Read This Book: Creative Confidence


Read This Book: Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All | The perfect book for anyone who's ever insisted that they aren't creative. This book explains how we are all creative, and offers strategies and exercises for flexing your creative muscles.

Creative Confidence

I’m always up for reading books that deal with creativity and self-improvement.  Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All certainly did not disappoint in this realm.  Coming from the two guys who started the Stanford and IDEO, I was excited to read about their perspective on creativity and design.  While the book does feel somewhat geared towards business professionals, there’s so much in this book that applies to everyone, and that can work in amazing ways for teaching design thinking in the classroom.

The Creativity Myth

I love that the very first topic they tackle in this book is the myth that creativity is a fixed trait, that only certain people are creative and that if you’re in a “serious” professional like business, you can’t be creative.  They tackle this notion by demonstrating how we’re all creative as children, but as we get older we begin to fear social rejection, so we gradually just start to go with the norm.

“At its core, creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you.”

Creativity Workouts

To develop creative confidence in ourselves, we need to exercise our creativity muscles.  We need to believe that we can effect change.  We need to seek out experiences that can spark creative thinking.

“Creative confidence is an inherently optimistic way of looking at what’s possible.”

We need to look for opportunities to have small successes as we build our creative confidence.  I believe that this part of Creative Confidence directly applies to what we do with our students.  If a student’s very first experience with tinkering is something very difficult or complicated, they’re likely to feel defeated and shut down.  By starting them with an easier or familiar experience, we can build up their confidence so that they’ll be more prepared for the harder tasks.  Students need both a “reasonable hope of success” and the chance of an epic win.

“Building confidence through experience encourages more creative action in the future.”

Daydreaming is good for you

There’s a reason why many of us get our best ideas while in the shower, while taking long walks or while otherwise allowing our mind to wander 🙂  We need to find a way to allow our students these opportunities as well.  I’ve often noticed students who seemed to be doing anything but what the task at hand was supposed to be, but later on they wow me with an amazing idea they’ve come up with.  They needed to have that “messing around” time in order to figure out their ideas.

Step back and reframe your challenges

“It’s not about just coming up with the one genius idea that solves the problem, but trying and failing at a hundred other solutions before arriving at the best one” Ankit Gupta, one of the creators of the Pulse News app

One of the things that gets mentioned over and over again in this book is the importance of getting away from the obvious solution, trying many quick prototypes, failing often, and eventually coming up with something spectacular.  If our students focus too much on that one perfect solution, they’ll miss out on all the other amazing possibilities.  By allowing our students to try many possible solutions, they’ll come up with a better one than if they just focused on the “best” solution from the beginning.

“To ultimately reach a creative breakthrough you just need to START, regardless of small failures that may occur along the way” (emphasis mine)

Creative Confidence wraps up with a set of creativity challenges to use in groups.  While they seem a little more written towards groups of adults, these activities could easily be used in a classroom, with a student leadership team or as a professional development session.  Several of them are available on the d school’s website, so check them out.

Check out Creative Confidence

So many times in my makerspace, I’ve heard students insist that they aren’t creative, then go on to make something incredible.  Creative Confidence is an important reminder of the creativity inside of all of us and offers powerful strategies for unleashing it.

How do you build creative confidence in yourself?  In your students?

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. I started reading this last week per your suggestion! Great book!

  2. […] Edison had over a 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the lightbulb (which I learned reading Creative Confidence based on Diana Rendina’s suggestion), and that if he had given up, we’d be sitting […]

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