Top 10 Books in Design, Creativity, & Entrepreneurship

The holidays are around the corner, and travel time is the perfect time to get to some reading that you’ve been meaning to do. We’ve curated a list for you of some of the best literature in the market on design, creativity, and entrepreneurship.


Beautiful Users: Designing for People by Ellen Lupton, Thomas Carpentier, Tiffany Lambert


“Pleasurable read on the main tenet that design should put users first. The environment, products, and tools should be designed around the user whoever they may be. An unorthodox and funny read with designs to complement stories of dracula, the borg queen, and conjoined twins to list a few. Highlights universal design, industrial design, product design, and environmental design principles, as well as history of ergonomics and the standardization of human measurements.”

Tiki Pop by Sven A. Kirsten


“Tiki culture at its height was a manifestation of exotic visions of island culture inspired by the tales of American soldiers stationed in the South Pacific during World War II: trees loaded with exotic fruits, sleepy lagoons, white-sand beaches, and gorgeous people wearing grass skirts as they danced half-naked during all-night orgies of food and music. Americans embraced these visions and incorporated fantasy into reality: mid-century fashion, popular music, eating and drinking, and even architecture were influenced by the Tiki trend.”

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman


“The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how—and why—some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.”


Creativity, Inc. by Edmund Catmull

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“Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”

Creativity is Forever by Gary A. Davis


Gary Davis breathes life into a textbook, nonfictional and theorectical to the core. The use of pictures, transitions, creative and self-actualized self-tests and the few times he inserts himself and talks about his own research at the University caused me to buy in and want to read everything. Davis begins by talking about definitions (which there are many) and theory of creativity. He writes about places creativity may come from and the traits of a creative person. The most beneficial aspect of this book had exercises of how to increase creative thinking skills and cause people to think “outside the box.”

Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko


“Creativity expert Michael Michalko reveals life-changing tools that will help you think like a genius. From the linear to the intuitive, this comprehensive handbook details ingenious creative-thinking techniques for approaching problems in unconventional ways. Through fun and thought-provoking exercises, you’ll learn how to create original ideas that will improve your personal life and your business life. Michalko’s techniques show you how to look at the same information as everyone else and see something different.”


The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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“Phenomenal book! It is definitely a must-read for anyone that is interested in starting a company or organization that is trying to provide value to the world. The initial gut reaction of many people is that the book’s recommendations go completely against common sense; Eric Ries suggests to release products and feature that are no where near ‘perfect’. However, in the end, you realize how much sense there is behind his ideas.”

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger


“Warren Berger studies the 300 of the most creative, successful executives in business and found that they shared a number of tendencies and characteristics, but one stood out at the top of the list—they all were master questioners. Questioning can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. The most creative, successful people tend to be expert questioners. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking and finding powerful answers.”

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel


“If you want to read something clear and comprehensive, that’s not afraid to question conventional business wisdom and make bold prescriptions for creating new companies, new products, new industries, new anything, and above all will make you think, you’ve come to the right book.”

 Editor’s Pick

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie


“I probably would not have lasted five minutes in a room with Chanel, but she is fascinating beyond belief. I am still floored, thinking of all the important and influential people she surrounded herself with and the history she lived through. Her clothes are nothing that would suit me, but when the author talked about trying them on and the freedom of movement she felt, I was intrigued. I love that Chanel got rid of corsets and heavy hair and restrictive clothing for us.”

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This post was originally published on May 24, 2015 and has been modified since then.