The Top 3 Books on Improv

Learning to think on your feet and be creative can be tough... especially under pressure! Here are the top 3 books that teach you everything you need to know in a fun, easy way.

#1 Improv Manifesto: 7 Easy Steps to Confidence, Creativity, and Charisma - Even If You're Shy! 

This book follows a time-tested formula for success. It breaks the process of learning improv into 7 easy steps: 

  1. Getting out of your head and into the moment.
  2. Starting off confidently and tricks to handle when your mind goes blank.
  3. How to unleash your creativity and work well in a group. Primarily using the idea of Yes, and...
  4. The art of storytelling and how ​capture you're audience's attention.
  5. Becoming fascinating by creating engaging characters.
  6. Developing a strong stage presence.
  7. Overcoming fear and combining everything together. 

Plus, there's a bonus section in the back that has a transcript of an entire improv scene and shows how the concepts in the book are being applied to create that scene. It's a great example of how improv really works.

What puts this book in the number one spot are all the games and exercises you can do on your own. It's great to have ways to practice what you're learning in the book without a partner or having to go to a class. That practice will make you much more confident when you do start doing it with other people.

A final thing about this is that he goes to great lengths to describe how to apply these concepts to your life. It's not just about doing improv scenes. It's a book about how to live more fully, be in the moment, and connect with other people. ​

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#2 Impro and Impro For Storytellers.

Okay, so technically we're cheating by listing these two books together. But, if this is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Seriously, these are two excellent books on improv from one of the people who helped create many of the ideas in the field. He was teaching improv before there was improv.

Impro is filled with a great deal of intelligent, mind-expanding thought on the topics of improvisation, creativity, overcoming fear, and personal dynamics.

Improv For Storytellers is much more hands on, has lots of games and exercises (though you do need a partner or group) and contains lots of great pointers and advice to help insure your success. 

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#3 Improvisation For The Theater.

This was written by the woman who is known as the grandmother of improv. A great deal of improv has been shaped by her.  She was a brilliant woman and a good teacher. 

The book starts with a lot of great philosophy and thought on creativity and improv. Then, are dozens and dozens and dozens of improv games. Each game works on one of many skills - often several games in a row all work on the same skill in a slightly different way. 

Naturally, she had her strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, at times she's so terse in how she describes the games, it can be difficult to understand how they're supposed to work and what they point really is. 

However, her weaknesses are more than made up for in the incredible depth and value of the book. It's a must have. 

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