About the List

I try to read.  I also listen to a lot of audio books while driving.  This is my non-fiction list that has a focus on innovation & creativity.   I try to write a short book report after I read each book.  Someday I'll try to include those reports and my grade for each book.  For now, I've highlighted some of my favorites in bold.

I've broken the list into a few categories:

  1. Innovation and Creativity
  2. Inventors and Innovators (with a focus on great American Inventors)
  3. Leadership
  4. Big Ideas
  5. Entrepreneurship
  6. You
  7. Miscellaneous Non-Fiction


Innovation and Creativity

  1. The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman
  2. The Ten Faces of Innovation:  IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman
  3. A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger Von Oech
  4. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  5. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod
  6. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
  7. Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration by Warren Bennis
  8. Conceptual Blockbusting:  A Guide to Better Ideas by James Adams
  9. Thinkertoys: a handbook of creative-thinking techniques by Michael Michalko
  10. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Lessons from a Master Carpenter by Norm Abram
  11. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  12. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  13. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
  14. How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built by Stewart Brand
  15. Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
  16. If You Want To Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland
  17. Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims
  18. Engines of Innovation: The Entrepreneurial University in the Twenty-First Century by Holden Thorp and Buck Goldstein
  19. The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives by Frank Moss
  20. The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau
  21. Orbiting the Giant Hairball:  A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie
  22. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson                                                                                                       
  23. Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration by Scott Doorley, Scott Witthoft
  24. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life by Richard Florida
  25. Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
  26. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
  27. Geometry of Design by Kimberly Elam
  28. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson
  29. Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication by Neil Gershenfeld
  30. Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner
  31. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  32. Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson
  33. The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition by Don Norman
  34. Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company by Robert I. Sutton
  35. Mastery by Robert Greene
  36. The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice by Todd Henry
  37. Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses by John C. Maxwell
  38. The Innovator's Cookbook: Essentials for Inventing What Is Next by Steven Johnson
  39. The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers by Mark Hatch
  40. The Innovators Cookbook:  Essentials for Learning What Is Next by Stephan Johnson
  41. Zero to One:  Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
  42. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (a memoir) by Haruki Murakami
  43. Leap First:  Creating Work That Matters by Seth Godin
  44. How to Fly a Horse:  The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery by Kevin Ashton
  45. Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity by Luc de Brabandere and Alan Iny
  46. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff
  47. Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way by Steven Pressfield
  48. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How by Daniel Coyle
  49. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  50. The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner
  51. Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire
  52. The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin
  53. Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone
  54. Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America by Andrew Yang
  55. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  56. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth 
  57. The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case
  58. Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld
  59. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  60. The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax
  61. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz
  62. Creativity Inc:  Overcoming the Unseen Forces Tat Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
  63. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  64. The Solution Revolution: How Business, Government, and Social Enterprises Are Teaming Up to Solve Society's Toughest Problems by William D. Eggers and Paul Macmillan

Inventors & Innovators

  1. Wilbur and Orville: A Biography of the Wright Brothers by Fred Howard
  2. Edison: A Life of Invention by Paul Israel
  3. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  4. Alexander Graham Bell: Giving Voice to the World by Mary Kay Carson
  5. The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century by Steven Watts
  6. Unlocking the Sky: Glenn Hammond Curtiss and the Race to Invent the Airplane by Seth Shulman
  7. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
  8. Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America by Philip Dray
  9. The Spirit of Invention: The Story of the Thinkers, Creators, and Dreamers who formed our Nation by Julie M. Fenster
  10. Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius by Marc J. Seifer
  11. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
  12. The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner
  13. The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America by Ernest Freeberg
  14. Rocket Man:  Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age by David A. Clary
  15. Mozart:  A Life by Paul Johnson
  16. Dr. Space: The Life of Werner von Braun by Bob Ward and John Glenn
  17. Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
  18. Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 by Stephen E. Ambrose
  19. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow
  20. Galileo: A Life by James Reston
  21. The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
  22. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  23. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  24. Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw
  25. Mozart and Beethoven: The Lives and Legacies of History's Most Famous Composers by Charles River Editors
  26. Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin
  27. Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis
  28. Stradivari's Genius: Five Violins, One Cello, and Three Centuries of Enduring Perfection by Toby Faber
  29. East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler
  30. Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes
  31. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson


  1. On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
  2. Tribes by Seth Godin
  3. Leadership Is an Art by Max De Pree
  4. Leading Change by John P. Kotter
  5. Never Give In! Speeches by Winston Churchill
  6. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  7. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  8. Lincoln: A Novel  by Gore Vidal
  9. Things That Matter Charles Krauthammer
  10. Coolidge by Amity Shlaes
  11. Churchill  by Paul Johnson
  12. William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life by James Lee McDonough

Big Ideas

  1. To Engineer is Human by Henry Petroski
  2. The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
  3. Guns, Germs, and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond
  4. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  5. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  6. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler
  7. Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
  8. The Art of the Handwritten Note:  A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication by Margaret Shepherd
  9. The End of College:  Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey
  10. The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford
  11. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Abraham Verghese


  1. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar with Kent Lineback
  2. Engineering Your Start-Up: A Guide for the High-Tech Entrepreneur by Michael L. Baird
  3. In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr
  4. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
  5. The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
  6. The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank
  7. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
  8. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  9. All Marketers Are Liars Seth Godin
  10. Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
  11. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  12. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't By Jim Collins
  13. The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton
  14. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur


  1. The Holy Bible: King James Version
  2. Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankal
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  4. The Magic of Thinking Big Schwartz
  5. Linchpin by Seth Godin
  6. A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
  7. Poke the Box by Seth Godin
  8. The Dip by Seth Godin
  9. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki
  10. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential by Richard Restak
  11. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander
  12. The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
  13. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  14. The Road to Character by David Brooks 
  15. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Miscellaneous Non Fiction

  1. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben and Tim Flannery
  2. The Violin: A Social History of the World's Most Versatile Instrument by David Schoenbaum