Feeling stuck or devoid of inspiration? A problem irritating you to no end? Stuck with writer’s block?
Creative inspiration is an ideal answer to all these problems. In today’s knowledge economy, innovative ideas and creativity are the new currency for career acceleration. Also, as more jobs get automated, soft skills combined with innovative thinking is the only way to remain relevant and valuable in the marketplace.
So here is a list of 7 superb books that will turbocharge your thinking and sharpen your creativity muscles:
1. Alchemy. Author = Rory Sutherland. 2. Creativity Inc. Author = Ed Catmull. 3. Design Thinking. Author = Tim Brown. 4. 131 Boredom Busters & Creativity Builders for Kids. Author = Jed Jurchenko. 5. The Accidental Creative. Author = Todd Henry. 6. Creative Careers. Author = Jeffrey Madoff. 7. Tools of the Titans. Author = Tim Ferris. Review here
Delighted to add my review of the latest book in the “Girls Who Dare” series by Emma Leech. I have read 7 books in this series, including this one. I am amazed that the author churns out such compelling stories one after the other, with remarkable consistency.
This book was a pre-order copy, and I literally woke up early that morning (5 am) just to read this! Yes, the series is simply mesmerizing!
Title – To Bed the Baron. [Book 9]
Series – Girls Who Dare
Author – Emma V Leech
Jemima’s story was refreshingly different from the rest since she has just accepted an assignment to join the demimonde. Will she find love like the rest of the gals in the Peculiar Girls Book Club? Will she ever be able to return to polite high society? That is the crux of the story?
REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****
What I love about the Book
Like all the other stories in this series, this one is also set in Victorian England. Penniless, orphaned and near-starvation, Jemima does not have any choices and does not want to be a burden on her rich friends. Who is this mysterious protector?
Apart from this quirky storyline, this book was extra special because the author has portrayed human emotions and conflicts so beautifully. Jemima and Solomon are the main characters in the book, but a lot of the supporting characters were fleshed out so well. In a way, this book reminded me of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries or Harley Quin. Few other authors are able to bring out real human psychology with such keen acuity.
Jemima – conflicted at having to step down into the dark fringes of noble society but realizing she has run out of options.
Violet, the companion. Terribly practical, her blunt advice is something you would hear from a wise grandmother, experienced in the ways of the world. Life, then and now, is cruel and unfair, specially tom women. Sometimes we must learn to make lemonade if we only have lemons in our fate.
Solomon, an ex-military officer with demons of his own. Very few romance novels explore the emotional trauma, physical pain, and survivor’s guilt that war veterans face.
Helena, surprisingly perceptive about how men react. She knows that Solomon is a good man at heart. But when confronted with an unpleasant truth about being played the fool, his first reaction will be to lash out at the messenger. Men often react irrationally when their pride is attacked and are unable to stop even if they know in their hearts that they are behaving badly.
Matilda, unwilling to trust her own judgement after the debacle with Mr. Burton. Seriously, I have become embroiled in the saga of Montagu-Matilda, aka M&M madness! Confession, I pre-ordered the book despite its July 10th release, fulling knowing my long list of deadlines and a very faint chance that I will get any time to read! Still one lives in hope! ?
You do not have to read the full series to enjoy any single book. They are all equally fabulous. If anything, I almost want to complain: Emma Leech, why do you write so well?
Welcome to Day 07 of the #BookReviewBlogChallenge. It is amazing how fast time flew and we are almost at the end of the competition! So, the theme “Time” for today’s challenge ties in quite nicely! ?
Last week’s prompt was any book with 400+ pages and Unidragonfrag won it hands down with her entry of “Worm” – an ebook serial spanning ~7000 pages! Whew! That is longer than the Harry Potter series combined!
My entry for today’s theme is “365 Days of F(i)B-Bing” by Nirupama PRV. It is the story of a young techie, Avantika, who dreams of being perceived as cool and successful. To achieve this, she decides to post every day on Facebook, hoping to boost her popularity and create an illusion of fame and acclaim. What happens next is a series of hilarious and interesting twists.
As the fine line between real and virtual blur, her past fabrications close in on Avantika. Can she keep up or lose it all? Do her Facebook frolics triumph or backfire? That is the crux of the story.
Title – 365 Days of Fibbing.
Author – Nirupama PRV
REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****
Time = Days! That is the connection I am using to tie between the theme and this book. Often individual days are slow and boring, but time (years and even a lifetime) often just speeds past!
Some of the individual entries in the book, written as a sort of hybrid diary, may not feel catchy, but the overall book is brilliant! By the time you finish this book, you will be motivated to start writing everyday or posting selfies on Instagram just to test out the theory! ?
What I Loved about the Book:
First, the author is a phenomenal storyteller! I could see parts of me in Avantika. The way she reacts is exactly how any 22-year-old would! Isn’t that the goal of every fictional book – to make the reader immerse so deep in the book, they forget it is a mythical world?
Even if you have never worked for the software industry, you will still relate to many scenes in the book, like the interactions between Avantika and her friends, the confusions and aspirations every one has from their first job. If you come from a large family and especially if you are of Asian or Mediterranean origin, the scenes between Avantika and her cousins/family/wedding scenes will feel 100% real.
Also, love the cover!
