The Creative Cafe
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The Creative Cafe

From the Archives: Novelist Ernest Hemingway — LA Times

A Treasure Beyond Measure

“The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference. Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively. They only collect things they really love.” Austin Kleon

Anything that improves the quality of life for yourself and others is something worth collecting. And there are few things more precious and worthy of collecting than books.

This is my love affair with books and why I believe a personal working library (books for consumption, not just visual pleasure) — is so vital.

The Collection of Books

In collecting books I’ve created a personal working library that teaches, instructs, and helps defend my ideals. It serves as a platform for my philosophy on life, love, art, spirituality, business, personal development, creativity, politics and much more. In my books I find nourishment for my core sensibility of character. My library also includes Journals jammed from cover to cover with quotes, ideas and pretty much anything I’ve found interesting or inspiring in the course of my adult life.

These books and Journals are stepping stones that I hope will attract the favorable attention of my son and daughter someday. Maybe even a lifeline, or at least a good kick in the ass, as these books have been for me.

“If anyone wants to try to enclose in a small space, in a single house or a single room, the history of the human spirit and to make it his own, he can only do this in the form of a collection of books.” ~ Hermann Hesse on Why We Read and Always Will

Ten Extraordinary Books in My Working Library

I’d be selling you short if I didn’t share my own top ten list. So here goes:

1. Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World

A guide to a philosophy of salesmanship, and success, telling the story of a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance.

2. Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

A fable about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a thrilling story about self-perfection, self-actualization.

3. Seth Godin, Tribes

No one explains this concept better than Seth. A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. “Leaders lead when they take positions, when they connect with their tribes, and when they help the tribe connect to itself…”

4. Hugh MacLeod, Ignore Everybody

When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter living in a YMCA he started doodling on the back of business cards while sitting at a bar. Those cartoons eventually led to a popular blog — — and a legendary reputation for candid insight and humor in both words and pictures.

5. Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

The psychology of why people say “yes” — and how to apply these understandings. Provides useful tools for marketing to others and teaches how to resist the marketing efforts of others.

6. Clyde Bedell, How To Write Advertising That Sells

The first name recorded in the National Retail Advertising Hall of Fame was Clyde Bedell’s. Frustrated with the lack of systematic research, assorted intuitions and fragments of experience, Bedell wrote his own book (a text book) on the subject of writing good advertising — that sells.

7. Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point

Explains and describes the “mysterious” sociological changes that mark everyday life.

8. Elbert Hubbard, A Message to Garcia

An essay about a soldier who takes the initiative to accomplish a daunting and difficult task without questions or objections. Often used in business and life as a motivational example to readers of applying a positive attitude towards achieving a successful life.

9. Robert Graves, The Big Green Book

A story of a little boy’s triumph over adult rules and regulations, illustrated by Maurice Sendak’s endearing pictures, first published in 1962.

10. Steve Farber, The Radical Leap

Filled with extraordinary insights into rediscovering your creativity, and balancing your talent on the job with fulfillment at home. The Radical Leap inspires business leaders all over the world to bring Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof to their work and their life.

My companion, Zeus, snuggled up with Elmo (waiting for the return of the Spitfires).

Let the magic of words inspire and elevate you. Create your own personal working library. It starts with a single book. It will be among the greatest investments you’ll ever make.

“Wisdom comes after information and knowledge. And books provide the scaffolding that allows us to build our own systems of thought.” ~ Dr. George Sheehan


Hey there, I’m Michael, I’m a dad, writer, sales & marketing consultant, recruiter, life-long learner… oh and passionate Growler too. You can learn more about my services by visiting LinkedIn, and crawl into my stories right here on

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