3 Helpful books to jumpstart your creativity when designing presentations


If there’s one thing I’ve heard about boring presentations more often than not it’s, “I could never do what you do, I’m not creative.” This type of declaration drives me BONKERS, of course you’re not going to be creative if you keep telling yourself you can’t do it.

The effectiveness of your presentation depends on your ability to make insightful, easy to see and digest slides. Never does this mean “put all of the information on your slide and move on because you think you can’t make it better.”

You are teeming with creativity and the only thing holding you back are your own perceptions.

What separates “creative types” from “non-creative types” is less of the ability to use the fancy equipment and more of the ability and desire to see something differently and work from that place.

I know you’re an artist because I didn’t go to school for art or graphic design. I didn’t formally learn Photoshop or Illustrator, I taught myself how to use them. You learn by doing and moving forward.

Sometimes it takes a little help to get you on your way so I’ve compiled 3 of my favorite books that keep me inspired when I’m feeling like my work sucks. (Inside Art World Secret: all artists feel uncreative or terrible at their job at some point and it happens to us over and over. We ALL have to work at being creative.)


Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon is both a how-to and a little pep talk rolled into one quirky little book that will change your creativity forever. Imposter Syndrome hardly stands a chance when up against Austin’s writing. In this book you learn how to steal ideas properly, like the honorable artist that you are.

You can also take a stab at Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist Journal, which is a pretty fantastic tool as it gives you tasks to work out your fearlessness. You’re not always going to love the task but they’re never too long, your work doesn’t have to be pretty, and it’s a great way to keep your creativity on its toes and feel good about where you are with it.



Elizabeth Gilbert (the famed writer of Eat, Pray, Love) recently published Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, a book on acknowledging your creativity and how to live as a creative person even if you are utterly convinced you are the least creative person on Earth.

There is no way you come away from reading this book feeling like you’re anything less than an amazing artist and quite possibly the best person ever—which is a great thing to come away with because you need to know and believe this to be super kick-ass.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
By Elizabeth Gilbert


A tough love approach to the kind of attitude you need to scrape up to be creative. Hugh McLeod pulls no punches in his exceedingly popular book Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity. You have to make choices as a creative and sometimes those choices are not particularly comfortable ones.

Reading this book is like taking a shortcut through creative puberty without the first-hand pain and struggle. You’ll still have to go through it all but at least you know what you’re up against. If you want to take a sneak peak at what all the fuss is about, you can check out an old outline of his book here

There are tons of books on creativity but these are my go-to books for when I need a boost.

They’re short (which means you’ll actually finish the books), witty (which means you’re more likely to remember them), and honest (kind of like your best friend telling you about the spinach stuck in your teeth).

These 3 books are everything I think you need when it comes to finding your creativity again. Be brave, be sure of yourself, and above all don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Worrying is fastest way to becoming stuck and the biggest trap of all.

Get your hand on that mouse and fingers on that keyboard and start going to town on those boring slides. You’ve seen them thousands of times, step back and try to see them differently… what can you take off the page that isn’t necessary, what needs highlighting, what’s the true point you’re trying to get across.

Even if you hate the work you’re doing, keep at it. We all have shitty first drafts, good work isn’t possible without them.

If you have any other books (or any other media) that you go to when your creative spark needs a jolt of energy, I’d love it if you put ’em in the comments section below.

Cindy Caughey

In Good Company Design, Barnstable, MA