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Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up Hardcover – May 3, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Patricia Ryan Madson is one of Stanford’s truly inspired teachers; she has changed the lives of thousands of students over the past twenty-eight years. In her smiling book, Improv Wisdom, she reminds us that being alive is like riding a bicycle—we always feel a little off-balance and insecure, but ‘in the act of balancing we come alive.’ She makes you want to get up and do something—try it out, make mistakes, laugh, play, and try it again.” —Charles Junkerman, Associate Provost and Dean of Continuing Studies, Stanford University
“Reading even just a few pages of Patricia Madson’s book might change your life forever. That’s what has happened to me. These pages are chock-full of wisdom, clarity, and helpful techniques on enhancing spontaneity in everyday life. Read this book—you will be glad and so will everyone else in your life.” —Nina Wise, author of A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life
“I have witnessed Patricia Madson’s magic touch in both her classes and her performances. Her students often describe her as a ‘goddess,’ but that may be an understatement. I rejoice that her wisdom is now available to new audiences.” —Philip G. Zimbardo, author of Psychology and Life and Shyness
“The premise of Patricia Madson’s book is astonishing: to practice the basic rules of improvisational theater is to walk a path toward a spiritually satisfying life. Her underlying claim is simple and sound: if you are willing to be completely present, making full use of whatever happens, you will find goodness in any situation. This is a lucid, wise, and free-spirited book.” —Norman Fischer, founder and teacher of the Everyday Zen Foundation
More About the Author
I am an Emerita of Stanford University where I taught for three decades in the Drama Department. I founded the Stanford Improvisors in 1991, and I have spent a happy lifetime leading classes, seminars and workshops that teach the ease of the creative process and the magic of improvising. I currently teach for the Esalen Insitute and for Stanford's Continuing Studies. My book, IMPROV WISDOM: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up was published in 2005 by Bell Tower Books, a Random House publication. I design workshops and keynote presentations for organizations worldwide. My current passion is plein air watercolor painting.
Top Customer Reviews
Ms. Madson organizes the book into 13 maxims, each given its own chapter. Samples include: #1: say yes; #2: don't prepare; #3: show up. Sounds simple, right? Although Ms. Madson writes in a tight, easy-to-abosrb style, she also looks you dead in the eye. For example, for people (like me) who just can't remember people's names, she calls it laziness. If you can't remember someone's name, she says you're breaking maxim #3. She doesn't stop there - she gives real improv exercises to build strengths in each maxim. (I tried her approach at the dog park yesterday when I met some new dogs - and their parents - and it worked!)
Improv Wisdom is my favorite new book for how to lead a creative, full life. (Move over, Stephen Covey!) I'm buying copies for everyone I care about and strongly recommend it to anyone who needs a refresher course for how to show up to their own life.
All of Patricia's best anecdotes, advice and words of wisdom are in this book. Read it if you're a drama student (it's amazing how much your acting will improve if you incorporate improv into your craft), but definitely read it if you're not. This book isn't so much about improv as it is how to lead your life. Trust me, if you follow Patricia's advise, your life will improve for the better. Really.
It seems, though, that every sentence Patricia Madson writes is a psychological landmine: read it, and it trips a kind of explosion in one's mind. Is this book about acting? I would say that it is, in that acting on a stage is not so different from fretting and strutting upon the stage of life(did I just totally mash that Shakespeare reference? Oh, well.) What has been most useful to me so far is her comments on traversing the rocky road of life with the attitude that one might try approaching the inevitable rough parts of life in an improvisational manner: the open mind invites new experience instead of building a wall of anxiety against it. Actor and teacher Madson has certainly developed a wisdom that she communicates in a deceptively simple style, and I find every dip into the pages of IMPROV: WISDOM an expansion of my own thoughts about my spiritual journey, my work in psychotherapy, and my interest in performing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is bored with life, individuals who always open Door #1 and may find some surprises behind Doors # 2,3,4,5,6.....; writers, actors, therapists, politicians, professors, religious leaders, and everyone else, really.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Neat anecdotes about teaching and good for the absolute beginner. Includes many tips to make small changes in your routines to become a better improvisor.Published 13 days ago by ally thomas
I was very surprised to get relationship advice from a book called Improv Wisdom. But that’s exactly what I got… and boy, does it work. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matt Gersper
Easy read with very applicable advice. Everything suggested can be put into practice.Published 3 months ago by Danielle H. Potts
I'm not one for motivational speeches. I thought this book contained tips and tricks to improv; I was dead wrong.Published 4 months ago by Emanuelle
I love this book. It's one of the most user-friendly books that take the core improv principles and breaks them into easy to digest chapters. Great stories. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Storyteller
Good encouragement for living. Easy read for motivation to help move you in the direction of becoming a better person.Published 7 months ago by healthy living
Unbelievably good information on history and techniques of improv, as well as philosophy and life. Entertaining and instructive.Published 7 months ago by macwordy