I am a sucker for creative self help books. I love reading them. Everyone seems to have their own way for explaining what happens and how to make it happen better, easier So this Friday my list is my top 5ive reads on the creative process.


The War of Art

This one is the biggy and deserves to be first on the list.  Dealing with Resistance and how it holds you back. Recommend this one for everyone.

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.

Steal Like An Artist

I actually fell in love with the simplicity of the advice offered here on the website. As is the case with a lot of clever blogs, it turned up as a book. I bought the book cuz I like to just pick it up and skim through it and read it a bit at a time. The book is a cute size and it makes for a great little gift for the artist in your family.

The Creative Habit

This one confirms that idea that great ideas are rarely if ever from sudden inspiration. Creating a methodical approach to your creativity creates the environment where the ideas can flourish. Also since this is about dance, there are lessons about creative collaboration in here too.

From Publishers Weekly
Perhaps the leading choreographer of her generation, Tharp offers a thesis on creativity that is more complex than its self-help title suggests. To be sure, an array of prescriptions and exercises should do much to help those who feel some pent-up inventiveness to find a system for turning idea into product, whether that be a story, a painting or a song. This free-wheeling interest across various creative forms is one of the main points that sets this book apart and leads to its success. The approach may have been born of the need to reach an audience greater than choreographer hopefuls, and the diversity of examples (from Maurice Sendak to Beethoven on one page) frees the student to develop his or her own patterns and habits, rather than imposing some regimen that works for Tharp. The greatest number of illustrations, however, come from her experiences. As a result, this deeply personal book, while not a memoir, reveals much about her own struggles, goals and achievements. Finally, the book is also a rumination on the nature of creativity itself, exploring themes of process versus product, the influences of inspiration and rigorous study, and much more. It deserves a wide audience among general readers and should not be relegated to the self-help section of bookstores.

Ignore Everybody

Another successful blogger who snagged a book deal. The author started from doodling on business cards, then blogging those same doodles while offering some advice.  Some of the lessons in this book echo the thoughts in Steal Like An Artist, but with that edge that comes from life in New York city. So the biggest knock against this one you’ll see in the comment sections is that the doodles sometimes have profanities in them. Preventing you from gifting this book to that precocious 11 yr old artist you know? I guess…

Damn Good Advice

Some say George Lois was the inspiration to Don Draper on Mad Men. Lois even acknowledges it by denying it. He certainly isn’t  timid to tell you what he thinks, which in away is a lesson in itself. Another quick fun read, small paperback size, perfect for skimming.

Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!) is a look into the mind of one of America’s most legendary creative thinkers, George Lois. Offering indispensle lessons, practical advice, facts, anecdotes and inspiration, this book is a timeless creative bible for all those looking to succeed in life, business and creativity. These are key lessons derived from the incomparle life of ‘Master Communicator’ George Lois, the original Mad Man of Madison Avenue. Written and compiled by the man The Wall Street Journal called “prodigy, enfant terrible, founder of agencies, creator of legends,” each step is borne from a passion to succeed and a disdain for the status quo.  

So there you have it. Of the 5ive, three of them are quick, spur of the moment, reads. The other two take a bit more work, but are worth it as well.

So what do  you think? Do any of these appeal to you? Do you agree? Have I missed something so amazing, you fell it’s an injustice? Please use the comments to share your faves.