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Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up | [Patricia Ryan Madson]

Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up

In an irresistible invitation to lighten up, look around, and live an unscripted life, a Stanford University professor and master of the art of improvisation explains how to adopt the attitudes and techniques used by generations of musicians and actors. These secrets are currently being taught to entrepreneurs, engineers, and first responders in a crisis as well as housewives and Alzheimer caregivers. Let's face it: Life is something we all make up as we go along.
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Publisher's Summary

In an irresistible invitation to lighten up, look around, and live an unscripted life, a Stanford University professor and master of the art of improvisation explains how to adopt the attitudes and techniques used by generations of musicians and actors. These secrets are currently being taught to entrepreneurs, engineers, and first responders in a crisis as well as housewives and Alzheimer caregivers.

Let's face it: Life is something we all make up as we go along. No matter how carefully we formulate a "script", it is bound to change when we interact with people with scripts of their own. Improv Wisdom shows how to apply the maxims of improvisational theater to real-life challenges - whether it's dealing with a demanding boss, a tired child, or one of life's never-ending surprises. Patricia Ryan Madson distills 30 years of experience into thirteen simple strategies, including "Say Yes", "Start Anywhere", "Face the Facts", and "Make Mistakes, Please", helping readers to loosen up, think on their feet, and take on everything life has to offer with skill, chutzpah, and a sense of humor.

©2005 Bell Tower, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House (P)2007 Patricia Ryan Madson

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  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 03-19-14
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 03-19-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I expected."

    This is more about adding variety and enjoyment to your life. She gives suggestions like go to bed 1 hour earlier, get up 1 hour earlier, walk a different way when going someplace. For one day smile at everyone you see. Say thank you frequently and with details. Mistakes are good.

    My favorite improv rule is say “Yes And.” Don’t say “Yes But.” Also don’t say “No.” I heard that before I read this book, and I was hoping for more ideas like that, which I did not get. I was also hoping for a lot of examples from improv skits. I only remember one example, but there may have been more. The example I remember was about the value of making “mistakes.” The skit was a group of nuns. One of them was named Sister Agnes. A guy knocks at the door and asks for Sister Agnes. The girl says I’ll go get her. Then she realizes she was Sister Agnes, so she says something like “Oh I forgot, that’s me. Sometimes we nuns all look alike.”

    I do not recommend this for someone who wants to learn about improv on stage. I see it as how to open yourself up to new things in life. I might have given it more stars if she added a lot of skit examples.

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    The author narrates her own book. She was a good reader, but her accent had an interrupting effect, not bad but it was there. I kept wondering what it was when she said words like Stuart, student, and our.

    Genre: self help psychology

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teri Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-03-13
    Teri Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-03-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Simple, solid solutions."

    This is a simple walk through of various business, social, and creative situations, where we learn to build up our inventory of manageable traits that will then navigate us straight through any storyline that lays ahead.
    This will give us a strength and it is entertaining.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cory B Oklahoma 04-27-15
    Cory B Oklahoma 04-27-15 Member Since 2014

    Remember... be a servant

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    "Phenomenal book and you can apply it to business"

    This book was an excellent study for improv and acting. However, it was even better for applying to business. I highly recommend you read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DBruno1987 01-07-15
    DBruno1987 01-07-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Only loosely about improv"

    I discovered this title from the art of charm podcast. When listening to the author being interviewed, I was interested in her explanation of listening. It seemed that the importance of listening was what made a lightbulb go off in my head. This whole book, though, made me very cynical and annoyed.

    I am involved in improv comedy myself, and this book was way too wishy-washy and optimistic for my dry, sarcastic, and "comedic" outlook on life. I didn't get a sense of the author's own sense of humor at all, which puzzles me a little bit (how did she get her job if she's not funny?). I felt a major divide between myself, in my 20s and pursuing artistic endeavors, and the author, who is obviously of an older and much more innocent generation.

    But for someone who teaches improv at a college level, she doesn't include too many technical explanations of the craft. It's very vague, very general, like "just have fun and feel good." Easier said than done. If this is a self-help book, which I'm not against listening to, please give better, more practical advice than "be nice every day," or whatever.

    If you've taken even the most basic improv class, you probably wont learn anything new in here. If you enjoy "feel good" books, and like the "thought" of improv, looking from the outside in, then this could probably be good for you. I'm sure lots of people can benefit from this book, but it just did not do it for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Madson El Granada, CA, US 03-18-13
    Ron Madson El Granada, CA, US 03-18-13
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    "This is an amazingly insightful book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes!!


    Any additional comments?

    This is an amazingly insightful book. It has had a big impact on my life. It contains down to earth grounded advise.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K.Ryan Virginia 06-08-14
    K.Ryan Virginia 06-08-14
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    "Clearly words to live by."
    What made the experience of listening to Improv Wisdom the most enjoyable?

    Being able to visualize each situation.


    What does Patricia Ryan Madson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Experience


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from Improv Wisdom?

    That making mistakes is normal.


    Any additional comments?

    Love the hard copy as well.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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