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My Ten Favorite Books on Creativity and Innovation

I've written countless (well... I suppose I could count them, but what's the point?) articles about creativity and innovation. As the leader of an intensely creative team for fifteen years (the team that created and produced Seattle's legendary comedy TV show Almost Live!), I've been a student of creativity and innovation for the better part of my life. As a motivational and leadership speaker, these two different but interrelated topics are always represented in my keynotes and other programs.

The title of this article - My Ten Favorite Books on Creativity and Innovation - is somewhat disingenuous, as there are so many excellent books out there. But people seem to like lists of ten things, so here, in no particular order, we go:

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. Tharp is one of America's greatest choreographers, and no stranger to the creative process. In this highly literate - but very readable - book, she takes us through her process of creation. The exercises in the book are good, and while Tharp doesn't come from the world of business, her examples and anecdotes paint one of the truest pictures of what the creative process really looks - and feels - like.

The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation by Frans Johansson. This is not a "how-to" book (don't worry - I've got several of them coming up). Instead, it's a book full of fascinating examples of Johansson's central idea: that creative ideas occur at the intersection of previously existing - but until now unconnected - ideas. If you ever wanted to know ants helped truck drivers negotiate the Swiss Alps, this is the book for you!

A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger von Oech. Okay, this one's a bit obvious. It's been one of the books on creativity for years and years. There are those who think it's a little basic and simplistic, but I disagree. This is a "how-to" (and "how-not-to") book that is clear, fun to read, and very, very practical! In fact, one Christmas I gave a copy to each member of my already highly creative team. I'm a fan of von Oech's, and if you want to build a more creative team, this book should be on your shelf.

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