These 10 Books Changed My Life

My Dad always had a book in his hand. I didn’t get it when I was a kid. But like so many other things, now that I’m older, I understand.

The key to everything is education.

During the pandemic, I doubled down on my reading (or really, “listening” – since I’m an Audible enthusiast). And so, new favorite books made a massive impact on my life – so I thought I’d share my 10 Life-Changing Books here:

  1. How To Be A No Limit Person By Wayne Dyer
  2. Influence By Robert Cialdini
  3. Mindset By Carol Dweck
  4. You are a Badass By Jenn Sincero
  5. War of Art By Steven Pressfield
  6. On Writing By Stephen King
  7. Daring Greatly By Brene Brown
  8. The 5 Second Rule By Mel Robbins
  9. White Fragility By Robin DiAngelo
  10. The Writer’s Journey By Christopher Vogler

What books have changed your life? Let me know below, I need recommendations 👇

 

 

Who I turned to when I wanted to learn this. (And how you can too.)

Last summer, in the midst of my Pandemic Productivity Phase (the other “PPP”), I vowed to finish an idea I had years ago.

And it wasn’t a show.  It was a screenplay.

I optioned the rights to a true-life story and sat down to start writing.

I have written and produced for TV and film before, just on a much smaller scale than Broadway. I actually won a screenwriting award for a pilot I wrote years ago and directed and produced an award-winning documentary and an award-winning web series.

 But a full-length screenplay?  That was new to me.

It wasn’t too long after typing the title page . . . that I realized I needed help.

And who doesn’t need help when you start something new?  Especially when you want to compete at a high level.  Olympic athletes have 27 different kinds of coaches.  Our own Broadway performers train for decades to learn to sing and dance at the highest level.

But for some reason, many people think writing is au naturel or nothing.

Not me.

That’s why I immediately drown myself in studying screenplays. From Syd Field’s classic Screenplay to the obligatory Save The Cat to Aaron Sorkin’s Masterclass and more.

And they were all good.  And they all helped.

But one stood out.

And I shouldn’t have been surprised, since it’s one of the Best Selling book on Screenwriting on Amazon.com.

Jill Chamberlain’s Nutshell Technique

Her book broke out the structure of the screenplay so simply, that . . . well . . . I had to meet her.

 I booked private coaching with her, told her about my story and what I wanted to do . . . and bam . . . she made my story better in about 30 minutes.

That’s when I knew YOU had to meet her.

So, in partnership with TheTheaterMakersStudio, I booked Jill for an exclusive private presentation just for you.

Jill herself will be teaching a virtual seminar on “The Nutshell Technique For Your Screenplay (Or Your Show!)” on Wednesday, March 10th at 7 PM.

You can sign up here.

In two hours, Jill is going to break down her best-selling beat-sheet for successful screenplays.  You’ll leave the Zoom Room with a map on how to tell your story.  If your screenplay is done . . . you’ll see where the weak points are that you need to bolster.

 But after my time with Jill, I can guarantee you this . . . your story will be better.  (And you’ll also be jazzed to get to work on it – because so much of how to shape these things will make so much more sense.)

And yeah, in case you’re wondering because a story is a story, The Nutshell Technique works for shows too.  (I already made three changes to a musical I’m working on as a result of my time with Jill.)

Book the seminar here.

The two.

I’ve never been so happy that the last month of this year is flying by so fast.

“December, already,” someone said.

“Yes,” I said.  “Abso-effin-lutely, yes.”

Because every day that passes is a day closer to the vaccine, and to Broadway’s return.  (And the news this week was that we could see some shows in June and July!)

A quickly approaching 1st of the year, means a quickly approaching gift-giving holiday.  Just last week, we posted our traditional “Top 10” gifts for the Broadway theater lover (during a pandemic!).  I got a bunch of emails asking me to narrow that list down to one.  (I guess people are busier than ever and don’t even have time for Top 10s anymore!)

So this post contains our favorite TWO broadway holiday gifts for 2020.

Why two?  Well, I always like to overdeliver.  😉

But we wanted one “fun gift” and one “self-improvement” gift.  I believe that life has to be about improving oneself, mixed in with just as much fun.

That’s why our two favorite gifts this year are . . .

(And yes, both broadway gifts are stuff that we “produce.”  Because if we didn’t believe in them enough to promote them – we never would have made them!  There’s a lesson in this for you, by the way.  If ever you feel like you wouldn’t shout about your project from the rooftops . . . do NOT do it.)

1. THE IMPROVEMENT BROADWAY GIFT:  Cast of Mentors:  Short Sage Advice from 50 Broadway Superpowers.

This is my brand new book featuring excerpts from some of the smartest and most creative people on Broadway.  Everyone needs at least one mentor.  Now you have 50.  It’s the perfect gift because it doesn’t require reading it from front to back.  Let it sit on a desk or on a shelf and pick it up from time to time.  Let the words of these talented TheaterMakers inspire you to make more theater.  I know they’ve inspired me.  This book is for anyone who wants to make theater (actor, director, playwright, etc.) or anyone who wants to appreciate the process of making it (fan, investor, etc.)  Get it here.

