Edison's Library in West Orange, NJ

Thomas Edison was known to have read widely on many subjects from chemistry to Shakespeare.  In his home, he often assigned his children reading projects that would help him at work.  His library at the lab contained more than 10,000 books.  Sometimes I’ve wondered how he was able to read so much.  I’ve recently discovered what may be a clue. 

On January 1 of this year my daughter, Rachel, a thirty-two year old educator in Arizona, embarked on a great learning journey.  After being inspired by discussions in books by authors Pat Williams and Jill Bolte-Taylor, Rachel set a goal to read 365 books in 365 days.  After almost 7 months, she is a little ahead of schedule.  She’s has already finished 215 books this year.  When I’ve talked with her about some of them, she seems to have retained a remarkable amount of information.  And, better yet, the reading has helped her improve her life.

She and I have many common interests.  I’ve made book suggestions for her list, most notably Bolte-Taylor’s, My Stroke of Insights, which she lists at #3 among her favorite books of the year.  She has also recommended and/or given me several books.  I recently asked her for a list of the books she has read this year on the subjects of creativity, innovation and the mind and her opinion about each one.  

Because so many of you are continuously seeking to improve your understanding of these topics, I thought it would be interesting for you to see her list.  Perhaps there are some here you would like to read.  The numbers shown in the fraction that follows the author’s name is her rating on a five-point scale.  I thought it interesting that these books were mostly ranked very high, but in the total list of 200+, the average rating is about 3.5.  The books are listed in the order she read them.  Here’s the list: 

22 Books on Creativity, Innovation and the Mind:  

  1. My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte-Taylor, 5/5.
  2. The Learning Brain by Eric Jensen, 4/5.
  3. Think Big by Ben Carson, 4/5.
  4. Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner 4/5.
  5. Big Moo edited by Seth Godin, 5/5.
  6. Made to Stick by Dan & Chip Heath, 5/5.
  7. A Whole New Mind  by Daniel Pink, 5/5.
  8. Open Focus Brain  by Les Fehmi and Jim Robbins, 5/5.
  9. The Woman Who Can’t Forget, by Jill Price, 5/5.
  10. Whack on the Side of the Head  by Roger VonOeck, 5/5.
  11. Mind Mapping Book Tony by Buzan 5/5.
  12. Use Both Sides of Your Brain by Tony Buzan, 4/5.
  13. Innumeracy by John Paulos. 4/5.
  14. The Use of Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono, 4/5.
  15. Creativity:  Flow & Psychology of Discovery & Invention—M. Csikszentmihalyi, 5/5.
  16. 59 Second Mind Map by Richard Konieczka, 5/5.
  17. Mind Set  by Carol Dweck, 5/5.
  18. How Bright is Your Brain? by Michael Dispezio, 5/5.
  19. Drive by Daniel Pink 5/5.
  20. Mistakes that Worked Charlotte Foltz Jones, 1/5.
  21. Brain Rules:  12 Rules for Surviving at Work, Home & School by John Modina, 5/5.
  22. Teaching with the Brain in Mind  by Eric Jensen, 5/5.

 If you’re curious about Rachel’s reading journey, you can check it out at: