Reading is one of those incredible things that take your efforts as a creator to a new level.
You get to steal the best thinking from the people you admire and desire to emulate and apply it to your own life. This process accelerates your growth and your ability to contribute to your audience and your industry, improves your work, and helps you feel more fulfilled in the work that you do.
Here are 22 books that deserve a place on any creative's bookshelf, along with why to read it and a favorite quote or principle, organized by the authors' last names.
Best Books For Creatives in 2022:
Why: To inspire you if you're down, if you feel like a failure, or if you need some perspective to help you keep going in your creative career.
Failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight.
Why: To learn how to get better, build a team of incredible people, and learn from some of the best in the business - the creators at Pixar.
There is no growth or success without change.
Why: To learn two creative habits that will help you deepen your connection with the work, strengthen your mindset as a creator, and do your creative work more consistently. If you've ever heard the term "Morning Pages", this is the book it comes from.
We are all creative, and with the use of a few simple tools, we can all become more creative.
Why: To learn a framework for improving your life, every single day. (#1 selling book on all of Amazon in 2021!)
Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you're willing to stick with them for years.
Why: To learn from one of the most successful investors and business owners who has turned his focus from wealth generation to teaching what he's learned to those who are on the same path.
What do you want? What is true? W hat are you going to do about it?
Why: Learn the different personas that every single creator needs in order to have a successful business.
A Mature business knows how it got to be where it is, and what it must do to get where it wants to go.
Why: To learn how to be remarkable
So it seems that we face two choices: to be invisible, anonymous, uncriticized, and safe, or to take a chance at greatness, uniqueness, and the Cow.
Why: To learn how to lead groups of people
In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn't necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.
Why: To read one of the books that inspired generations of leaders
One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.
Why: To understand that you don't have to grow to be successful in your business
The point of being a company of one is to become better in ways that don't incur the typical setbacks of growth. You can scale up revenue, enjoyment, raving fans, focus, autonomy, and experiences while resisting the urge to blindly scale up employee payroll, expenses, and stress levels. This approach builds both a profit buffer for your company to weather markets and a personal buffer to help you thrive even in times of hardship.
Why: To understand one of the best frameworks for achieving your goals
What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?
Why: Before build in public was added to everyone's Twitter profiles, this book taught us how to build an audience by showing our work
The people who get what they’re after are very often the ones who just stick around long enough.
Why: To learn a simple, proven framework for starting a business
What do I actually care to change? If I could fix one thing about my corner of the world, what would that be? What kind of business do I really want to build, own, and run?
Why: To learn how to free write to generate ideas, content, and understand what you really thing
Our minds hold a vast invisible inventory of thoughts and expertise. These phenomena might better help us create ideas and solve problems if we could only reach them, play with them, develop them, and make them practical.
Why: To understand that in order to stand out, you need to be different than everyone else doing the same thing
If you offer something that serves, you must make everyone aware. We need you, but we don’t know you exist. And that “not knowing you exist” part is your responsibility to fix. Starting immediately.
Why: One of my favorite books of all time that teaches you the value of deliberate practice and focusing on what you can control in your creative life
When it comes to creating work you love, following your passion is not particularly useful advice.
Why: To learn what it takes to do creative work
Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway.
Why: To understand how to overcome resistance in your creative life
There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.
Why: To understand that you have to control the economics around your offers
There's no scarcity in the world for people who share abundantly. One of the ways I keep myself oversubscribed today is by the very process of sharing big ideas. I've come to discover that the more I share, the more people demand.
Why: To learn a framework to become a content entrepreneur
I believe the absolute best way to start and grow a business today is not by launching or pushing products, but by creating a system to attract, build, and retain an audience. Once you’ve built a loyal audience, one that loves you and the information you send, you can most likely sell the audience anything you want. This model is called Content Inc.
Why: To learn marketing as a creative or artist
Business is definitely just as creative as music.
Why: To learn how to make better decisions
No matter what you say, your actions reveal the truth.
I'll add one more for good measure: Craftsman Creative. It's a book that helps five-figure creators build six-figure businesses, and covers everything from mindset to finances to marketing and sales to audience building and systems thinking.