Creative LeadershipCreativity

You Should Be Reading More Fiction

On my live, “Monday Morning Jolt” webcast recently I talked about creativity, and some participants asked what novels I’ve particularly enjoyed lately.  I’m a big reader, and while I like non-fiction books on leadership, technology, history, and other subjects, I think we lose a lot if we’re not reading fiction as well.  Stories are powerful, and the great novels are a powerful way to spark your imagination.  So as I promised – and while it’s not exhaustive – here’s a list of some novels I’ve found particularly meaningful over the last few years.  This isn’t a “best novels” list – it’s just a short list of novels and authors I’m particularly fond of – for a variety of reasons.  Check some of them out – you’ll be glad you did:

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole  (One of the greatest comic novels of all time).

Anything by Mark Twain

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Wise Blood by Flannery O’Conner

The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Conner

All of Raymond Chandler’s detective fiction

All of Pat Conroy’s novels

There’s plenty of others, from Russian writers like Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy to others like Frederick Buechner or John Gardner.   I’m wrestling with “Look Homeward Angel” by Thomas Wolfe right now.

Check out a few of these novels and stories and give them a whirl.  You’ll enjoy the test drive…

Give me other suggestions that you’d add to the list…

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  1. I’ve not read a non-fiction book in about a year. I discovered I had O’D’d on them. I rediscovered the joy of fiction and it has helped me to relax and escape which I think helps me focus reconnect when I need to with work.

  2. Hey Phil. This is a good list. I believe that stories (well told) have the power to move and inspire us in ways that “facts and figures” don’t. One novel that I’ve read, which contiues to impact me is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, I found myself swept up in the epic journey; and the introduction alone is worth the price of the book. I often tell others that if they haven’t read it – they need to do so.

    If I may add, another novel that has impacted me is Speedsuit Powers. This is one that I wrote, (so I should like the story), and the story came from a very deep place of hurt, hope and inspiration.  Reader feedback has been greater than I expected as it resonates beyond my intended target audience of urban middle school readers: 

  3. Conn Iggulden’s “Emperor-The Gates of Rome” tells a riveting tale of Julius Caesar’s rise to power. It’s very well written, particularly the action scenes.

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