If you want to develop yourself as a creative, there’s no substitute than sitting down with a book that’s well researched, informative and inspiring. In this article, we’ve gathered together six books that anyone pursuing a creative career should read.

If you decide to buy them, please click the accompanying links for Bookshop.org, which aims to support local, independent bookstores financially.

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1. Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

One of the most important skills you need to develop to be a successful creative is the ability to take criticism and learn from it. But let’s face it, no one finds this easy. In, Thanks For The Feedback, the team behind the Harvard Negotiation Project tackle this problem head-on. This book offers a simple framework and powerful tools for taking on life’s blizzard of comments and advice with curiosity and grace.

2. Upskill: 21 Keys to Professional Growth by Chris Watson

Books about career development are often full of waffle and low on practical, achievable suggestions. Here’s an exception. In Upskill: 21 Keys to Professional Growth, author Chris Watson provides you with 840 user-friendly tools and techniques reflecting the latest thinking on how to extend capability, boost professional growth and take charge of your career. Each chapter focuses on one of 21 skills and features 40 practical ideas to develop them.

3. Leader: Know, Love and Inspire your People by Katy Granville-Chapman and Emmie Bidston

Are you struggling to manage a team? This book examines how good leaders enable their teams to succeed and useful findings from neuroscience that teach us about effective leadership.
Three key principles form the book’s core: know your people, love your people, inspire your people. And you’ll finish with it a range of practical activities designed to help you reflect on your own and your team’s progress and performance.

4. Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani

We all live under a cloud titled ‘fear of failure’. But what if we didn’t? From Reshma Saujani, CEO of national non-profit Girls Who Code, comes this book which teaches us why being brave is more important than being perfect. In the process, you’ll learn how to stop berating yourself mercilessly for human mistakes, let go of guilt, and just breathe.

5. How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned from Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day

Here’s another book about facing up to failure, rather than hiding from it, from a slightly different angle. Part memoir, part manifesto, it’s based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. With chapters on dating, work, sport, babies, families, anger, and friendship, this book is about learning from our mistakes and not being afraid.

6. Humans: An A-Z by Matt Haig

Succeeding as a creative is deeply connected to understanding and empathising with people. This fun user guide to the human race will help you translate their sayings, understand exotic concepts such as ‘democracy’ and ‘sofas’, and make sense of their habits and bizarre customs. A phrasebook, a dictionary and a survival guide, Humans: An A-Z unravels all the oddness, idiosyncrasies and wonder of homo sapiens.

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