7 Books to Increase Creative Thinking and Problem Solving

When the pandemic first shuttered theaters and museums, a friend and colleague with a central role in the art world was heart-broken. To offer hope, my response was that, luckily, artists have creativity on their side.

Recently, some have predicted that more than a third of museums will not re-open again. Others anticipate that live performances on Broadway won’t occur until 2021. Some film production companies, which have slowly resumed projects, need to operate under strict CDC guidelines that significantly alter the completion of scenes.

More than ever before, creative thinking and problem solving is needed in every industry. Here are some books to grease the wheels of that process:

Creativity Takes Courage: Dare to Think Differently

Finding the courage to create is something the editors of Flow know a lot about. Creativity is a central value of the Flow mission, evident in every issue that bursts with the wild imaginations of its artists, writers, and editors. In Creativity Takes Courage, Flow brings together inspiration, hands-on projects and boundary-pushing activities to show readers how to unleash their inner artists.

Organized around a series of 12 “dares”–including Dare to Fail, Dare to Be a Kid, Dare to Be Bored, Dare to Go Offline, Dare to Collaborate–Creativity Takes Courage encourages the reader to be fully present . . . and spend idle time staring out the window. To leave your comfort zone and start a project, without hesitation . . . and nourish yourself with [virtual] museum visits and reading time. Each dare includes fill-in pages and prompts to go deeper into what motivates us or hinders us, like mindful questions to identify fears of failure, or a Dare to Commit notebook for recording both daily and weekly projects.

To live more creatively and enjoy every minute of the process, order Creativity Takes Courage: Dare to Think Differently

Creative Quest

Questlove–musician, bandleader, designer, producer, culinary entrepreneur, professor and all-around cultural omnivore–shares his wisdom on the topics of inspiration and originality in a one-of-a-kind guide to living your best creative life.

In Creative QuestQuestlove synthesizes all the creative philosophies, lessons and stories he’s heard from the many creators and collaborators in his life. He reflects on his own experience to advise readers and fans on how to consider creativity and where to find it. He addresses many topics–what it means to be creative, how to find a mentor and serve as an apprentice, the wisdom of maintaining a creative network, coping with critics and the foibles of success.

Whether discussing his own life or channeling the lessons he’s learned from forefathers such as George Clinton, collaborators like D’Angelo or like-minded artists including Ava DuVernay, David Byrne, Björk and others, Questlove speaks with the candor and enthusiasm that fans have come to expect. To follow this important conversation about creativity, order Creative Quest

Creativity and Problem Solving

The crucial element separating an exceptional career from a lackluster one is the ability to devise innovative solutions to work challenges. With research showing the direct relationship between ideas and profitability, creative thinking skills are vital to professional advancement. As one of the world’s premiere success experts, Brian Tracy knows that creativity can be developed with practice and a few helpful tools. This exceptional audiobook reveals 21 proven, practical techniques listeners can use to immediately begin generating a stream of productive ideas, including how to:

  • Stimulate the three primary triggers to creativity
  • Inspire a creative mindset in staff through recognition, rewards, and environment
  • Use methods such as Brainstorming, Zero-Based Thinking, Nominal Group Technique, and Lateral Thinking to solve problems, improve systems, devise new products, and come up with fresh, exciting marketing angles
  • Ask focused questions to generate elegant solutions
  • Understand the difference between mechanical and adaptive thinking
  • Rigorously evaluate new ideas…without shutting down the creative impulse

Containing mind-stimulating exercises and down-to-earth strategies, this career-changing audiobook helps anyone tap into the root source of their own intuitive genius. Order Creativity and Problem Solving

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

One of the world’s leading creative artists, choreographers and creator of the smash-hit Broadway show, Movin’ Out, shares her secrets for developing and honing your creative talents. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use, The Creative Habit provides you with 32 practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable 35-year career.

In Where’s Your Pencil? Tharp reminds you to observe the world — and get it down on paper. In Coins and Chaos, she gives you an easy way to restore order and peace. In Do a Verb, she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In Build a Bridge to the Next Day, she shows you how to clean the clutter from your mind overnight.

Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin…

To strengthen your creative muscle, read The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Create: Tools from Seriously Talented People to Unleash Your Creative Life

Many of us think of creativity as something distant and incompatible with daily life–a skill that artists get to use but not the rest of us. Maybe you feel like a land-locked surfer, yearning for exhilarating rides. Maybe you live for the few hours a week when you can take photographs, paint, or write. It’s time for a new mindset. Create shows you how to rediscover the artist within you.

People who make a living in the creative arts know that there is a cycle to unlocking the imagination. Visualize, know your tools, work your craft, refine, share. When you tap into this cycle, you’ll find ways to operate at your highest state in all aspects of life.

Overcoming the barriers to innovation is easier than you think. Marc Silber, best-selling author and award-wining creative and educator, shows you how to avoid the traps of procrastination, overthinking and self-doubt. The exercises in Create are specifically designed to help you find certainty and confidence in self-expression.

Order Create: Tools from Seriously Talented People to Unleash Your Creative Life

Think Like an Artist: And Lead a More Creative, Productive Life

How do artists think? Where does their creativity originate? How can we, too, learn to be more creative? BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz seeks answers to these questions in his exuberant, intelligent, witty, and thought-provoking style. Think Like an Artist identifies 10 key lessons on creativity from artists that range from Caravaggio to Warhol, Da Vinci to Ai Weiwei, and profiles leading contemporary figures in the arts who are putting these skills to use today.

After getting up close and personal with some of the world’s leading creative thinkers, Gompertz has discovered traits that are common to them all. He outlines basic practices and processes that allow your talents to flourish and enable you to embrace your inner Picasso–no matter what you do for a living.

With wisdom, inspiration and advice from an author named one of the 50 most original thinkers in the world by Creativity magazine, Think Like an Artist is an illuminating view into the habits that make people successful. It’s time to read Think Like an Artist: And Lead a More Creative, Productive Life

The Creative Thinking Handbook: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Problem Solving in Business

Some people say that creativity is about thinking outside the box, whereas others believe it is about being creative inside the box. What if there is no box?

More than 82% of companies believe creativity directly impacts results, yet few of us understand how it comes about or how to put it into practice. If we could identify and remove the “box” around our thinking, we could unlock unlimited streams of creativity for professional and business success. The Creative Thinking Handbook offers an integrated system of personalized insights, along with clear, practical tools and strategies – including the tried-and-trusted Solution Finder model.

This book enables you to develop your creative problem-solving skills to make better decisions with an individualized step-by-step strategy. Based on long-term research and testing of the creative thinking process, The Creative Thinking Handbook helps you generate more ideas and find brilliant solutions for any professional challenge.

Click to order The Creative Thinking Handbook: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Problem Solving in Business

Additional Resources to Encourage Creative Thinking and Problem Solving

To increase your creative problem-solving, check out 5 Business Books to Help You Pivot and Thrive. 

Then, check out our other creativity-related book tips.

Disclosure: Artsphoria is an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

 

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Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, CEO and owner of Artsphoria Publishing, Media Group & Shop (https://www.artsphoria.org): Artsphoria International Magazine (https://www.artsphoria.com); Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (https://www.artsphoria.biz); Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (https://www.artsphoria.us); Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World (https://www.artsphoria.net); Artsphoria: Event Advertising & Reporting (https://www.artsphoria.info); Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (https://artsphoria.live) and Artsphoria Shop (https://www.artsphoriashop.com). She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.