Book listing Writing

10 books every writer should read

What books should writers read? Of course, first of all you should read the books which are similar to the story you want to tell. Also, one shall never forget to read the classical literature – after all it’s the fundamental literature. However, in the article “10 books every writer should read” I want to list the books which helped me to change my way of thinking.

1. E.H.Gombrich, “The story of art”.

In my library E.H.Gombrich book “The story of art” is the most valuable book. First of all, it helps me to understand the development of art from cave painting to modern art. As art and philosophy of humans are closely related, it helps to feel the mood of certain epocha and develop understanding of traits which should be implemented for character. Understanding of humans’ behavior in different epochas is very important if you are a novelist.

The author of this book provides a lot of repos of great works, so it can help to create an environment for the story. The wonderful landscapes inspire you to create your fictional world. Also, art usually has some mythological background which is nice for writers to research. For me as a fictional writer the visual information is very important.

2. “Memo” Christopher Vogler and David McKenna.

The authors of “Memo” provide the valuable set of characters identified by Theophrastus, greek philosopher and the successor of Aristotle. Theophrastus has described a list of interesting characters and they are all written down in this gold worth book for writers. All writers know the pressure of creation of new characters. How to make them interesting and fresh? It’s always a very difficult task and “Memo” helps to brainstorm ideas.

In this book there is clearly described such topics as “topic of story” and “hero’s journey”. For everyone who wants to write a good plot for the movie scenario this book is the best point to start.

3. Ha Joon Chang “Economics: User’s guide”

Ha Joon Chang “Economics: User’s guide” is one of the books which looks out of place in my list. At first, I read it just to have some basic knowledge about different approaches to economic theory. However, Ha Joon Chang made me interested in economics as a political instrument.

In two month after reading this book I found a few fantasy anime in which the main characters go to an alternative world and use his economic knowledge from our world to make the life of villains better. I must admit those animes were the best I have ever watched.

4. “Create your own universe” Greg and George McLeod

The book of brothers McLeod “Create your own universe: How to invent stories, characters and ideas” grabbed my attention by it’s title. When I started to read it I found that these guys were working for such companies as Disney, DreamWorks, BBC and Royal Shakespeare Company. There are always people who are further to our goals and we need to listen to their story to create our own.

This practical book is written in easy-going style and the reason that is why I included this book in the list of “10 books every writer should read”. The main message of the book is “Start doing that you dream of and you will soon have what you wish.” I don’t really understand how this book works, but it’s enough just to open it and my productivity bursts.

5. Harari Yu “Sapiens”

The Harari Yu book “Sapiens” is interesting for writers to read because it answers questions about evolution and human’s role in it. For me very important was the hypothesis about cognitive and agrarian revolutions impact on human evolution. It helps to state some new hypotheses about the future and write some sci-fi stories.

6. Belfort D. “Way of the wolf: straight line selling”

As you need to show you can provide at least 1000 book sales to get publishers attention, every writer should read at least one book about business and sales. I found Belfort’s book “Way of the wolf:straight line selling” very valuable. The author describes a simple method on how to sell everything for everyone.

This book is worth reading because it teaches you that you need to believe in yourself if you want others to believe in you. It’s very important to writers as they tend to doubt their ability to write.

7. “The art of strategy” Avinash K. Dixit, Barry J. Nalebuff

One of the most interesting books I have read in 2019 is “The art of strategy: A game theorist’s guide to success in business and life”. This book nicely describes how people manipulate each other in business and everyday life. There are a lot of examples of how to apply game’s theory in practice and make fresh scenarios.

8. Ket Mary Weiland “Creating character ark”

Ket Mary Weiland books title just talk for itself. “Creating character arc: the masterful authors guide to uniting story structure, plot and character development”. I believe there is nothing to add to let you understand why this book was added to the list of “10 books every writer should read”.

9. Richard Williams “The Animator’s Survival kit”

The wonderful book of Richard Williams “Animator’s Survival kit” introduced me to some techniques which let me better understand the importance of pre-action and post-action effect in animation. The author invites everyone to hyperbolise the moment of action by creating a totally opposite effect before action.

In the book mentioned below about game design this method, also is mentioned as keeping the player in the flow. If your character needs to face a dangerous situation – you firstly shall make him totally at ease. Let the protagonist think that everything had ended and then struck him with the biggest challenge.

I decided to include those books to my list of “10 books every writer needs to read” to show how experience from other types of creativity can help improve one’s writing skills.

10. “The art of game design: book of lenses” J.Shell

J.Shell book “The art of game design: book of lenses” is the newest book in my collection, however it helps to develop a clear mindset for every person whose work is highly creative. The author of this book became my teacher to develop an approach to writer’s work. The book writer provides more than 500+ questions which helps to look at the topic of the story from every possible angle. He also encourages one to think about the impact which your work could have for society.

The impact of the book is still very fresh and it’s difficult to talk about it and not to spoil it. The book is well written, strong and wise. For the time being I can not add anything more. It’s one of those books which are better to be read once, as it has a lot of practical information.

I hope you enjoyed my list of “10 books every writer needs to read”. Do you have books that you are suggesting to be added to the list? Please email me at

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