Books for Creative Souls, Filmmakers Included
6 Recommended Books for Storytellers and Creative Souls
I’ve been wanting to share a selection of books I’ve devoured and loved for some time now, but kept waiting to have more. It comes as a complement to last year’s Unconventional Ressources for Filmmakers whose list I still stand strong behind. These six new books are an addition to the first selection.
Whether you want to make films, write books, or paint doesn’t matter, as long as you want to create, all of these books will be relevant to you. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.
Full disclosure: the links are affiliate to Amazon, which means that if you buy a book there based on the link here, I’ll get a percentage (that equals to cents I believe). If you’d rather not me have the cents, you can simply enter from your own search, no hard feelings!
This book went instantly into one of my favorite non-fiction book list and since I’ve finished it (March 2015) I’ve offered it many times, recommended it many more, and decided to buy the paperback version for myself to go through it again (I read it on Kindle first).
Josh Waitzkin is an American Chess Champion turned Tai-Chi and Ju-Jitsu World Champion. Over the years, he took an interest into deconstructing how he managed to learned seemingly different skills and develop them until reaching world-class level. This book is about his journey and the lessons he got out of it.
If you are into deconstructing knowledge, bettering your learning skills or… if you have young kids and you are wondering how to handle their possible gifts, this is for you.
Big Magic is a love letter to the beauty of leading a creative life but not only. With a disarming simplicity (that some might easily want to take for lack of depth, but don’t be fooled, expressing clearly and making accessible nebulous concepts requires a deep understanding of the matter) Gilbert leads the reader through a flow of concepts connected to the art of living creatively. Fear, trust, excuses, blocks, procrastination, self-destruction, joy, lightness, worth everything is mentioned and connected to it.
Creativity, the pursuit of creativity, nurturing creativity are at the chore of what drives me. (some might call it a life purpose.) It’s a subject that I’m always interested in hearing about, but it’s also something that I’m getting very familiar with and actively working on. (If you are not familiar with the Creative Break yet, now might be a good time.)
Being creative is the way I’ve been officially leading my life for over a decade, burnout, highs and lows included, so the 101 bullshit on the subject wouldn’t cut.
I am not sure how to explain this book but I’m going to try. Atul Gawande is a surgeon who was on a quest to make medicine safer (I won’t go into the numbers, but get ready to be scared) and realized that there was one simple tool, overlooked by almost everybody and yet that was behind successful intricate enterprises in various fields (flying planes, building skyscrapers, surgeries, high risk investments etc.) : the checklist. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming).
It’s a short and enlightening read that is made captivating by Gawande’s pick for examples (the first chapter reads likes an episode of ER. Don’t start this book before going to bed, it won’t put your brain to sleep at all.)It has changed the way I think about Checklists and I look forward to finding ways to implement them strategically in areas that might not call for them at first glance.
How does that relate to creative souls? Well, whether you’re creating during your off time or full time, you need to organise yourself and chances are you’re your own boss in that field. Between creative sessions, social media, research on the Internet, meetings, and a thousand different small tasks that come in between, justified or not, you better be organise if you don’t want days to turn into weeks and months with nothing to show but an idea.
The Creative Habit is a very specific title for a specialised topic. But if you are into creativity and process, dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp really went to great length to make sure you would learn and get out of her wisdom and knowledge as much as possible. A no brainer if you consider yourself a creative.
The Crossroads of Should and Must is a short and visually pleasant read about a topic that touches everybody at a different degree of intensity: how to know what ‘should’ to drop?, when to drop a “should“?, how to find your “must“?, and overall how to find how to express who you are in a fulfilling and “true” way.
Luna found a way to give practical tools to seek the answers to those big questions, and the book is a cross-cut between her own story, quotes and suggested exercises.
I also have a feeling that it will become a Christmas go-to gift for the 30+. (The book itself is a beautiful object.)
It’s the third book I read from Ryan Holiday, and the second I recommend for creatives. (The first, The Obstacle is the Way was part of the first round of books recommendation). Out of the three books I’ve read, this one is the most accomplished so far and tackles the topic of humility and its importance by showing you how its vilain (ego) damages and destroys careers and selves.
However big your ego today, if let loose and not handled with a firm hand, it might kick in and undermine your hard work when things get tough and confusing. As creatives, we are bound to get noticed to make a living, and at the same time, chasing the public spotlight can easily blind us. Our career choice is an ultimate paradox. So reading about known figures and how ego pushed them on the wrong side of the fence, or how they pushed it away is not only useful, it can prove crucial.