I have a long, long list of books that have improved my mindset, that have shaped me as a person, and that have impacted my career…
…but rather than overwhelm you, I’m choosing to share with you the 6 books that I would recommend every smart, ambitious creative person read (or listen to).
Each one had a significant impact on me – and on many of my clients as well. A few have even been chosen as assigned reading material for the members of my mastermind groups.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is a quick read that packs a powerful punch. It’s full of practical and applicable observations and suggestions. This book prompted me to take two actions that positively impacted my life in very significant ways. The members of my mastermind groups who have read it are finding it a treasure trove of Golden Nuggets of guidance.
The Gifts of imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown is, I believe, a must-read for all creative artists. I know that I sure needed to hear Brené’s warm, calming, logical, and inspiring insights on what it truly means to live and create as a wholehearted person (and how to actually do it). This publisher’s description sums the book up well:
In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”
I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have one or more deep inner knots around the subject of money – regardless of whether they have tons of it or not. As I’ve untied my own emotional money knots (and it’s an ongoing process), my freedom, income, and trust in myself have all increased. Filled with excellent exercises and advice, The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment by Maria Nemeth can absolutely help you transform your relationship with money (and with your self).
In The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, therapist and painter Rosamund Stone Zander, along with her husband, conductor and professor Benjamin Zander, walk us through twelve tools that can be used to dissolve the limiting and destructive stories that we tell ourselves. This is one of those books that excels at teaching you how to put transformative concepts into action so that you can actually apply them to your life. And, as you’ll discover, simply by giving yourself permission to tell a different story (a.k.a. to look at circumstances from a new perspective), you can immediately begin to improve the way you view and operate within the world. The Zanders are as grounded as they are creative which is why I find this book such a delightful, useful, and thought-provoking read.
With Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert offers us a trustworthy guidebook through the sometimes treacherous terrain of living and producing work as a creative artist. To me, her perspective is a wonderful blend of the magical and the practical. The first time I read it I found myself constantly nodding my head and saying “yep… yep… yep…” Oh, how I wish I could afford to hand this book out like candy to every creative I know.
Leveraging the Universe: 7 Steps to Engaging Life’s Magic by Mike Dooley is the most clear and down-to-earth explanation of how to receive the direct and indirect help that is available to you from The Universe (or whatever or whomever you choose to call it!). That sounds very woo-woo, but really this is about how to find your flow – not only a flow with regards to your creativity, but also a flow within your life. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take all the help I can get!