40 books to maximize your creative potential and level-up in design
A list for designers who feel stuck, need inspiration or hungry for knowledge.
These books have been the most impactful books in my work+life. They have helped me stay inspired, learn from the experts and motivate my best work.
Use these books to examine your beliefs, attitudes, habits and skills. You’ll learn how to invest in yourself, build a remarkable career and live a fulfilling creative life.
If you’re looking specifically for UX/Product Design book recommendations, see my experimentally hyperbolic The Only UX Reading List Ever
Build your dream career and fly higher
Can you step outside your comfort zone? Bounce back from failure? Build new skills? Tapping your true potential does not just happen. It demands dedication, creativity, and a whole lot of self-awareness. Learn the why’s and how’s with these reads.
Tame your inner grouch and elevate your mindset
Keeping a positive mindset is incredibly difficult to do when the pressure to succeed is high and the world feels like it’s going to shit. Most of us think that our biggest barriers are external, however the truth is, negativity is in our own heads and is our biggest enemy. Change what you can do, by changing how you think. (I’ve also written about this, see Taming your inner grouch)
Unleash and sharpen your creativity
When you’re feeling stuck, sometimes it’s best to ditch your go-to thinking patterns and try something different. These books list concrete strategies for generating ideas, while also explaining how creativity works. You’ll build an arsenal of tools to help unleash the possibilities hidden within your mind.
Work smarter and be more productive
Being able to stay focused is an increasingly valuable skill in our connected age. Packed with insights and practical strategies, these reads have been an invaluable resource in the way I spend my hours. Learn how to minimize distractions, stay focussed and produce better results in less time.
- Manage Your Day-to-Day, by 99U, Jocelyn K. Glei
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport
- Unsubscribe, by Jocelyn K. Glei
- Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Essentialism, by Greg McKeown
Tell more captivating stories
Stoytelling is a foundational skill for designers, whether to sell yourself, or to sell your work. But, great stories, don’t just happen randomly; they are designed.
Read these books to master the art of storytelling, create and deliver better presentations and captivate your audience.
Collaborate and build stronger relationships
While conflict is inevitable, constructive conflict relies so much on communication and conversations. Conversations move things forward and stop things from moving forward. These books will help you better empathize and effectively communicate with yourself and your colleagues.
The best design books have the power to spark new thoughts, theories, ideas, and opinions. Offering practical advice, facts, anecdotes and inspiration, at least one of these should be in the house of a designer.
Healthy habits to live wiser
It’s impossible to separate our work from our life. Tap into the collective advice on health, wealth, and wisdom distilled into super actionable tools and tactics.