3 Great Books about Creative Thinking

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Emily Wenstrom

Staff Writer

By day, Emily Wenstrom is a content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstorm, an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author whose debut novel Mud was named 2016 Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association.. Her Chronicles of the Third Realm War series includes Mud (#1), Tides (#2), Rain (#0), and more to come. Follow her on Twitter @ejwenstrom.

Every spring I get a terrible case of spring fever.

For me, this manifests not only as a desire to be outdoors, but also in a great burst of energy and ideas.

A creativity fever.

It can be a bit of a problem since all those big ideas can be distracting from other work that needs to get done. But all in all, it’s not the worst problem for a fantasy author with a day job in the creative industry.

And I love this feeling. Even more, I like to optimize it. When inspiration strikes I want to make the most of it, and I want to get more of those aha moments, and bigger, better ideas.

For the tricks to do this, I turn to books about creative thinking. Here are my three favorites on tapping into your best thinking, getting your brain outside the box, and capturing the creative spirit.

Flow, From 3 Great Books about Creative Thinking | BookRiot.comFlow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In this book, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi collects the insights and habits of the top minds in a wide range of fields, exploring everything from their eureka moments to their daily routines.

In short, he explores both how they think, and how they set themselves up for that thinking.

The book is organized by what Csikszentmihalyi felt were the top traits and behaviors of these brilliant individuals, and are illuminated by stories, examples and observations from his interviews.

Many of the lessons from these pages have stuck with me for years and helped me to evolve and optimize my own routine. 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

If Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi sounds a bit intense and structured for you, try this book from Elizabeth Gilbert instead. In Big Magic, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love offers a much more holistic approach to the process.

Her ideas about creativity get a little sappy at times, but she still believes in the importance of a person’s vision and personal determination as an important part of the process. It’s like if Oprah were a hippie.

By and large, the book is stuffed full of wisdom, grand quotable statements and heart-swelling inspiration.

Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie

“This is all great,” you may be thinking, “But I don’t have a ton of control over my creative process—I work in an office, where my structure is set for me.”

This book is for you.

Written by Gordon MacKenzie about his adventures over 30 years working for Hallmark Cards, this book explores how the bureaucracy of even an open-minded, creative company can sometimes become cumbersome and limiting—as well as how MacKenzie stirred up trouble, imagination and sometimes, incredible results.

Along the way, he prompts readers to think outside the red tape of their work environment through his example and experiences.

He gets a little down on offices on occasion, but ultimately, this book offers hope for the office worker that there is still room for creativity, and in fact, your creative thinking could making meaningful lasting difference within your office.

What are your favorite books about creative thinking? Want even more? Find more books to jumpstart your creativity here