If you like witty writing or standup comedy, you will love this book. The book is funny without being a comedy or satire. An excellent read if you just want something to perk yourself up. In many ways, this book reminded me bestselling author Nick Spalding, who wrote hits like “Logging off” and “Dumped Actually”. Or a classier, more confident version of “Bridget Jones Diary”!
One special note, this book is not necessarily from the YA (young adults) genre but can be read by teens as well, since the book does not have any censored topics or steamy scenes. It will probably make an excellent Graduation Day gift. Lord knows, with the chaos of the Covid19 pandemic, the class of 2020 could use something to lift their spirits and take their mind off all the mental stress!
Books – “Dumped Actually” by Nick Spalding, “Bridget Jones Diary” by Helen Fielding, “Just a Name” by Becky Monson, “Stylist Takes Manhattan” by Rosie Nixon.
Movies – Confessions of a Shopaholic,
TV Series – Never Have I ever.
Genres – Women’s Humorous Fiction, Urban, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction, Women & Relationships Humor, Literary Satire, YA Books
Welcome to Day 06 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s challenge is to review any book with 400+ pages.
Shoutout to Miss Camilla and her blog . All the entries were brilliant. But Camilla’s style of “rebelling” was both unexpected and unique. The bonus of getting to read 4 reviews for the price for one? Awesome! Hat tip, Rebel Camilla!
For today’s challenge I went with another masterpiece by Tim Ferris – “Tribe of Mentors”. At 627 pages, the book is fatter than most dictionaries! This book is basically a compilation of success tactics used by the world’s most brilliant performers. This is literally “Mentor in a Book”.
Title – Rebel Talent: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World
Author – Tim Ferris
REVIEW SCORE = 4/5
The book asks a set of 11 poignant questions to experts in different domains, styled after his podcast interviews. The answers are mind-blowing and immensely practical. Each chapter in the book contains answers and thoughts from one influencer who is considered the leader in his/her field. Industries and names include authors (Neil Gaiman), graphic designers, chefs, actresses (Aisha Tyler), athletes, swim coaches (Terry Laughlin), filmmakers (Darren Aronfsky), CEOs and many more.
Word of warning – If you have already read “Tools of the Titans” (which I reviewed earlier) by the same author, like me, then some parts might seem repetitive. For example, tech genius and venture capitalist Naval Ravikant features in both books. However, his advice is incredibly spot-on, so I did not mind reading it all over again! Consider it “reinforcement learning”.
For those who have not heard of Naval – he is the founder of AngelList, a recruiting platform for startups. He also invested in 100+ companies including Uber, Twitter, Clearview AI and multiple others, making him a billionaire considered to have the “Midas touch”.
The Qs Tim asks are designed to extract pearls of wisdom that these luminaries use – imagine how amazing your life can be, if you followed 3 or 4 religiously! Some example Qs from the book:
What do you do when you feel unfocused or overwhelmed?
What is the book you have given the most as a gift and why? Books that influenced your life. Special note to readers – this single point alone proves an important fact – all successful RICH people read books! ? If that does not motivate you to read more, I wash my hands off you!
Your best investment of $100 or less.
Quotes from the book:
Some of the advice from the book that resonated the most with me are listed below:
Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep.
It is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask Permission.
Play iterated games. All returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships or knowledge come from compound interest.
Books – “Tools of the Titans” also by Tim Ferris. “Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success” by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein. “Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life” by Ozan Varol.
Movies – Rocky, Theory of Everything, Slumdog Millionaire, The Intern, Joy (starring Jennifer Lawrence).
Genres – Self-Help, Productivity, Popular Development Psychology
Welcome to Day 05 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Rebel”.
Shoutout to Niru from “Opinions of a Catty, BookLoving Couch Potato” for her witty review of “The Duke and I”. The book was a perfect fit for the theme, the review notes were heartfelt and Julia Quinn book covers themselves are so quirky and attractive!
For today’s challenge I went with a relatively safe choice – “Rebel Talent” by Harvard Business school Professor, Francesca Gino. This book explains why creative rebellion is essential to find joy at work and in life, using diverse examples like a Michelin star chef, the Head of animation studio Pixar and many more!
Title – Rebel Talent
Author – Francesca Gino
REVIEW SCORE = 4/5
The book uses the term “Rebel” to mean outlier and someone who shatters conventions, not necessarily mean or evil or aggressive. The author argues that rebel employees are critical to companies and help to raise the bar on innovation, thus contributing to profits and branding and shareholder value.
We all can agree that mindlessly following rules and policies and repeating mundane tasks does suck the satisfaction out of work and life! However, not many of us can gather courage to break the norm, or risk failure. The special few who do are the ones who reach spectacular success!
Note that the author is not suggesting that every employee start breaking rules. Rather the book shows how to balance social conventions and be rebellious for useful purposes. The book also has tips for managers to reign in rebellious employees just enough to maintain a healthy equilibrium between hellion and star performer.
The book reminds me of a quote from Iris Apfel’s book “Fit in before you Step Out”.
The “Pygmalion effect” in the book and the anecdotes in the book were quite interesting. What I would have liked to see more steps to cultivate this mindset, especially for employees who have been conforming for too long. This was a bit lacking in the book.
Books – “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, “What You Do is Who You Are” by Ben Horowitz. “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” by Peter Drucker. “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work” by Jason Fried and David Hansson. “The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in a Multigenerational Workplace” by Lindsey Pollak.