13 Books For Creative Growth

A quick knock sounds in the house, I rush to the door and a wave of excitement rushes over me when I set my eyes on a tidy cardboard box sitting on the door mat.

This is becoming frequent. So frequent in fact that my husband sees me coming into the living room, box in hand, and rolls his eyes.

“Seriously?” he asks.

Ok, so this is getting a tad embarrassing now, and I have heard the first step to recovery is acknowledging you have a problem.

My name is Diana, and I can’t stop buying books.

I posted a photo up on Instagram just over two weeks ago of my ‘to read’ pile of books on my bedside table. There were 7 books on the table.. Now there is 13. Not to mention the additional book I was given on my birthday, that I keep in my bag.

“Every book I have in this pile is there for a reason”, I say back defensively. And it’s true. I declared this year my year of growth and if a woman needs to read, LET HER HAVE BOOKS!

So today, I thought I would take a bit of a break from my crowdfunding research findings and let you in on the books that sit on my ‘to read’ pile today. And, to explain (mainly to my husband) why it is so important I have each and every one of them.


Critical Thinking - Paul Elder

This is the book that has been in the pile the longest, and I have also been reading it for a good few months now.

Gee wiz, it is a hard read. Like, seriously.

Any book that begins with a chapter on ‘how to read this book’, isn’t going to be a walk in the park. But.. it is worth the effort.

Have you ever been so sure of a particular side of an argument/debate that there’s no way the person on the opposing side is right? Well, if so, this is the book for you.

It will rip out what you thought was true for yourself and challenge clarity, relevance, logic, accuracy, depth, significance, precision, breadth, and fairness.

I know it doesn’t sound like a nice rewarding book, but trust me, I am learning so much about myself, about others and about the world, it is blowing my mind. It is a hard read, but I recommend it.

Thomas Aquinas - Selected Writings

And now for my most recent purchase… and a good follow on from Critical Thinking…

I dig a good quote, as you all probably have noticed by now. So when I stumbled on a chapter in the Critical Thinking book that recommends I start studying some of the great philosophers of our world, I knew the first book would be a toss up between Aquinas and Plato for me.

Then I read this:

'Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.' - Thomas Aquinas

It sums up perfectly where I am currently at in my life, and I ordered a book on his selected writings almost immediately. I am yet to begin reading, but think it will be a good 'before sleep' book for crazy dreams of contemplation.

Blood Mystic - George Gittoes

I first saw the work of the amazing war artist, photographer and documentary maker George Gittoes at the age of 20, working at my local (and awesome) art gallery. We housed an exhibition called ‘A tale of two cities: New York and and Baghdad’ which included larger than life paintings from his time traveling in war zones.

I thought he was incredibly interesting back then, and when I had the chance to chat to him a few months ago, I found him to be even more so.

George has always done art his way, he hasn’t had another option. If there is a story or a conflict he is connected to, he makes it happen, often putting his own money into funding it.

I too, don’t want to be limited by funding grant approvals, timeframes and key selection criteria. I want to tell from my heart and make my own way in doing so.

George’s book was a no brainer for me as I want to understand his journey some more, and learn from his experiences in doing things the George Gittoes way.

Directing the Documentary - Michael Rabiger

One problem with book bingeing is that I will often be reading a book and the author decides, in their wisdom, to recommend more books. So I order those books too, they arrive, my husband gets grumpy… are you starting to see my problem?

Well, Directing The Documentary was one of these referrals. A very good friend of mine gave me a book ‘Producing with Passion’ that she came across on a 50c table in an opp shop. She thought it would be interesting to me, and I should say, well worth much more than 50c.

The author Dorothy Fadiman had an entire section dedicated to great books that she has used in her career for learning, Directing the Documentary was one of them.

I am a producer, but I am very interested in continuing to learn more skills. Understanding a documentary from a director's point of view will be well worth the read and who knows, I might even get referred to a few more books whilst reading it (sorry Rob).

The Barefoot Investor - Scott Pape

You know what, this one I don’t actually take responsibility for, yet it is definitely one of the better books I have read in quite some time.

First of all, Scott is totally legit. If you are going to get lectured for accruing tons of credit card debt or not contributing to superannuation, you want to hear it from a genuinely nice and funny guy.

My husband purchased this book about six months ago, placed it down nicely next to our bed and waited for me to read it so we could take action. If you want to get your finances sorted, this is the book to do it.

Scott’s suggestions are easy to follow and empowering.. And as of yesterday - we cut up our credit cards into teeny tiny little pieces. FREEDOM!

I have two chapters to go, and feeling good. Very good.

Show Your Work - Austin Kleon

Have y’all heard of Creative Live? If not, get onto it, now!

I recently completed a Creative Live course on blogging for creatives (funny enough), and within the course April Bowles suggests a number of books she recommends.

I kept my booktopia order to one, and went for her suggestion of Show Your Work, which I am yet to read. The opening line of the description however, connected to me straight away:

‘A book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion’


Read this if you want to take great photographs of places & Read this if you want to be Instagram famous - Both by Henry Carroll

Recently, to celebrate my 33rd birthday, we stayed at a beautiful little Airbnb apartment in St Kilda. It had a Parisian feel inside, and was tastefully decorated with fresh flowers and gorgeous looking books.

There was one book in particular that was crying out to me ‘Read this if you want to take great photographs of places’. It was short, had wonderful imagery and very relevant to me right now as I am shopping for a decent camera to go traveling with.

The only problem was, when I looked it up online, there were more. He actually had four books listed on the site that I REALLY, REALLY WANTED.

So I did it. But hey, it's my birthday... right?!

I have already received these two, but have just remembered that in actual fact, I still have two more to be delivered. Ummm. Hehe. Oops. That will make my ‘to read’ pile 15 books. But they look fun, pretty, and hopefully somewhat educational, I am sure.

And the rest of them can be summed up nicely...

So that leads us to the final 5… all of which can be blamed on one amazing person, who can do no wrong.

I am currently doing a course at Compton school in Melbourne, for creative leaders, run by the incredible producer Sue Maslin.

Every month we meet up for two mind blowing days of learning and generally Sue drops in the odd book that she would recommend. There is no picking one book out of this list, when she says I should read a book - I order it on the spot. Sorry Rob.

So with that, I have the below books ready and waiting, and will read them in the order I have laid out below. Check them out, and if you are in Melbourne, or willing to travel - sign up to the Compton School mailing list. Their courses really do rock.

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson

The Power Paradox - Dacher Keltner

Lincoln - Doris Kearns Goodwin

Narrative & Numbers - Aswath Damodaran


So, there you have it. I am a busy woman, with lots to entertain and teach me.

If by some miracle I get through these books, and the others that are currently on order, I would LOVE for some further suggestions. Hit me up below with anything you think I might like, or any questions about the books I have included here.

Diana FiskComment