If you are interested in creativity, that means that sooner or later, someone is going to ask you The Question. You know, the one that starts, “creativity…isn’t that something you are born with?”
After teaching creativity for twenty years, I have had to deal with this question more times than I can remember. As a result, I have had to develop a menu of answers that cover all different types of settings, i.e. polite pre-dinner chitchat, through to the fellow passenger on the plane.
In order to help you navigate these tricky encounters, I want to suggest four books that can provide you with the necessary theoretical underpinning required to deal with even the most curious interviewer. It is important to note that these books are not domain-specific. They explore creativity from many perspectives and therefore enable you to elegantly deal with all creativity related questions whether they are from artistic uncles or aerospace engineer nieces.
I have arranged these books in increasing order of “researchiness”. Creativity is For Everyone was written by two creativity practitioners, and provides a gentle, but well-grounded introduction to the theories of creativity. The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity, on the other hand, offers tremendous depth, and would enable you to ask annoyingly good questions of psychology professors when they are just about to order off a dinner menu. The depth of your learning is limited only by your enthusiasm for the topic, and how well your friends and family take your hints about which books you would like as gifts this year.
Please note: These books are intended to help you understand the field, but will not necessarily help you be more creative. We are currently compiling a list of 20 books that address that issue, and we would love to hear your thoughts on books that have really helped to release your creative capability. Please use this link to vote for your favorite books. We will post the list in early December.
There are lots of wonderful books in our field, and if you find one that really speaks to you, I would love to hear about it.