I love books, all kinds of books, including books on art, essays, and novels. Still today, it remains one of the most extraordinary invention, a powerful way of sharing and traveling into the thoughts and emotions of others. It's a deep way to connect.
Books are food for thought and for the heart, stimuli for the brain, a perfect conveyor for stories. Books help us to become who we are. They make us smarter every day. They stimulate our memory, they enlarge our worldviews. When we think about it, they represent a huge and continuous stretch for the evolution of humanity. What would have happened without books all these years?
In his excellent post on Medium: "Why can’t we read anymore? Or, can books save us from what digital does to our brains?", Hugh McGuire wrote:
“When I think back on my life, I can define a set of books that shaped me — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. Books have always been an escape, a learning experience, a saviour, but beyond this, greater than this, certain books have become, over time, a kind of glue that holds together my understanding of the world. I think of them as nodes of knowledge and emotion, nodes that knot together the fabric myself. Books, for me anyway, hold together who I am.”
— Hugh McGuire
Indeed. Each book has its color, style, and personality. I love having books around me, they are like a lively family helping me to grow a little more every day. Some days, I will go to them for some wise advice, a laugh, a consolation or an inspiration. Some days, I will just smile at a particular book, remember when I read it, where I was, in which city, train or plane. When I travel, I carry my office with me, my laptop, phone, notebooks, tablet (with a vast library in it), but also, believe it or not, one to three printed books!
My friends often ask me, how I carry such a bag... when running in the streets of Paris. I don't know how this habit formed probably after a lot of traveling, I wanted to use my time as best I could in train stations, subways or airports.
One of my favorite book that I would like to suggest to everyone is 101 Things to Learn in Art School by Kit White.
First of all, the book is beautiful. A small square black book. Elegant, and just the right size to carry with you. It's the quintessence of intelligence and simplicity. It includes lessons, demonstrations, and tips on what to expect in art school, what it means to make art, and how to think like an artist. When I read the book by Austin Kleon, Show your work, I thought he could have been a student of Kit White who wrote the perfect book that we should all read if we aspire to become more creative, wise and smart.
Each word has its place, everything is so perfectly demonstrated with simplicity and refinement. By reading this book, you can awaken the artist in you — the funniest (and magical) part of the story. I didn't know of Kit White before reading his book. At the time of my discovery, I was living in France, but teaching, twice a year, in Montreal (Canada). When I got to Montreal, I used to run to visit some cultural places that I missed so much in Saint-Malo. One of them is the Canadian Center for Architecture. It was in the library of the museum that I found the book by Kit White. I bought it for fun to show to my Ph.D. candidate students at Polytechnique School Montreal. It looked simple, and I thought it would be a good introduction to art for engineers.
But page after page, I fell in love with this little book and became curious about the author who was able in such a small format to share what is most important to become an artist. You need to have a life behind you (of reading and practicing as an artist) to be able to write and illustrate such a book.
The author, Kit White, is a New York-based artist who is an Associate Professor in the MFA Program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He studied fine arts at Harvard University, and his work has been the subject of numerous one-person-exhibitions in New York and beyond.
We are all creative and my wish is that in a few years, maybe a few decades, we will all become artists if we succeed in our transformation into a world of possibility. Another, book (The Art of Possibility) made a big impression on me, but that's for another story.
If you want to boost your creativity, explore many possibilities to fix something that you would like to fix. Once done, choose the idea you would like to transform in the best solution. Let me know the result!
Download our interactive tool to help your next tinkering session. Put an alarm. A short deadline. And go, write as many ideas as you can!