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Book Giveaways

The 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards: Innovation & Creativity

November 21, 2016

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This week, we are giving away five sets of the best books on innovation and creativity published in 2016.

We are dedicating the book giveaways for the rest of 2016 to giving away all 40 books, one category at a time, on the 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards Longlist. This week, the Innovation & Creativity category. 

(Editor's Note: the copy below is promotional copy from the books' publishers. If you would like to hear from the judges at 800-CEO-READ as to why these books in particular were chosen, check back in to the News & Opinion channel later this week to go "inside the longlist," or subscribe to the Keen Thinker to get our weekly roundup of content.)

Each of this week's winners will receive all five finalists for the Innovation & Creativity category, and we have five sets available. The books you'll receive are:

Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses by Amy Whitaker, Harper Business

An indispensable and inspiring guide to creativity in the workplace and beyond, drawing on art, psychology, science, sports, law, business, and technology to help you land big ideas in the practical world. 

Anyone from CEO to freelancer knows how hard it is to think big, let alone follow up, while under pressure to get things done. Art Thinking offers practical principles, inspiration, and a healthy dose of pragmatism to help you navigate the difficulties of balancing creative thinking with driving toward results.

With an MBA and an MFA, Amy Whitaker, an entrepreneur-in-residence at the New Museum Incubator, draws on stories of athletes, managers, writers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and even artists to engage you in the process of “art thinking.” If you are making a work of art in any field, you aren’t going from point A to point B. You are inventing point B. Art thinking combines the mindsets of art and the tools of business to protect space for open-ended exploration and to manage risks on your way to success.

Art Thinking takes you from “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” to realizing your highest aims, helping you build creative skills you can apply across all facets of business and life. Warm, honest, and unexpected, Art Thinking will help you reimagine your work and life—and even change the world—while enjoying the journey from point A.

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, Random House

The bestselling author of The Power of Habit explores the science of productivity, and why, in today’s world, managing how you think—rather than what you think about—can transform your life.

Productivity, recent studies suggest, isn’t always about driving ourselves toward greater “efficiency.” Rather, real productivity relies on managing how we think, identify goals, construct teams, and make decisions.

This book explores eight concepts that are critical to increasing productivity, illustrated by compelling case studies. It introduces us to basic training in the U.S. Marine Corps, where the internal locus of control is exploited to increase self-motivation, and shows us how the principles of lean manufacturing—in which decision-making power is pushed to the lowest levels of the hierarchy—allowed the FBI to finally produce a new software system that had eluded them for years. It also explores how Disney Animation made Frozen into a record success by encouraging a certain kind of tension among animation teams - a version of what biologists refer to as the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which posits that nature is most creative when crises occur, but not so many that they wipe everything out.

With the combination of relentless curiosity, deep reporting, and rich story-telling that defined The Power of Habit, this book takes readers from neurology laboratories to World Series poker showdowns to Google’s brainstorming sessions and illustrates how we can all increase productivity in our lives.

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr, W.W. Norton

A freewheeling, sharp-shooting indictment of a tech-besotted culture.

With a razor wit, Nicholas Carr cuts through Silicon Valley’s unsettlingly cheery vision of the technological future to ask a hard question: Have we been seduced by a lie? Gathering a decade’s worth of posts from his blog, Rough Type, as well as his seminal essays, Utopia Is Creepy offers an alternative history of the digital age, chronicling its roller-coaster crazes and crashes, its blind triumphs, and its unintended consequences.

Carr’s favorite targets are those zealots who believe so fervently in computers and data that they abandon common sense. Cheap digital tools do not make us all the next Fellini or Dylan. Social networks, diverting as they may be, are not vehicles for self-enlightenment. And “likes” and retweets are not going to elevate political discourse. When we expect technologies—designed for profit—to deliver a paradise of prosperity and convenience, we have forgotten ourselves. In response, Carr offers searching assessments of the future of work, the fate of reading, and the rise of artificial intelligence, challenging us to see our world anew.

In famous essays including “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Privacy,” Carr dissects the logic behind Silicon Valley’s “liberation mythology,” showing how technology has both enriched and imprisoned us—often at the same time. Drawing on artists ranging from Walt Whitman to the Clash, while weaving in the latest findings from science and sociology, Utopia Is Creepy compels us to question the technological momentum that has trapped us in its flow. “Resistance is never futile,” argues Carr, and this book delivers the proof.

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson, Riverhead Books

The New York Times bestselling author of How We Got to Now and Where Good Ideas Come From explores the world-changing innovations we made while keeping ourselves entertained.

Steven Johnson’s fans love the surprising perspective of his long-view approach to history. In this lushly illustrated follow-up to the bestselling How We Got to Now, Johnson applies that lens to the history of popular entertainment, arguing that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Throughout history, he locates the cutting edge of innovation wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused.

Johnson’s storytelling is just as delightful as the inventions he describes, full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, musical experiments, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.

Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.

You Got This!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World by Maya S. Penn, North Star Way

Everyone is talking about the entrepreneur, animator, eco-designer, and girls’ rights activist Maya Penn.

Her TEDWomen Talk has been viewed over 1,200,000 million times (and is one of the top 15 TEDWomen Talks of all time). Now this amazing teenager has written an inspirational handbook for teens and young adults to help them discover their passions and maximize their full potential for a creative, successful life.Maya Penn is a remarkable teen entrepreneur who has given three TED Talks, created her own eco-friendly fashion line, developed animated films, and appeared on The View with Whoopi Goldberg. She has even been name-checked by bestselling authors Gabrielle Bernstein, Steve Harvey, and Eve Ensler. All while still in middle school!

Although Maya is extraordinary in many ways, and her success is a testament to her own creativity, passion, and fearlessness—these are traits that can be cultivated in all of us.

In You Got This! Maya shares her incredible journey to becoming an artist, designer, philanthropist, and business owner. She provides a creative blueprint for teens and young adults, along with the tools she used to build an authentic, exciting, and connected life, and offers creative prompts for cultivating success. So let your creativity and passion flow freely and watch as your world transforms—it all starts with you!

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