What it’s about: The author’s weirdness being her career super power, and how you can too.
What made me pick it up: I’m… a little weird and this seemed like something that applied.
My favorite parts: This book truly lives up to its title. It’s about a weirdo telling other weirdos how to best fly their freak flag in the world of normals. Aside from that I appreciated her insight into careers and how best to go about one. Be nice. Work hard. Understand that you are unique and your career will also be. But most importantly, you and your experience are just right for whatever is to come.
Who it’s great for: Anyone looking to make a change. Readers wondering if their brand of offbeat is too different. (It’s not.)
What it’s about: Why you should follow your passion one tiny step at a time.
What made me pick it up: It was mentioned in When To Jump, which I read recently.
My favorite parts: This is colorful and short and full of inspirational quotes and the tiny push you might need to begin following your calling. You don’t have to quit your job or go on an intense spiritual journey or backpack around Asia for any period of time, unless you feel you really need to. Just get up a few minutes early to paint or write or do whatever it is you feel you need to do. See where it leads. I do appreciate reminders now and then that you can listen to your inner voice and see what it’s telling you without disrupting your entire world. Or maybe it will and that will also be a fun adventure.
Who it’s great for: Anyone wondering if this is it.
What it’s about: Professional musician and innovation consultant Peter Himmelman explains his methods for unleashing creativity and breaking free of “stuck thinking.”
What made me pick it up: I figured that if I was going to read about creative thinking, it couldn’t hurt to see what a professional musician and composer had to say on the subject.
My favorite things: Himmelman argues that there aren’t really creative and non-creative types. He explains the ways in which we can all learn to be more creative and improve communication – as long as we’re willing to commit. I love that he includes specific activities to encourage creative thinking at the end of each chapter. He provides concrete examples of when to use them and illustrates their benefit in the given situation. He also offers plenty of illustrations from his own experiences of the kinds of “stuck thinking” that can sabotage creative efforts and ideas. There are a lot of great ideas here that can easily be applied no matter where you are in your life.
Who it’s great for: Those who don’t view themselves as creative people and those that feel as though they’re stuck in a rut. People having trouble finding inspiration. Anyone interested in boosting their own creativity and productivity. Readers curious about what a professionally creative person has to say on the subject.
What it’s about: Dr. Robin Zasio, a consulting psychologist on A&E’s Hoarders, talks about the reasons behind hoarding and cluttering and how to overcome those tendencies and compulsions.
What made me pick it up: I felt like I needed this after I finished reading Messyby Tim Harford. I chose to the audiobook so that I could listen to it while I rounded up clutter to remove from my home.
My favorite things: Dr. Zasio introduces the idea of a hoarding continuum, ranging from keeping a tidy home to the dangerous conditions that can accompany compulsive hoarding. She explains how to identify where you fall on that continuum and offers great suggestions for improving your hoarding or cluttering tendencies. Zasio does a great job of explaining these kinds of compulsions without judgement and offering solutions that feel very attainable.
Who it’s great for: Anyone who wants to work on their clutter and organization but doesn’t know where to begin. People worried about their own need to acquire or that of a loved one.
What it’s about: Tim Harford explores what happens to our creativity and productivity when we stop obsessing over tidiness and detailed planning and give into confusion and our natural instincts.
What made me pick it up: It’s almost resolution season and I’m looking for excuses to leave “get more organized” off my list.
My favorite things: I’m a fan of anything that tells me not to bother with straightening my desk, especially when it suggests that will boost my creativity and make me more productive. Harford looks at disorder in a variety of contexts and finds common threads in each- from academia to the battlefield, recording studios to planned forests. Messy is meticulously researched and well planned despite its message. It’s a good reminder to be flexible and consider that just because a plan is detailed and logical doesn’t mean it’s the best option.
Who it’s great for: People who read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and couldn’t make it work. People who tried to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but forgot where they put it.