Executive Reads: Five Books That Spur Creativity

Our weekly Executive Reads series features those who’ve made it, a selection of people in power who serve as an inspiration to young professionals. They share with us the books that have played important roles in shaping their career and outlook on life, whether business-oriented or fiction. For those seeking a little creative inspiration, look no further than the following pages…

Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski
A simply astonishing travel memoir, brilliantly written by one of the best writers of the 20th century. He interweaves his travels across the globe with the writings of Herodotus, who may have been the world’s first foreign correspondent and who pre-dated Kapuscinski by about two thousand years. Don’t let the premise fool you, it is an engaging read. As a student of structure, his storytelling was instructive and provocative for me. TV producers get their inspiration from many places – film, art, magazines and popular culture – but some of the best ideas have come from books. It was so engrossing that I actively mourned when I read the last page.

As chosen by Leanna Crouch

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron
Cameron’s popular book played a big role in starting my journey of personal development and spiritual awakening; that is, waking up to the idea that there is a higher power at play and how to tap into it. When I first read the book, not long after it was published, it was during an uncertain time in my life. To relieve my stress and angst, I would play my piano. Then one evening, as I was composing music, I had wondered how my fingers knew where to go on the keyboard without consciously placing them. I began to question what creativity is and where it comes from, which eventually led me to The Artists Way. This book opened my mind to a new way of thinking and living. Since, I have dared to spread my creative wings.

As chosen by Shannon Skinner

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell 
I can read and or listen to Malcolm for long periods of time. He has an inquisitive mind and turns things from seemingly mundane to very interesting. This is a collection of essays and all of them are interesting. Gladwell’s gift is that he looks at things differently and by extension makes the reader have several “ah hah” moments. Not a bad lesson for business I would say. Accept nothing as status quo without asking the right questions…

As chosen by Graham Moysey

When Fish Fly by John Yokoyama and Joseph Michelli
The workplace corporate culture can make the difference between a business that thrives versus makes ends meet or worse, fail. I’m a strong believer that having the right people on your team is critical, but more important is being able to keep the right people engaged in your corporate culture and thrive inside of it. This book looks at one example of the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle and tells the story of how a small business can be transformed from bankruptcy into an extraordinary model of success.

As chosen by Paul Horton

The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
I have included this little-known book in business circles, as it has the most dog-eared pages of any of my books. I work in a creative business, and although I am on the executive decision-making side, I talk to artists from all walks of the entertainment field all day long. I am adamant that I speak people’s language. With suggested techniques looking at structure, tone, and language, this book helped me turn my ‘business’ conversations into stories that mirrored the way the artist communicates and understands. It helps me to speak from my heart.

As chosen by Marina Cordoni