A Few Of My Favorite Things . . . To Read!


I’ve gotten a few emails from readers asking if I have recommendations of books to read for people
getting into Producing.

And, surprise, surprise, I do!

Here’s my “Must Read” list, in no particular order.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big believer in the pot-luck kind of Producer.  Don’t specialize in one thing.  Learn a bit of everything, and develop your own style.  It’s kind of like acting.  Don’t learn one “Method”. Study Strasberg, Adler, Meisner, etc. and then make your own method.

The books recommended below, in no particular order, cover a wide variety of areas from marketing to writing to contracts.  Enjoy!

1.  Purple Cow by Seth Godin

My favorite blog.  My favorite book. Learn how to sell and how to develop product in today’s competitive market.

2.  Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

Remember how I hate marketing?  This is all about the science of selling.  Brilliant.  And scary.  Wait until
you read about how commercial airline disasters increase after highly publicized suicides.

3.  Producing Theatre by Donald C. Farber

A chestnut.  A bit outdated, but a good resource to have on your shelf when you need a refresher in the mechanics of a royalty pool, or how profits are distributed after recoupment.

4.  The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Don’t think there’s a blueprint for story telling? Think again. Using Joseph Cambell’s Hero theory, Vogler shows you how modern story telling is very similar to ancient myths . . . and why it has to be.  Often used for screenplays, I think it’s even more suited for structuring musicals (since musicals, like myths, are heightened forms of reality).

5.  The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

A new chestnut.  And probably the most important book on what spreads ideas (word of mouth – our most important tool) ever written.  Ever.

6.  The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Why concentrating on niche marketing and “doing it yourself” is the way to go in the age of the internet.

7.  Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

After you read the other marketing books, read this one.  Fun, more specific, and the cover is cool.

8.  Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

A reminder that studying data is the way to solve almost all of our problems, from cheating teachers to the drug epidemic.  It makes solving a Broadway budget problem look like opening a lemonade stand.

9.  The Bible, The Secret, Anthony Robbins Awaken The Giant Within, Fortune Cookies, etc.

You need incredibly amounts of faith and confidence to do what we do. Get it wherever you can.

10.  Insert your favorite here.

Got one that helps you?  Comments are open, so feel free to share!  We could all use something else to read while waiting for the 1 train during rush hour.

  • Kevin McGowan says:

    I’ve been reading “The Commercial Theater Institute Guide to Producing Plays and Musicals” edited by Frederic Vogel and Ben Hodges. It’s a collection of first-hand accounts from people within the theater community. Some of the accounts are better than others, but it gives a good overview of the steps in the producing process.

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