I read a lot so it was hard to choose the best book of 2009.
I liked In Pursuit of Elegance by Matthew May because I agree that simple, elegant answers are sometimes the best and most sustainable solutions. I really liked his examination of Jackson Pollock’s painting…brilliant!
I dug A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink because I was born with a HEWGE right brain and like to think that right brainers will rule the world. I was also excited by some of his exercises for beefing up a withered right brain. I’ve used many myself to enhance my art practice and with my clients who are seeking more creativity in their lives and businesses. It was a cool confirmation.
And, I thoroughly enjoyed De Kooning: An American Master. It was a fast read with lots of drama and history (with a few heartbreaking stories). It also put all that Art History I studied in college into a real life framework. It was fascinating to tick off his life and art development and how it fit into American contemporary art.
But, I have to say that The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle is my favorite book this year. It’s about how talent is actually grown (instead of buying into the belief that you only “got it” if you’re born with it) and that with the right coaching and ignition combined with deep practice, we become natural wunderkinds. I’ve been fortunate to have several great mentors in my life who flipped a switch – especially with my art. I know what it’s like to experience deep practice…which is really hard to do but also one of the most rewarding endeavors. And, I love that our brains have little squid-like dudes that squirt myelin down so that what we are trying to learn becomes natural. And the more myelin we develop, the faster we are able to respond. Eventually, you don’t even think about how hard it was once to do and you’re on the autobahn baby! I recommend reading it at the same time as reading In Pursuit of Elegance. Juicy stuff!