This is my ever-developing personal canon: the books and tools that have influenced my life to such a degree that they’ve become indispensable.
I have revisited them (and plan to revisit them) at different points in my life to learn something new and deeper about the world, as well as myself. I hope one or more of these items speak to you, too.
(These are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to purchase, which goes to my chai latte fund. I have not been given any products or services in exchange for mentioning them; I just like them.)
- Poetics by Aristotle: If you only read one book on writing, this is it. Aristotle’s classic text examines the elements of story and rules of drama. It’s required reading in film and theatre classes, but it has been conspicuously absent from fiction workshops. The language is thick at times, but trust me, this will become your primary reference.
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: A memoir about his time in Paris, this book is a great insight into his writing process that captures the artist’s mentality well.
- Final Draft: The industry standard for screenwriting, I’ve been using Final Draft since I received a copy as part of my Scriptwriters Network High School Fellowship.
- iA Writer: My favorite plain text editor. No bells. No whistles. And the focus mode is pretty awesome.
- On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis: After reading five pages of the introduction, I knew this book would make the list. Like Aristotle mentioned above, if you are going to read one book on leadership, read this one.
- Getting Things Done by David Allen: Shortened as GTD, Allen explains his task management system that breaks projects into actionable items and declutters your head. I don’t know how I operated before such efficiency.
- OmniFocus: Based on the GTD methodology, this is my task management software used to track and automate my projects.
- MailChimp: My newsletter service provider. The interface is simple, and you can start with a free plan.
- All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1947, this novel has been described as the quintessential book on American politics. The prose is gorgeous; the story dramatic; and this is my favorite novel.
- Constitution of the United States: Because it’s the Constitution. And because the clarity of thought and purpose this document communicates is so wholly impressive that I cannot suppress my amazement every time I read it. It even values authors.