I recommended Creativity Inc., by Disney/Pixar’s Ed Catmull in a recent post. On the heals of finishing that book I read 2 more books that go hand-in-hand with each other and were the perfect follow up for me.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown

Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, by Todd Henry

I didn’t plan to read them in this order, but was very surprised at how each book is a perfect lead in for the next! Of course I’m in full “make-your-art-count” mode after writing and releasing my book Calling All Artists, so these books are perfect to supplement and support what I wrote and what I’ve been thinking about for the past year.

I know that reading books takes time and effort, but I promise these 3 books will inspire you tremendously. Get audio versions of the books if you have to, but do whatever you need to read these books in the near future. Set a goal to read even 1 per month.

I guarantee that if you are an artist and you read these books it will absolutely clarify your calling, purpose, or “through line” as Greg McKeown calls it. If I were to ever teach a workshop or lead a seminar for Calling All Artists, I would have these 3 books available as a bundle. If I were the dean of a creative college, I would make them required reading.

Here’s the order I would recommend reading them in:

1. Calling All Artists, by Todd Hampson

2. Die Empty, by Todd Henry

3. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown

It’s almost as if the authors (sorry, not intending to speak of myself in 3rd person here) were looking at the same mountain from different angles. The stories are different, the struggles are similar, the purpose is the same; to ignite passion, courage, and clarity in the heart of artists.

There is so much good content here for artists it will make your head spin. These are not books you’ll read and forget about and what’s most exciting is that all 3 are practical books with specific exercises designed to get artists laser focused and crystal clear on goals and a workable plan.

If you are serious about your role as an artist, these are “must-reads”! These books will inspire passion and give you specific practical steps as an artist.

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