10 Books Every Creative Rebel Should Have in Their Library

10 Books every creative rebel should have in their library - books by Elle Luna, Austin Kleon, Sophia Amoruso, Elizabeth Gilbert, Seth Godin, Chris Guillebeau, and others.

I've been having a bit of a problem with impulse buying...

You see, it took me a while to teach myself not to go into shops when I'm saving up for something more important than bags and hats. However, when it comes to BOOKS, Amazon is just one click away. What's worse, buying is one click away!

As a result, I have developed quite the library. Boring books, famous books, underrated books, rebellious books, and so on. Today we'll focus on books for rebels, by rebels. Whether you're already a rebel and you want to read something worthy of your attention or you're looking to find authors that deserve their hype, look no more.

Below are handpicked books that I've read and loved, both as reader and rebel.


Some of the links on this site are affiliate, which means that when you buy something, you send a tiny portion of your gratitude my way. I stand 100% behind my recommendations, as everything I do is for my fellow creative rebels.

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

This is pretty much the best book/story for creative rebels.

It tells the story of Elle Luna who had a successful career as a designer in a big tech company. One day she got a message from her creativity saying It's time to paint. She got it in a dream with a white room in it. Searching for the room in real life, Elle rediscovered her passion for painting and had to choose between her career and painting. Should and Must. The rebel that she is, she chose painting. And has been happy ever since. What an inspiration!!!

Read the story on Medium and watch Elle talk about it.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon - writer who draws

Hands down the most creative and rebellious book out there.

The author, Austin Kleon is known for this book, Show Your Work, and his newspaper blackouts. Stealing from artists is not about plagiarism but taking your favorite parts from your idols and remixing them in new ways. Watch Austin break it down for you in his TEDx talk.

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso - book for rebel entrepreneurs

#GIRLBOSS is both a fascinating and a weird read.

While reading it you keep thinking this is the GREATEST THING you've ever read. However, once some time has passed, you realize it was just a story of a hippie girl who did some crazy shit in her youth and accidentally ended up creating a huge company. Nevertheless, the juxtaposition between her nonconformist nature and her traditional career is fascinating.

(Plus it's a testament to following your gut and trusting the path.)

In any case, this is one of THE books for creative rebels.

Unmistakable by Srinivas Rao

Can I just say how much I LOVE The Unmistakable Creative?

Srinivas Rao has done so much since he launched the podcast where he interviews creatives who have disrupted their industries in most creative ways. There are a ton of things involved in the brand - including a Soulpancake series - but the book is the focal point because it contains the story of a man who decided to turn his life upside down. 

It's perfect for creative rebels who are still in the closet! So let this book be your permission to be UNMISTAKABLE. 

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert 

You probably know how much I love Elizabeth Girlbert.

It's funny how she used to be "the author of Eat Pray Love," but once I heard her speak on TED and various interviews, she would never be the author of anything ever again. She would become THE Liz Gilbert.

If you ever thought "Oh no, another overhyped book" about Big Magic, let me stop you. From ideas jumping in and out of people's heads to her insight into the balance between honest work and creative life, this is a book that will always inspire creative rebels everywhere.

Creativity for Sale by Jason Zook

If you don't know about Jason Zook, you have been living in a cave.

Seriously, if you want to see extreme creativity in marketing and business, you have to follow this guy and his crazy projects. Nobody is more rebellious than the guy who sold his name and wore tshits for a living.

(Not to mention he recently sold his future.)

You will learn all about it in the book, which was not crowdfunded but sponsored. It seems that Jason can't do anything in the traditional or even semi-traditional fashion. He has to be unique.

Zen Pencils, Volume 1

There are a lot of curations out there, but nobody mentions this book!

It's crazy to think that this is the book that gets omitted when it's one of the most inspiring and inciting reads of the century. (For realz, yo.)

What do you get when you put together inspirational quotes and cartoons?

You get inspirational cartoons. You get ZENPENCILS

Check out his blog to get a taste of his work.

The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau - find your quest

There are certain names that are famous in the rebel world. 

One of those names is Chris Guillebeau, the man who traveled every country in the world. The man who wrote The $100 Startup.

The man who believes we each have a QUEST.

When a friend suggested this book, I got it right away. It is full of stories of people who live non-traditional lives. In pursuit of their QUESTS, these people truly deserve to be shared with the world.

My Creative Side Business by Monika Kanokova - collection of fun creative incomes

Monika Kanokova works in silent ways. You don't realize she's there until she WOWs you, and this book is the perfect example. To be honest, I bought it because it launched during one of my manic shopping sprees.

But I got way more than expected: a ton of creative rebel stories. 

Want to start a creative side business? Want to learn how a side business can become your main business? This book will help!

The Little Prince classic

In my mind The Little Prince will always be the #1 book for rebels.

Maybe it's because of the elephant/hat story in the beginning that shows how we all see things differently. Or maybe it's the realization that we don't stay kids as we grow up, even though we should. 

I don't know. What I do know is that every human being should read this book at least once and keep it for emergencies. 


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Nasty Galaxy is Sophia Amoruso's newest book! The summary:

"Highly graphic and visual, filled with illustrations, photos and short essays, Nasty Galaxy is part scrapbook, part inspo-journey, with moments of frivolity scattered throughout. It's a celebration of Sophia's roots in punk attitude, fringe characters, and don’t-give-a-fuckthought leadership."


Honestly, we should all read more of Seth's books!

Being the extraordinarily prolific and insightful rebel that he is, Seth Godin makes for a fascinating author. I mean, how often do you get to read a book by a man whose daily blogs are a legend and who has been on the internet since 1976?! Not to mention he has started some serious trends!

Anywho, follow this link and listen to his interview with Marie Forleo.


Pick Me Up is Adam J Kurtz's second journal, 1 Page at a Time being his first. (It's coming to me via carrier pigeon as we speak.) 

While 1 Page at a Time was a somewhat typical creative journal with creative prompts, there's nothing typical about this interactive book.

In fact, you can go over to his website and follow his instructions to create your own Pick Me Up mini zine. How creative is that?!



I have this habit of discovering contemporary poets and devouring all of their work online. (It's easy 'cos most share their work.)

After I did that with Savannah Brown and her Graffitti collection, I soon discovered Rupi Kaur whose work is outrageous and beautiful. It took a few minutes of looking over it on Instagram to know that:

I must have this outrageous collection of poems. Like, yesterday.



Keri Smith is more or less famous for her creative journals.

She has created over 12 books for creative rebels, her ultimate rebellion being Wreck This Journal where she goes against the rules of journaling (to create something pretty) and asks her readers to DESTROY her book.

While I have 3 of her journals, I'm excited to get The Guerrilla Art Kit next 'cos there's something exhilarating about the thought of creating in the real world as opposed to creating solely in the digital one.


What's on your list?

Email me at hello@violetanedkova.com with your recommendations of books written by creative rebels for creative rebels. And feel free to suggest your own, but only it it fits the creative rebel community. :)

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Violeta Nedkova

Violeta Nedkova is a multipassionate marketer who loves helping people. She talks and writes about marketing with purpose and personality because it's so much better than traditional marketing.