A new regular feature on Creative Boom, I'm taking some time each month to recommend five books that I've enjoyed reading. And I'm mixing it up a little, too.
Along with the usual books to help you in your creative career, I'm throwing in some other non-fiction that will expand your mind and inspire you. There'll even be the odd "coffee table" book to browse on a cosy Sunday afternoon.
October is always a great month for new hardback releases (no one mention the 'C' word!) and so here are the titles worthy of adding to your bookshelves this month.
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
One of my favourite writers, Bill Bryson, always raises a smile (and many a giggle). His hilarious travel books are much-loved (read [A Walk in the Woods first, if you're not yet acquainted). But where Bryson shines is when he gets to grips with a more meaty subject (A Short History of Nearly Everything is a prime example). This time, he's focusing purely on the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself.
He explains: "We spend our whole lives in one body and yet most of us have practically no idea how it works and what goes on inside it. The idea of the book is simply to try to understand the extraordinary contraption that is us."
The Secret of the Highly Creative Thinker: How to Make Connections Others Don't by Dorte Nielsen and Sarah Thurber
Do you know those people who are fantastic at coming up with new ideas? They're good at seeing connections, too. That's according to a new book by Dorte Nielsen and Sarah Thurber that considers whether teaching people to see those connections could help them to be more creative. In The Secret of the Highly Creative Thinker: How to Make Connections Others Don't, the pair aim to dispel the myth that creative talent is "something possessed by a gifted minority". They uncover the secrets behind highly creative people and walk you through some techniques to help you improve.
Women in Design: From Aino Aalto to Eva Zeisel by Charlotte Fiell and Clementine Fiell
Out this month is Women in Design, a beautifully produced book that uncovers an alternative female history of design written by the mother-daughter writing team, Charlotte and Clementine Fiell. Together, they celebrate the women designers who have made an immense contribution to our shared material culture and built environment, including the pioneers who have achieved global recognition along with those not so well known but equally influential to the history of design.
Introducing 100 women designers in the areas of fashion, textiles, architecture, graphic, product, industrial and transportation design from the last 100 years, the book discusses the injustices women designers have faced and uncovers a history with women firmly at the centre.
Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking by Matthew Syed
In his new book, Rebel Ideas, Matthew Syed argues that success is no longer just about talent, or knowledge or skill...it's also about "freeing ourselves from the blinkers and blind spots that beset us all and harnessing a critical new ingredient: cognitive diversity".
It draws upon the latest research in psychology, economics and anthropology, and takes lessons from a dazzling range of case studies, including the catastrophic intelligence failings of the CIA before 9/11, a communication breakdown at the top of Mount Everest and a moving tale of deradicalisation in America's Deep South.
Yes, this book will help any organisation or team but there's a lot of good stuff for just ourselves, too: the art of personal reinvention, the extraordinary benefits of personalised nutrition and how to break free of the "echo chambers that surround us all".
Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday
Do you feel like you're always running and can never relax? In his new book, Stillness Is the Key, best-selling author Ryan Holiday draws on timeless Stoic and Buddhist philosophy to show why "slowing down" is the secret weapon for those charging ahead.
Drawing on a wide range of history's greatest thinkers, from Confucius to Seneca, Marcus Aurelius to Thich Nhat Hanh, John Stuart Mill to Nietzsche, he argues that stillness is not mere inactivity, but the doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus.
If you're overwhelmed right now, this simple read is an inspiring antidote to the stress of 24/7 news and social media. "The stillness that we all seek is the path to meaning, contentment, and excellence in a world that needs more of it than ever," reads the book's description.