Hack your way to creativity with a reading list

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books, reading, list, productivity

Getting around a mental road block or creative black hole by reading is a rewarding and stimulating choice. But only if you have the right material to hand and if you read it in the right way. Let us help guide you to constructing the perfect reading list. From a few chapters of modern literary fiction to a classic biography, you can unwind, refocus and find fresh insight.

Reading, 2016 Style

We can all read, right. But do you make the best of what you learn and how you spend that time? If you’re reading for inspiration, then one key tip is to take notes. As you go, jot down in the margin, on post-it notes or a scratchpad what you learn. That way when you suddenly realize you’re 10 chapters in, you won’t forget those gems of wisdom. Also, write about what you learn. That helps reinforce the message. If you blog or share content, it helps to widen the pool of knowledge.

Literary fiction could also help improve your insight and perception, according to some research. That’s a great reason to use your expense account in Barnes and Noble, but only on the right books. Popular, sci-fi and non-fiction readers demonstrated no benefit. Well-written literary fiction, on the other hand, can help you become a better networker and thinker, engaging your critical faculties and broadening your awareness of people and interaction.

Well regarded recent LitFic includes The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian, The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin and Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa, just to get you started. Whatever you read, joining a book club is a great way to help you understand the text better, to see how others can have alternative perspectives, and get you out of the office.

Reading for A Better Mind

Good reading lists for managers, entrepreneurs, leaders, dummies (and it is good to admit you don’t know it all from time to time) and many other categories are just a Google search away. With literally hundreds in each category, that throws a roadblock in the way of the indecisive, especially time-poor business people. However, if you need to change the way you think, or improve your creativity, then we’d recommend leafing through these fine works.

As a guide to the mind, Thinking Fast and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman can help you reboot your critical thinking. It helps you understand how and why you think about certain things. It describes our speedy intuition that many of us rely on in today’s fast-paced world. But, also our slower understanding and the fact that our logical minds can zap us with the solution to a problem days later out of nowhere.

For those on their early journeys in business or startups, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz provides an experienced guide through the minefield of business decision making. It provides fact-based approaches for success and a list of the errors you will make and how to navigate them. When it comes to building a business, this can help for the battles ahead.

Many engineers or code people have trouble selling their product. This is where The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries come in useful, teaching you everything you need to know about consumer psychology. It can help guide and refine your product messaging, and explain the herd mind of the consumer and the requirements of any potential client. While on the subject of customers, Setting the Table by Danny Meyer will show you how to treat the people who use your products and services. Good customer service will win more business than any shiny brochure. Yet, it’s amazing how many people are still slavishly focused on spouting big numbers or getting seen in certain publications.

Finally, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon provides those with creative block all the tools they need to get motoring. So much of what we all do already exists, so why reinvent the wheel? The trick is to add your own spin, your personal twist or hacking, mixing or merging what has come before.

Let us know in the comments what your essential reading is. How did it help you become a better worker, planner or ideas person?

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