Books to Spark Creativity and Problem-Solving in Business

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

If you’ve ever encountered obstacles that feel impossible to overcome or are looking to enhance your ability to think creatively, you’re in the right place. Here’s a list we put together featuring some truly thought-provoking and motivating reads about how to tackle problems creatively. Brimming with valuable tips and techniques, these books teach you how to approach difficulties through creative problem-solving strategies that emphasize innovation and resourcefulness.

Top Business Books to Spark Creativity and Problem-Solving

Learn from the brightest minds in business. These authors share their unique insights and proven techniques to help you cultivate a creative mindset and tackle challenges with confidence.

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley, David Kelley

Creativity is an inherent trait in every individual, yet many of us lose the urge to create, often by the time we reach middle school. In their book, Creative Confidence, IDEO co-founder David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, who is also an author and partner at IDEO, delve into how we can rekindle our creative spark. They provide insights on not just building confidence but also honing the skills necessary to be innovative in both personal and professional spheres.

Creative Acts for Curious People by Sarah Stein Greenberg

Every issue demands a solution, and Creative Acts for Curious People is designed to teach you how to uncover them. Written by Sarah Stein Greenberg, the executive director of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (better known as the “d.school”), this book blends narratives and exercises to inspire readers to tackle challenges with creativity.

The book features activities like “Units of Energy Critique,” ​​which sharpens judgment and evaluation abilities, and “Expert Eyes,” which promotes the development of keen observational skills. This educational yet playful approach aims to instruct without critiquing your current professional level. This is because the innovative exercises in the book—each crafted by various creative individuals or teams—are also part of the curriculum at the d.school.

If you want to implement innovation or enhance innovation in a business challenge, your brain needs nourishment. You can find a wealth of valuable problem-solving techniques and creative solutions that have been applied by more experienced business leaders in books. Not only are business books needed for development, but sometimes you can read novels online and get a spark of creativity. Do not underestimate novels and fiction. In between serious business literature, you can read free novels online here (there are applications for smartphones). You can perceive it as additional exercises or a way to relax and distract yourself.

Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone

For most of my life, I steered clear of conflict, embodying the quintessential people pleaser. However, this book, heavily influenced by the work of academic Chris Argyris, has profoundly transformed my approach. It provides tangible strategies for engaging in constructive disagreements and conducting challenging conversations with a greater likelihood of positive outcomes. The book is concise and accessible, packed with practical tools to help you manage those daunting discussions effectively.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

A critical component of achieving success, the concept of a growth mindset, is meticulously explored in “Mindset.” Essentially, individuals who subscribe to a fixed mindset—the belief that talents and abilities are static—are significantly less likely to thrive compared to those who embrace a growth mindset—the belief that abilities can be enhanced through dedication and effort. Drawing from her extensive experience as a researcher and educator, Dweck articulates the essence of a growth mindset, its significance, and strategies for fostering it within ourselves.

Growth thinking and flexibility are essential skills for a business leader. The most enjoyable and convenient way to achieve your goal is to use novels from Google Play. You can go now to the store and install the application to read novels online. You will have thousands of free novels online in your hands. Let novels work in an unobvious way, but in this way, you expand your vocabulary, develop creativity, better understand people, etc.

Playing to Win by A.G. Lafley, Roger L. Martin

My initial encounters with strategy were far from exciting—tedious, gradual, and mostly focused on analytics. However, the framework presented by Roger and AG in Playing to Win completely transformed my perspective. With this approach, not only is everything simple to understand, but it also pushes you to think beyond what’s happening now and dream of something greater. Readers will find detailed instructions on making a solid strategy to see their vision come true in this part of the book. Rooted in Roger’s extensive experience as a management consultant and AG’s tenure as CEO at Procter & Gamble, this framework stands out.

Creative Acts for Curious People by Sarah Stein Greenberg

All challenges call for innovative solutions, and Creative Acts for Curious People is your guide to discovering how to find them. This insightful book, authored by Sarah Stein Greenberg—the executive director of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (commonly known as the “d.school”)—blends narratives with practical exercises designed to inspire readers to approach and overcome obstacles with creativity.

Among its many activities are the “Units of Energy Critique,” which sharpens judgment and evaluation capabilities, and “Expert Eyes,” which promotes the development of keen observational skills. The book strikes a balance between being educational and enjoyable, aiming to teach without preconceived notions about the reader’s current abilities. What makes these activities even more compelling is that each one originates from the inventive minds at d.school, reflecting the institution’s emphasis on creative problem-solving.

The Imagination Gap by Brian Reich

The core concept behind The Imagination Gap is that individuals, whether in personal or professional settings, have become so engrossed in making incremental, quick fixes to keep pace with the world’s constant changes that they’ve lost sight of their broader goals. Consequently, our most significant ideas and aspirations often remain unfulfilled.

Mindwandering by Moshe Bar

Wandering minds are typically seen as a distraction, an unwelcome and sometimes annoying break from our daily tasks. Throughout the day, our thoughts are constantly interrupted by worries, doubts, and random distractions, causing us to lose focus.

However, what if this so-called hindrance actually offered some benefits? That’s the intriguing perspective presented in “Mindwandering” by Moshe Bar. As the head of the cognitive neuroscience lab at the Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University, Bar leverages his expertise in neuroscience, along with insights from psychology and philosophy, to explore the positive aspects of mind-wandering. From fostering self-awareness to boosting creativity, understanding when to let your mind wander can enrich your life in surprising ways.

Key Points:

  • Common Perception: Mind-wandering is usually seen as a break in concentration caused by worries and distractions.
  • Alternative View: Moshe Bar’s research suggests that allowing our minds to wander has significant benefits.
  • Expert Perspective: Bar’s interdisciplinary approach combines neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to provide a comprehensive view of mind-wandering.
  • Benefits: Self-understanding and increased creativity are among the key benefits of strategic lapses in focus.

Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte

With the overwhelming amount of information that surrounds us, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to retain even a fraction of what they encounter throughout their lives. This is where “Building a Second Brain” steps in. Tiago Forte, the visionary behind Forte Labs, has ingeniously fused the capabilities of our minds with the advancements in technology to develop a system that preserves invaluable insights, inspirations, and other critical information that might otherwise be lost.

This second brain isn’t just a repository; its true power lies in the connections and innovative ideas that emerge when all this information is viewed collectively. Instead of focusing on individual pieces of information that are soon forgotten, we can see the bigger picture and create something extraordinary. To navigate these potential connections, Forte introduces the “C.O.D.E” method—standing for “capture,” “organize,” “distill,” and “express.” When used together, these steps pave the way to groundbreaking ideas. Alongside Forte’s additional insights, this methodology empowers readers to cultivate brilliant concepts and ideas.

Rebel Ideas By Matthew Syed

No matter whether we’re solving problems or forming personal opinions, our worldview is significantly shaped by the voices around us. It’s natural to want to surround ourselves with individuals who share our perspectives—we tend to prefer those who agree with us, reducing potential conflicts. However, this inclination can lead us down a slippery slope toward confirmation bias as we create an “echo chamber” of our own viewpoints.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered so many ways to solve problems creatively, we hope you’re leaving here both inspired and ready to see difficulties from a different angle. Our selection of books each takes its own unique spin on problem-solving. Some inspire creative thinking, while others teach new techniques. Creative problem-solving isn’t something you’re born with; it’s a skill that grows and improves each day as long as you put in the effort. Grab one of these thoughtful reads; you’ll find yourself brimming with fresh ideas before you know it!

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.