You can feel it as you are reading the book. Because he talks about all the demons that get in the way of creativity, yet, he also gets real and talks about how to get over yourself and how to really get going to get past that procrastination.

What I love about the book is just this no-nonsense, no-fluff style. It is a thin book that is worth every penny. I highly recommend The War of Art. So check out The War of Art. It is a quick read. You can probably read it in a day or in a weekend, at least in a week. Check out The War of Art. I highly recommend that one.

Collective Genius by Linda Hill, et al.

The next book is Collective Genius. It is by Linda Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent Lineback. Linda Hill is a researcher at Harvard and she and her colleagues got together and they were asking the question; why are some organizations creative and able to innovate again and again and others are barely able to innovate at all? They did an extensive research study looking at leadership and creativity in teams and the book reveals everything that they learned. They share some great stories about creativity and innovation and some of the nuances of it and how it works within teams. If you are interested in creativity and leadership, I highly recommend Collective Genius by Linda Hill and her colleagues.

From Experience to Creativity by Daniel Cape with contributions by Dr. Amy Climer

The third book is a book that I played a role in helping with. I wrote the last chapter. The book is called From Experience to Creativity by Daniel Cape. This book is an overview of creativity and really talks about what you need to know if you are an educator trying to teach other people how to be creative. Daniel wrote the book primarily for experiential educators. So those of you who are in the field of outdoor education, Adventure Ed, if you are a teacher, if you are a camp counselor and you are working with youth, I highly recommend this book.

I wrote the last chapter on creative problem solving and the book also comes with a free workbook that I wrote that has a number of different activities that go along with the chapter that I wrote. Check out From Experience to Creativity. It was just published in December 2017 so it is brand new, hot off the press. I highly recommend that book.

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

The fourth book is Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. The subtitle is Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. Ed Catmull is the President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation and in the book he explains the creative process that happens within Pixar. He talks about what goes into making a big animation film. He talks a lot about Toy Story and that trilogy and the challenges that they had.

What I loved about the book is it really is unveiling. It is like pulling back the curtain and you get to see behind the scenes. What surprised me and really excited me, too, in reading the book was when they are making a film in Pixar, they do not have a script that is laid out like you might expect with a typical movie. Instead, they have a general idea and that it evolves over time and it is all about the team. It is a very collaborative effort that really anybody can contribute ideas to. I loved it. It is great. Check out Creativity, Inc.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

My fifth book recommendation is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I actually listened to this book via audio. The author, Liz Gilbert, she reads the audio version and I just felt like we were having a conversation, even though I was not saying much, I just felt like she was talking to me. I have these memories of going for walks in my old neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin listening to Elizabeth Gilbert tell me about how to be more creative or sharing her own experiences and challenges with being creative. If you enjoy audio books, definitely check out the audio version of this one.

The book is really a guide to help you overcome your own procrastination and your blocks related to creativity. It is actually similar, in some ways, to The War of Art, but then at the same completely different. Because Elizabeth Gilbert and Stephen Pressfield have a different approach, their writing styles are very different. The War of Art tends to be more blunt and to the point, kind of a tough love sort of book, whereas, Big Magic, there is more stories, it feels a bit more loving, almost cuddly. And I mean that in a good way. Personally, I love both books. I kind of like both those approaches. Anyway, I highly recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

By the way, she has a great podcast as well where she kind of peels back the card and helps people become more creative and get over their creative blocks on her podcast. I recommend the podcast too.

I will put a link to all five of these books in the show notes. This is Episode 85 so you can get the show notes at Head on over there, you can find a link for all the show notes. I will put in Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast as well.

In 2018, I am trying to read more books and so that is probably why I wanted to share these books with you. Maybe you have a similar goal.

The Weekly Challenge [07:04]

The weekly challenge this week is to pick one of these five books and start reading. You can find any of these books wherever books are sold and I would love to know what you think. I would love to get your feedback. What did you think of these books? Did you like them? Did they fit with you? Fit for you? Did they resonate with you? Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.

If you have a request for a topic on The Deliberate Creative Podcast, send me an email. You can find my contact information at I would love to hear from you. A lot of the topics in the episodes came from listeners who have questions and I address them in an episode.

I hope you enjoyed this episode and happy reading. Have a wonderful creative week. Bye.

Note: The links on this page may be affiliate links. That means I get a small commission of your sale, at no cost to you. However, I only share links to products that I or my guests believe in. Enjoy them! 

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