Five Books Every Creative Leader Should Read

Madlen Popignatova 18
June 21st, 2017
Article by: Laurel Dault
Five Books Every Creative Leader Should Read

Creative leaders are lifelong learners. These curious characters are constantly asking questions and seeking new sources of inspiration. They immerse themselves in art, develop new skills both in and outside of their areas of expertise, all the while keeping an eye open for chance opportunities.

 

At THNK, we often talk about serendipity; that magical spark that occurs when you combine chance occurrence with acquired knowledge. Creative leaders can increase their likelihood of recognizing and experiencing a serendipitous moment by continuously consuming new information.

 

With that in mind, we asked a handful of THNKers what books on their nightstand have helped them grow as leaders. A couple of the suggestions are leadership classics, while others are more unconventional. What better way to seek a new source of inspiration than by branching out with a THNKer guide to books every creative leader should read?

 

Add these literary gems to your reading list and continue along your own lifelong learning journey.

For those seeking the courage to take risks

Social entrepreneur Vithika Yadav recommends “How to Change the World” by David Bornstein

This recommendation for “How to Change the World” by David Bornstein comes from THNKer Vithika Yadav, a human rights professional with over a decade of experience working on human trafficking, modern day slavery, sexual rights and gender rights. Her latest project is Love Matters India.

“This book really influenced me about being a social entrepreneur and embracing innovative ideas. Reading How to Change the World helped me have the courage to take risks and go for things that seemed difficult and sometime impossible.”

Vithika Yadav
Vithika Yadav
Head of India Operations
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Free the Slaves
"Reading 'How to Change the World' helped me have the courage to take risks and go for things that seemed difficult and sometime impossible."

For brainiacs who want to understand empathy

Artist and empathy expert Jennifer Kanary Nikolova loves reading “The Handbook of Imagination and Mental Stimulation” edited by Keith D. Markman & William M. P. Klein

It’s no wonder that THNKer Jennifer Kanary Nikolova recommends the compilation of essays “The Handbook of Imagination and Mental Stimulation“.

Jennifer is an artist who created a mixed reality tool that enables its users to gain empathy and simulate entering the mind of a person experiencing psychosis. Originally designed as an artistic research project for her PhD, the tool is now growing into a social enterprise that mental health professionals are lining up to experience.

“‘The Handbook of Imagination and Mental Stimulation’ is a book of neuroscientists who speak about the brain, mirror neurons, and what is empathy. It explores misstepping into another person’s shoes. When are we failing in empathy even though we have the tools to empathize? What are the moments that we’re not using empathy and what are the neurological barriers stopping us from using these tools?”

Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)
Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)
Founder & Artistic Researcher
roomforthoughts
"This book explores misstepping into another person’s shoes; when are we failing in empathy even though we have these tools to empathize?"

For entrepreneurs who want to go beyond business school

Charles Ojei gets entreprise tips from Richard Branson in his autobiography “Like a Virgin”

Through his organization HYBR, THNKer Charles Ojei is helping entrepreneurs, multinational corporations, governments, non-profits, and investors to scale solutions in Africa. A master of entrepreneurial insights himself, Charles recommends reading “Like a Virgin by Richard Branson.

“It’s a journey about Richard Branson’s own leadership experience; the ups and the downs. It’s an especially great read for leaders who are in the space of entrepreneurship. It talked about his little beginnings and how he started, his weaknesses and how he leveraged them by focusing on his strengths. It’s very frank and candid testament of his journey of becoming one of the greatest business leaders of all time. The book includes what Branson calls ‘secrets they won’t teach you at business school’; these are things he learned while doing.”

Charles Ojei
Charles Ojei
Founder/CEO
HYBR
"It’s very frank and candid testament of his journey of becoming one of the greatest business leaders of all time."

For those who have already read every traditional leadership book on the shelf

Ted Wallach knows many of us have already exhausted the traditional leadership reading list. That’s why he suggests “Finite and Infinite Games” by James Carse

Paradox Process Facilitator and THNKer Ted Wallach loves to go outside the box and push himself and others to new places. He says that “Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse is essential reading for those who’ve read every traditional leadership book on the shelf. 

“It breaks down the world into a dichotomy that’s an essential frame for understanding what you’re up to and what the game is that you’re playing. If you’re not aware of the kind of game you’re playing, the fact that you’re playing a game, and how games work, then I think you can get stuck in a coded machine that already exists which is leading us off the brink.”

Ted Wallach
Ted Wallach
CEO & Director
TimeRepublik SA, Director
"It breaks down the world into a dichotomy that’s an essential frame for understanding what you’re up to and what the game is that you’re playing"

For those who want to go big or go home

Written by THNK Co-Founder Menno van Dijk and THNKer Mark Turrell, “Scaling” explains how to grow faster and how to reach bigger outcomes

For a change of pace, this book was written by two THNKers: THNK Co-Founder Menno van Dijk and THNKer Mark Turrell.

In their book “Scaling: Small Smart Moves For Outsized Results“, Menno and Mark show how to achieve big goals with minimum effort.

The book introduces you to a new approach regarding how things scale, describing a combination of networks and emergence that uses the power of waves to create mass movements. The authors then offer a practical toolset of Scaling Frames that help you generate ideas, create strategies that scale, and build more achievable business plans.

Developed for entrepreneurs and practitioners from all types of organizations, the scaling methods have been successfully applied in product development, marketing, partnering, and internal operations of small and large organizations, from non-profits to start-ups. Scaling will change the way you do business, spread social change, and make really big things happen.

To discover how the Creative Leadership Program could be the next step on your own lifelong learning journey, visit the program page or contact us at admissions@thnk.org.




menu-close-white