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5 inspiring creativity books everyone in marketing should read

5 inspiring creativity books everyone in marketing should read Blog Feature

Marcella Jalbert

UX Designer, Host of ‘Creator’s Block’ Podcast, Designer for 50+ Sites on HubSpot

February 20th, 2020 min read

From a very young age, I have been fascinated with reading.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are times spent browsing the aisles of a bookstore — cozying up in a corner of one of the aisles, flipping through the crisp, untouched pages, nearly intoxicated by the smell of fresh ink.

I loved it so much, I would choose a trip to the bookstore over the toy store that was just next door (much to my Barbie-collector mother's dismay).

So, it comes as no surprise to me that books still hold such an important place in my everyday life.

Books have the power to inspire us to do more, see more, be more.

Reading (or listening, if you prefer a good audiobook as I often do) has frequently helped me infuse a little magic back into my life when I was feeling under the weather.

Picking up a good title can also help us get some much-needed perspective.

Whether it’s a whimsical work of fiction or a true story of life changing proportions, one thing reading always manages to do is bring us outside of ourselves — and that is never a bad thing.

Now, whether you’re looking for a little something to put that pep back in your step or if you’re just on the hunt for your next juicy read to fill your creative resource pool, I’ve got five recommendations (backed directly by the IMPACT team) that will inspire creatives and marketers alike.

1. Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need

by Margot Leitman

Great for storytelling

 

This first books gets talked about a lot around IMPACT (and it even has its own dedicated article).

I think this is in part because, in today’s marketing world, a lot of writing is done by people who are don't consider themselves "writers."

The truth is, however, as we get introduced to the practice of writing, we become writers — just ones who have a lot of room for growth.

With this in mind, Long Story Short  helps you write and tell more compelling stories.

Writer and comedian Margot Leitman deconstructs the art of storytelling with a playful approach that tends to feel more like a fun exercise in improv than a writing class.

“People don't connect with copy, they connect with stories they can relate to; stories that make them feel something.

As a writer, Long Story Short helped refresh and reinforce a lot of the fundamentals of storytelling I use everyday to accomplish this, but what I love most about it is how accessible it makes storytelling even for individuals who don't consider themselves writers.

Everyone has experiences worth sharing and the exercises Margot uses to uncover them are not only effective, but fun. While discovering your stories, you also feel like you're discovering a little bit more about yourself. It's a great read." - Ramona Sukhraj, Head of Editorial Content

 

2. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

by Brené Brown

Great for courage

 

If you haven’t heard of social scientist Brené Brown, pause right now and watch her TED Talk on vulnerability. 


Brown’s work really deals with what it is to be a human in today’s culture and society, especially as a professional.

It’s often hard uncomfortable, and even lonely.

Through Braving the Wilderness, she guides us on an exploration of what it means to truly belong and why it is equally important to stand alone when we need to.

Braving the Wilderness was also covered as a Creator’s Block Bookclub favorite!

Braving the Wilderness was a two-fold win for me. On the one hand, Brené Brown has a singular talent for making those who feel unseen or unheard seen and very much heard. I related so much to her stories of otherness.

On the other hand, her ability to let me explore that sense of otherness within myself, and question how I genuinely feel a sense of belonging on my own, has opened up my ability to write and express myself to others in a way that's more authentic and true to who I really am." - Liz Moorehead, Director of Web & Interactive Content

 

3. Start with Why

by Simon Sinek

Great for leadership


Author and speaker Simon Sinek postulates that users won’t buy into a product, service, or movement unless they why they should. 

Drawing from a vast library of real-life anecdotes and experiences of past great leaders (like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and The Wright Brothers) Sinek paints a picture of leaders who start with WHY and the difference that it has made.

Start with Why is a great book for any designer looking to change the way they approach design. In this book, Simon Sinek shows how the most influential leaders have always focused on selling the WHY, rather than the how, behind their products, services and movements. Any designer can take the lessons taught in this book and use them to strengthen their design thinking.” - Joe Rinaldi, UX Designer

 

4. My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown

by Meera Lee Patel

Great for creator’s block

My Friend Fear is equal parts writing and art.

Painter and author Meera Lee Patel marries her words and brush strokes to create compositions of art that seamlessly convey the message both directly and symbolically.

Leaning into her own experiences, Patel tells stories of how fear can be a guidepost, an awakening, and so much more than just something you dread.

My Friend Fear is a reflection on Patel’s personal journey and a guide for taking the power from your own fear and letting it illuminate the desires behind it.

Often the things that we are avoiding, upon closer examination, reveal something deeper about ourselves, whether it’s self doubt or some other internal monologue holding us back.

I read this book when I was going through a really tough time in my life. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and more specifically crippling fear of the “what if's.”

I’m no stranger to fear (having dealt with this anxiety my whole life), but what this book really helped me learn was be more critical of where my fear was coming from.

Learning to lean into the fear and discomfort showed me that there can be much more below the surface, and what we often mistake for fear can just be self-doubt we’ve trained ourselves to believe over the course of our lives.

Professionally, being able to understand the fears that may be holding you back from taking risks are the first step in overcoming them. 

5. Creativity For Sale: How I Made $1,000,000 Wearing T-Shirts and How You Can Turn Your Passion Into Profit, Too

by Jason SurfrApp (Now Jason Zook)

Great for your entrepreneurial spirit


Jason SurfrApp is known for his totally unconventional entrepreneurship and marketing tactics like founding the company IWearYourShirt in 2008 where he got paid by different companies to wear a t-shirt with their logo for a day and auctioning off his last name as a sort of ad space, hence the name SurfrApp and current change to Zook.

Creativity For Sale is one of the more tactical books on this list, loaded with tips, tricks, strategies, and processes to guide you on your own journey to creatively turn your passion into profit.

Author and entrepreneur Jason SurfrApp shares his own stories learning to keep his head afloat amidst navigating the murky waters of entrepreneurship.

“A big part of creativity (and business in general) is pulling from your internal pool of experiences and inspirations to create something. Creativity For Sale is full of examples and mental models that you can add to your creative pool. It’s a quirky, fun read, and you’ll end up with at least a few new ideas about how to create and profit from your skills.”

Morgan VanDerLeest, Front-end Developer

 

The More You Know 🌟



Books can often be brushed aside, with the rise of more short-form content like blogs, videos, and podcasts, but they can be one of our most abundant sources of empowerment.

Yes, we often rush to Amazon first, but don’t forget about the totally free resources available to you.

Your public library not only offers physical copies, but now most libraries provide you with access to online libraries and apps (like OverDrive, Libby, Hoopla, and more) so you can enjoy your content in whatever way works for you. Plus it’s environmentally friendly! 

As W.B. Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” and books are the kindling that keeps that fire burning.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Happy reading, friends!

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