Blinkist is a go-to reading corner for quick and bite-sized summaries of the best non-fiction books.
The library spans a wide range of topics, from productivity to relationships, so there’s something for everyone. In my case, I searched and gobbled up as many books as I could find that relate to my current situation as a writer: creativity, failure, rejection, productivity, and self-encouragement.
I’ve picked up 21 Blinkist books that address important aspects of the creative life. You might find quick and actionable answers to problems you’ve been dealing with for a long time.
1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This Blink is a great first read for people desiring to pursue the creative path. It talks about how creativity is often shadowed by fear of failure and rejection, and that it’s never too late or wrong to face that fear and just create.
You’ll find tips on how to come up with ideas, provoking ideas that challenge preconceptions about being an artist, and motivation to help you through the early challenges of doing creative work.
2. Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
This Blink focuses on the idea of fear and that it can easily kill your enthusiasm for creative work if you let it get in between. It defines and tackles the problem of inner resistance, all while offering tips and strategies to help you get unstuck.
My favorite piece of advice from the Blink is actually in the form of two questions you need to ask yourself whenever resistance hits you: ‘How badly do I want this?’ And ‘Why do I want this?’ They determine your level of dedication and enthusiasm for your project, and so remembering why your work matters helps to overcome resistance.
3. Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang
Rejection is one of the biggest fears creatives struggle with, so much so that it can convince an aspiring artist to give up on his dreams. This Blink of Jia Jiang’s book explores the nature of rejection, how we interpret and understand the emotions we feel after being rejected, and how we can move on and learn from these experiences. This Blink is especially timely for me since I’m constantly criticizing myself in fear of rejection.
4. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
This Blink is all about building connections in the most authentic way. By learning to accept help when offered and building relationships through selfless giving, you and those around you can work together to produce something amazing and life-impacting. This is essentially how Palmer built her career as a world-renowned performance artist and musician.
5. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
This Blink centers on consistency and how creativity can be realized and improved through actual practice and discipline. The book asks questions to help you realize your strengths as a creative individual, while offering actionable tips, anecdotes, and strategies to help you build your creative muscle and eventually produce the work you want to share with the world.
6. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
Jeff Goins’ book intrigues because it shines the spotlight on a particular aspect about work that most people either forget or don’t pay attention to. For work to become a source of motivation and inspiration, it needs to tie with what he calls your “calling.”
This Blink tackles the idea of the calling and what you need to do to be able to fulfill your calling. Some of the interesting ideas include the concept of the “portfolio life” and how important it is to embrace failure and making mistakes to be able to grow and improve upon your self and your work.
7. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
This Blink is a great source of encouragement packed with actionable tips to help you uncover and recover your artistic self, especially if you haven’t been able to do creative work for a long time.
The book talks about fear, the three things that hamper your creative flow, and how to regain self-confidence. It also provides useful tips on how to remove the blockages that are hindering you from doing creative work (e.g. the infamous morning pages).
8. Shop Class as Soulcraft : An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
This Blink summarizes Crawford’s argument that learning a trade can be just as rewarding and intellectually stimulating as knowledge work.
He goes on to define binaries: manual labor vs. theoretical work, the assembly line vs the cubicle, and meaningful work vs work as a means to an end. It leaves you thinking about the value of hands-on work and what you can achieve if you are able to learn trade skills and become self-sufficient.
9. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
This Blink is one of the most enjoyable I’ve read in that you get a quick peek into the daily rituals of various artists, authors, and composers from around the world. But more than just an insider’s look into the lives of the famous, the book shares tips to help you explore and discover your own daily rituals.
10. How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric
Fulfilling work is what gets you out of bed every morning and gives meaning to the life and career you live. This Blink counters the idea that money and social status are the gates to happiness, and encourages you to take smart steps to pursuing and engaging in work that makes a difference.
11. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change by Michelle Gielan
This Blink teaches you the importance of understanding and broadcasting positivity for the betterment of the self and the community. It highlights the benefits of positivity and optimism imbued in language and actions, and how you can harness this to improve your health, work performance, and communication skills.
12. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore
Procrastination is a struggle many creatives deal with, but what most don’t realize is that procrastination can be unlearned with the right mindset and a few tools. In this Blink, you learn the core reasons why we procrastinate and offers strategies to help manage procrastination.
13. Moms Mean Business by Erin Baebler and Lara Galloway
Often I’ve searched for books or courses that cater to moms, so reading this Blink was a delight and a breath of fresh air. The book provides useful advice for moms looking to find time and motivation to work on their businesses while juggling family and household work.
14. Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal
Similar to Currey’s book, Segal’s Getting There: A Book of Mentors examines the lives and journeys of successful people and offers advice and inspiration to motivate you to strive for what you truly desire in life. The Blink references entrepreneurs like Craigslist’s Craig Newmark, Spanx’s Sara Blakely, and performance artist Marina Abramović.
15. Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success (And Why Some People Never Learn from Mistakes) by Matthew Syed
If you’ve allowed fear and the pain of making mistakes stop you from doing the work you’re meant to do, this Blink gives you a quick overview of why we struggle with failure, why it’s considered one of the best life teachers, and how you can establish a healthy relationship with failure that’ll enable you to improve and progress.
16. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
To quote Steven Pressfield, “resistance is a negative force that opposes any creativity and keeps us from fulfilling our dreams.”
This Blink summarizes his book by emphasizing the cause and effect of resistance and what we can do to overcome it to be able to realize our dreams and achieve our goals as creatives.
17. Ask by Ryan Levesque
Have you ever wondered what your ideal customer could possibly want from you, the artist? I personally have struggled for years with this question, and have consulted tons of articles and experts on the subject.
If you’re looking for a Blinkist book that covers the topic, Levesque’s Ask provides immediate and doable advice on how to ask the right questions to be able to get your ideal customers to open up and tell you exactly what it is they want and/or need from you.
18. Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
This Blink addresses the problem of triggers and how these stimuli can hinder you from creating positive change in the world.
The book talks about how triggers stem from internal and external factors, and how they keep us from behaving the way we’d want to or doing things we ought to do.
Though the book leans more on psychological analysis, it’s an interesting perspective that creatives can consider when dealing with issues like procrastination, failure, and the like.
19. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
“Eat the frog” is a popular concept in the productivity sphere where you’d work on your most important tasks first before diving into the small and busy work. This Blink gives you a deeper look into the technique, while encouraging you to “eat your frogs” first before jumping into the smaller and easier tasks.
20. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
The first time I’ve heard and listened to Sinek was his Tedx talk on the power of realizing your WHY and how this shapes the world’s greatest leaders and influencers. This Blink explores this concept while providing insights that will help you become an effective and influential figure in life and business.
21. Manage Your Day-to-Day by 99U and Jocelyn K. Glei
I firmly believe that in the war against distraction and procrastination, pure focus and will power are essential. This Blink confirms this wherein several successful creatives and entrepreneurs share useful advice on how to overcome the daily distractions, boost creativity, and maintain consistency by transforming work into a daily habit.
What are your favorite non-fiction books?