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Books for the Creative Mind

Posted Dec 23 2011 12:07am

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Anyone who reads too much and uses their own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” – Albert Einstein

“There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here is a brief list of books that will hopefully keep you thinking creatively and help develop creativity personally, as well as in educational and business settings.

[Photo: Marilyn Monroe reading "Death of a Salesman" - from my article The Writer As Entrepreneur .]

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The Creative Life: True Tales of Inspiration , by Julia Cameron

In The Creative Life, Cameron shows readers how to use their creative hearts and minds to cultivate lives that nourish and sustain their art. Through beautifully drawn scenes from her own life, as well as the lives of the many artists around her, Cameron reveals that creativity flourishes during the quiet pauses in our lives-and that it is only when we allow ourselves to slow down and savor life that we discover ways to depict it sensitively and poetically in our art.

By opening the curtain on her own life and the lives of the artists who surround her, Cameron reveals a world rich with creative possibility.

{{ Review from, like the others below. }}

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Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work , by Robert Austin, Lee Devin, Eric Schmidt (Foreword)

Artful Making offers the first proven, research-based framework for engineering ingenuity and innovation. This book is the result of a multi-year collaboration between Harvard Business School professor Robert Austin and leading theatre director and playwright Lee Devin.

Together, they demonstrate striking structural similarities between theatre artistry and production and today’s business projects–and show how collaborative artists have mastered the art of delivering innovation “on cue,” on immovable deadlines and budgets.

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Orchestrating Collaboration at Work: Using Music, Improv, Storytelling, and Other Arts to Improve Teamwork , by Arthur VanGundy, Linda Naiman

Orchestrating Collaboration at Work is an activity book for trainers, coaches, mediators and facilitators, who want to use the arts to create transformative learning experiences in organizations. All 70 activities are crafted using arts-based principles that offer new insights and skills development in creativity, communication, teamwork, and collaborative leadership.

Painting, poetry, storytelling, music, and improvisational theater offer innovative and transformative learning experiences. You can use them as quick icebreakers or brainjuicers at meetings or training sessions, and as a means of mediating dialogue to stimulate employee engagement. You do NOT have to be an artist to use this book’s offerings.

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A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age , by Daniel H. Pink.

Lawyers. Accountants. Radiologists. Software engineers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which “right brain” qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate.

That’s the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times.

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The Art of Business: Make All Your Work a Work of Art , by David McIntosh.

For many, work is the ultimate four-letter word, the embodiment of all that is mundane. For respected business writers Stan Davis and David McIntosh, work is an opportunity to find beauty, meaning, enjoyment, balance, and longevity.

How? By treating one’s work or business as art. According to The Art of Business, people get more satisfaction from creating something than from doing something. Purpose, mastery, and permanence are hallmarks of good work, whether in the arts or in business.

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Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life , by Shelley Carson, PhD

This provocative book reveals why sitting in front of a light box can increase your creativity more than listening to a Bach concerto as example. The author Shelley H. Carson, a Harvard psychologist, explains that creativity isn’t something only scientists, investors, artists, writers, and musicians enjoy; in fact, all of us use our creative brains every day at home and at work.

Each of us has the ability to increase our mental functioning and creativity by learning to move flexibly among several brain states.

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The Psychology of Creative Writing , by Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, James C. Kaufman, PhD.

The Psychology of Creative Writing takes a scholarly, psychological look at multiple aspects of creative writing, including the creative writer as a person, the text itself, the creative process, the writer’s development, the link between creative writing and mental illness, the personality traits of comedy and screen writers, and how to teach creative writing.

This book will appeal to psychologists interested in creativity, writers who want to understand more about the magic behind their talents, and educated laypeople who enjoy reading, writing, or both.

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My Teeming Brain: Creativity in Creative Writers , by Jane Piirto, PhD.

This book considers the psychology of the creative writer. Chapters on the personality, the creative process, and the practical knowledge required in writers are set within a talent development framework. The book includes a study of 160 contemporary U.S. writers that explores the themes in their lives. Written in readable prose, this book is a must for those who want to be creative writers and for those who teach them.

Hundreds of books have been written about how to write, but few have bee written about what writers are like. [Review by publisher, Hampton Press.]

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Understanding Creativity , by Jane Piirto, PhD

“Understanding Creativity” offers advice on how to plan adventures, value work without “evaluation”, set a creative tone, and incorporate creativity values into one’s own family or classroom culture.

Readers will learn how to spot talent through a child’s behaviors and how to encourage practice. Real-life examples of artists, musicians, dancers, entrepreneurs, architects, and authors are included.

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Creativity for 21st Century Skills: How to Embed Creativity into the Curriculum , by Jane Piirto, PhD

Describes what many creative people really do when they create. It focuses on the practical applications of a theoretical approach to creativity training the author has developed. Many suggestions for enhancing creativity focus on ideas that are over 60 years old.

