Thought brilliant ideas were the reserve of "creative types"? According to some of the world's most successful creative minds, creativity is something we all possess. The question is how to drill down to access the hidden spring of ideas lurking within.
From well-researched philosophies that uncover the secrets of the creative mind to practical exercise-based guides to get your ideas flowing, here are some of the best books to help kick-start your imagination and unleash your hidden creative genius.
'The Book Of Doing: Everyday Activities To Unlock Your Creativity And Joy', Allison Arden
If reading about the theory of creativity is more likely to send you into the land of nod than get you firing on all cylinders, this could be the book for you. For Allison Arden, Publisher of Advertising Age, creativity is all about 'doing'. Perfect for those who feel they simply don't have the time to be creative, Arden suggests that everything you do in your daily life can be transformed into the opportunity to unlock creativity. The book delivers 94 activities to help you turn everything you do into an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, recapture your joy and begin unlocking the creativity that lives inside of you. It also identifies the obstacles standing in your way, and even includes calendars to find the time to do what you’ve always wanted to do. You really have no excuse now...
'It's Not How Good You Are It's How Good You Want To Be', Paul Arden
Written by top advertising guru, Paul Arden, this book is simple, concise and straight to the point. A pocket bible for the talented as well as those who are lacking in creative confidence, it is insightful, uplifting and a humorous, down-to-earth antidote to all those worthy, overly sincere self-help tomes.
'Lateral Thinking', Edward De Bono
Lateral thinking has been helping people to unleash their creativity ever since <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb9Oe83ruUw" target="_blank">Edward de Bono</a> originated the concept in 1967. In this <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lateral-Thinking-Creativity-Edward-Bono/dp/0141033088" target="_blank">internationally acclaimed bestseller</a>, de Bono offers practical techniques to encourage the habit of lateral thinking to generate ideas and unlock the imagination.
'Imagine: How Creativity Works'
<a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/books/dp/0547386079" target="_blank">Jonah Lehrer's look at the science of creativity</a> explores the notion that creativity is not a single “gift” possessed by the lucky few but rather a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively. Drawing on a diverse range of reference points, from bartenders and surfers to <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/19/imagine-creativity-jonah-lehrer-review" target="_blank">Bob Dylan </a>and Pixar, Lehrer reveals tried and tested methods for unlocking the imagination.
'How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas: Get Curious, Get Adventurous, Get Creative'
Chris Barez-Brown is head of training at <a href="http://www.whatifinnovation.com/" target="_blank">'?What If!'</a>, a leading innovation firm that coaches major blue chip companies such as Sainsbury's and Nike. But don't be put off if the thought of those motivational workshops at corporate 'team building' away-days leaves you cold. <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Have-Kick-Ass-Ideas-Adventurous/dp/0007220944/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371995937&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+have+kick-ass+ideas" target="_blank">'How To Have Kick-Ass Ideas'</a> is packed with simple, practical exercises to "help you to unlock your creative juices" and includes real-life case studies to demonstrate the techniques in action. The BBC's Alan Yentob says, "I've seen '?What If!' in action and it works. If it's good enough for Alan...
'Creativity: Flow And The Psychology Of Discovery And Invention'
Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian psychology professor, known for his work in the study of creativity and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjliwSJGDiU" target="_blank">the notion of ‘flow’</a> (the mental state when a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity). Here the psychologist uses the ‘flow’ theory to explore the creative process through <a href="http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780060928209" target="_blank">interviews with 100 exceptional people</a>, from scientists, politicians and business leaders to poets and artists.
'Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All'
Written by two leading experts in innovation, design and creativity, this book sets out to dispel the myth that creativity is the domain of “creative types” only. Firm believers that <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/david_kelley_how_to_build_your_creative_confidence.html" target="_blank">creativity is within all of us</a>, the owners of <a href="http://www.ideo.com/uk/" target="_blank">award-winning design firm, IDEO</a>, identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives.
'The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life', Twyla Tharp
According to Twyla Tharp, creativity is not the result of a spark of divine inspiration, rather it's something that must be worked at but something that is within reach for all of us. Tharp teaches <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Habit-Learn-Use-Life/dp/0743235274/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372011903&sr=1-1&keywords=twyla+tharp" target="_blank">how to make creativity a habit</a> using more than 30 simple exercises to ease the fears of anyone staring at a blank canvas who doesn't know where to start and to open the mind to new possibilities. She offers techniques for finding new ideas and also for getting out of a creative rut.
'Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking'
According to Roger Martin, the attribute that great thinkers have in common is their aptitude for "integrative thinking" or "the ability to hold two opposing ideas in their mind at once, and then reach a synthesis that contains elements of both but actually improves on each." In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Opposable-Mind-Winning-Integrative-Thinking/dp/1422139778/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334088114&sr=1-1" target="_blank">'Opposable Mind'</a> Martin draws on more than 50 management success stories, including the brains behind Proctor & Gamble, eBay and The Four Seasons hotel chain, focusing on what such innovators think, as opposed to what they do.
'On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft', Stephen King
A must-read for budding writers, this <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/On-Writing-A-Memoir-Craft/dp/1444723251" target="_blank">part-memoir, part-masterclass</a> by one of the world's most respected authors offers well-structured, grounded advice and lifts the lid on the world of the writer at work.