There's a book: Where good ideas come from.
The thesis is that most of nature is fractral and in it The author draws parallels to innovation.
I'm fairly stubborn, so it takes a lot for me to change my ways. This book has changed my daily work routine. Johnson outlines 7 environments that have historically produced the most innovative ideas. It's easy to apply the lessons to your typical working day. Best book I've read in probably 5 years.
4-minute Teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NugRZGDbPFU
TED Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0af00UcTO-c
1. <em>Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience</em> by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
2. <em>The Guide to Getting It On</em> by Paul Johannides [sp?]
3. <em>The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature</em> by Geoffrey Miller
4. <em>Hackers & Painters</em> by Paul Graham
5. <em>Man's Search for Meaning</em> by Viktor Frankl
6. <em>Stumbling on Happiness</em> by Daniel Gilbert
In all cases, I think these books profoundly shaped how not only I think, but I think others can learn to think too. All suddenly revealed new connections and ideas about the world I'd never experienced or expected to experience before.
Granted, no book can be removed from its context, and its possible that if I'd read some of the books above as a younger person I wouldn't have been ready to appreciate them. But <em>Flow</em> seems by far the most valuable of the choices listed above because it engulfs more of the content of the others than any other choice.
Steven Berlin Johnson's new book Where Ideas Come From looks promising: http://www.amazon.com/Where-Good-Ideas-Come-Innovation/dp/15... .
Get dozens of book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.