My Favourite Books for Creative Simplicity

My Favourite Books for Creative Simplicity

In honour of World Book Day I am republishing this post that originally appeared on my other blog Callaloo Soup.

I few years ago, I started reading books about creativity. Not books with creative projects per se, but books that talk about helping you to tap into your own innate creativity. The first one I read was the ubiquitous The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and that jumped started my desire to read more.

Why did I want to read books like this? I never thought that I was creative. Not only am I crap at drawing, but growing up I was always propelled towards math and science, because I was “bright”. Add to that the world’s worst art teacher in high school who basically made me think that I had no business being in his class, and I turned my back on creative pursuits. But then in 2001  I discovered scrapbooking, and it was like the floodgates opened. I remained totally insecure in my creative abilities however, and nerd that I am I turned to my constant love: books.

Below is a list of books I’ve read that have helped me claim and develop my inner creativity.

Flow, the psychology of optimal experience

This study by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a bit ponderous but worth the effort to read. I recommend reading it again and again like I did, because each time you will clean new insights! Flow, is that state where people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In the book you will learn how not to come upon this state by chance, but to actually control it.


I bought this book by Steve Brown after having my son Kieran, because I was reading lots of articles about play based development, and wanted to have a deeper look. Turns out play is not just for kids! It may seem to be trivial or unimportant, but humans of all ages need to play.

The Creative Family

I loved reading Amanda Soule’s blog, so I had to get this book. It has been especially helpful for all that play based development stuff, as I was also convinced that play for kids doesn’t equal a room full of crappy toys. There are lots of simple projects for fostering creativity and family connections which I love.


This book is all about words! Real words, made up words and word combinations! It’s absolutely fantastic, and includes tons of fun exercises for exploring words and poems. Plus Susan Wooldridge is a born storyteller and each one of her words totally drew me into this book.

The War of Art

Steven Pressfield saved me from myself with this book. Procrastination was my middle name y’all, but Stephen gave me the kick in the butt I needed to break through all the noise in my head. Cross reference his other book Do The Work.

Imagination: How Creativity Works

Of course the nerd in me couldn’t resist a book that analyses how creativity works! How do people come up with the ideas and breakthroughs they have before creating something amazing? It isn’t all just having epiphanies in the shower you know.

These books live between my bedside table and office, as I refer to them over and over again.

Can you recommend any other books about creativity to me?

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