This new approach may be helpful for those seeking to develop 21st Century Skills of creativity. Five core attitudes (Naiveté, Risk-taking, Self-Discipline, Tolerance for Ambiguity, and Group Trust), Seven I’s (Inspiration, Intuition, Improvisation, Imagination, Imagery, Incubation, and Insight), and several General Practices-the use of ritual, meditation, solitude, exercise, silence, and a creative attitude to the process of life, with corresponding activities, are described, discussed, and illustrated.

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The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles , by Steven Pressfield

Drawing on his many years’ experience as a writer, Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance) presents his first nonfiction work, which aims to inspire other writers, artists, musicians, or anyone else attempting to channel his or her creative energies. The focus is on combating resistance and living the destiny that Pressfield believes is gifted to each person by an all-powerful deity.

While certainly of great value to frustrated writers struggling with writer’s block, Pressfield’s highly personal philosophy, soundly rooted in his own significant life challenges, has merit for anyone frustrated in fulfilling his or her life purpose. [Library Journal]

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Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within , by Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT

“Dennis Palumbo provides a sense of community in the isolation of writing, of knowing that we are not alone on this uncharted and privileged journey. He shows us that our shared struggles, fears, and triumphs are the very soul of the art and craft of writing.” – Bruce Joel Rubin, screenwriter, “Ghost” and “Deep Impact.” /

Writer’s block. Procrastination. Loneliness. Doubt. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Just plain…fear. What does it mean if you struggle with these feelings on a daily basis?It means you re a writer. Written with a unique empathy and deep insight by someone who is both a fellow writer and a noted psychotherapist, Writing from the Inside Out sheds light on the inner life of the writer and shows you positive new ways of thinking about your art and yourself.

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Creative Recovery: A Complete Addiction Treatment Program That Uses Your Natural Creativity , by Eric Maisel, PhD and Susan Raeburn, PhD.

For writers, artists, musicians, and creators in every field, this book offers a complete addiction recovery program specifically designed for the creative person. Full of explanations and exercises, this book presents ways to use your own innate creative abilities in service of your recovery and at each stage of the recovery process.

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Mastering Creative Anxiety: 24 Lessons for Writers, Painters, Musicians, and Actors from America’s Foremost Creativity Coach , by Eric Maisel, PhD

In his decades as a psychotherapist and creativity coach, Eric Maisel has found a common thread behind what often gets labeled “writer’s block,” “procrastination,” or “stage fright.” It’s the particular anxiety that, paradoxically, keeps creators from doing, completing, or sharing the work they are driven toward. This “creative anxiety” can take the form of avoiding the work, declaring it not good enough, or failing to market it — and it can cripple creators for decades, even lifetimes.

But Maisel has learned what sets successful creators apart. He shares these strategies here, including artist-specific stress management; how to work despite bruised egos, day jobs, and other inevitable frustrations; and what not to do to deal with anxiety. Implementing these 24 lessons replaces the pain of not creating with the profound rewards of free artistic self-expression.

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Brainstorm: Harnessing the Power of Productive Obsessions
by Eric Maisel, PhD and Ann Maisel

It’s true: a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Yet that’s what we do when we spend our weekend — and neurons — reliving a workplace squabble, spend a family visit chewing over childhood issues, or spend hours beating ourselves up when someone brings one of our own long-held (but never worked on) ideas to fruition.

This kind of obsessing gets us, like a hamster on a wheel, nowhere. But as noted creativity expert Eric Maisel asserts, obsessing productively leads to fulfillment rather than frustration. A productive obsession, whether an idea for a novel, a business, or a vaccine, is chosen deliberately and pursued with determination. In this provocative, practical guide, Maisel coaches you to use the tendency to obsess to your creative advantage, fulfilling both your promise and your promises to yourself.

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Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology.

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“Would I have to settle on a “practical job” and pursue my various passions on the side or choose among my interests and just commit to one thing? Both options made me my heart ache… I knew I could be doing more – that I had more to offer the world. Renaissance Business is the story of how I brought all of my interests together, and how you can do the same.” Emilie Wapnick

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> My books:

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Being Highly Sensitive and Creative
A mini report for Kindle

Many creative people recognize they are unusually sensitive to temperature, sound, touch, color and other sensations, as well as to emotional experiences, both within themselves and in others. Psychologists and neuroscience researchers are finding more confirmation for this trait of sensory processing sensitivity, present in at least fifteen percent of us, and are defining how it relates to creative ability. People can learn to thrive with the personality trait, take better care of themselves, and make use of its positive aspects for creative expression.

And, to read ebooks, get the new Kindle Fire tablet.

Part of the Amazon description:
* Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s revolutionary, cloud-accelerated web browser
* 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
* Thousands of popular apps and games, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and more
* Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
* Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle – same as an iPad
* Fast, powerful dual-core processor
* Favorite children’s books, graphic novels, and magazines in rich color

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See many more titles in the Developing Talent Bookstore

Also see Highly Sensitive Books

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