2. THE FUN BROADWAY GIFT:  Be A Broadway Star Board Game

The classic is back!  Our Be A Broadway Star board game is one of the best selling Broadway gifts on Amazon.com.  And has been for almost ten years!  And it’s perfect for the Broadway family that can’t go see a Broadway show.  It’s a little charades and a little Life, with a dash of “celebrity” for an extra dose of fun.  It’s also a no-brainer gift for anyone who loves theater.  The young folks love it.  Put it this way.  If you have a kid who is on TikTok, get them this game.  Huge points.  And 210 rave reviews can’t be wrong.  Get it here.  And have a Broadway blast while you’re stuck inside this holiday season.  (Do get yours quick – demand has already shot up this year as I’m sure you can imagine.  We will sell out.)

The clock is tickin’ on this damn Covid.  These two gifts will help pass the time even faster.  Until, soon enough, it’ll be “Places, please!”

 

It wasn’t right.

The first copy was too big.

The second was too blurry.

The third copy was juuuuuussssst right.

And so went the Goldilocks-like journey of publishing my new book, CAST OF MENTORS:  SHORT SAGE ADVICE FROM 50 BROADWAY SUPERPOWERS.

You can order the “just right” version right here, just in time for the holidays.

One thing I do guarantee . . . the advice in this book, from A-listers like Terrence McNally, Joe Mantello, Mandy Gonzalez, Kenny Leon, Pasek & Paul, and so on is “juuuuuust perfect.”

There’s an answer in this book for every question a TheaterMaker might have, from a college student with a BA in theater graduating in the middle of a pandemic, to a professional producer with awards on his mantle who is still looking for his West Side Story (ok, ok, that might be me.)

Oh, and the hardcover version looks cool on a coffee table.

Get it here.  If it doesn’t help you, let me know.  We’ll give your money back to you.  And you don’t even have to return the book . . . you just have to give it to another TheaterMaker.  Because I know the words of these Mentors will inspire the right people to do great things . . . on and off the stage.

Get CAST OF MENTORS here.

Need some advice about the arts or anything? 50 Mentors in ONE book.

Confession time.
 
When I started my podcast over five years and two hundred (!) interviews ago, I told all the A-listers I interviewed that I was doing it for my listeners.
 
“They need your advice,” I said, “Your motivation, your mentorship. They want to hear your stories of success, so they can model their journey after yours.”
 
That was a fib.
 
In truth? I wanted to hear how these icons overcame obstacles, for me, as much as anyone else.
 
The good news?
 
I got away with the half-truth – because the interviews helped listeners AND me. Double-fecta.
 
And something interesting happened.
 
Over the years, I found myself listening to some of these podcasts again. Sometimes three times. I often used the most powerful quotes as #MyMorningWhiteBoardQuote on my Instagram.
 
And when faced with difficult decisions on my shows (and in my life), I often called up the wisdom of these A-listeners to help me make the right choice.
 
These hundreds of people became my mentors, whether they knew it or not.
 
And now, they are yours.
 
Here’s how . . .
 
Because I found elements of these conversations so valuable, I went back to Podcast Interview #1 ,and re-read every every single transcript.
 
Then I culled the BEST takeaways, action items, quotes and inspirational insights from 50 of those interviews and put them into a book entitled . . . Cast of Mentors. (Yes, an homage to a similar volume by Tim Ferris that I found so helpful in my entrepreneurial endeavors as well as the “Directors on Directing” and “Producers on Producing” books I loved when I was coming up.)
 
Inside the book, you’ll find a couple of pages per mentor, with key questions and answers about how to make better theater – that you can read in 5 minutes. Yep, I designed the book for you to read in bites. Got five minutes before a Zoom meeting starts? Read tips on directing from Kenny Leon. Or songwriting from Bobby Lopez. Or producing from Daryl Roth. Or life from Ali Stroker. Or . . . on and on and on. Because there are 50 of ’em in this volume alone. (See the full list of mentors below).
 
Want to see what the inside of the book looks like? Click here to read advice from multiple Tony Award winning Directors and Choreographers. (And when you are done – feel how you want to turn the page and read another one!)
 
The book, Cast of Mentors: Short Sage Advice From 50 Broadway Superpowers is available for pre-order NOW Click here to be first in line to get it (release date is November 19th – in time to grab as a holiday gift for the TheaterMaker in your life.)
 
Oh, and we made it a fancy hardcover. Because the advice in the book is worth it. I know you’ll find yourself consulting it over and over.
 
Grab Cast Of Mentors here.
 
And a huge thanks to the following 50 mentors for being a part of Volume I. (Yep – there will be a second one!)
Rick Miramontez
Charlotte St. Martin
Nina Lannan
Terrence McNally
Jordan Roth
Tim Rice
Ben Brantley
Michael Arden
Casey Nicholaw
David Henry Hwang
Ted Chapin
Susan Stroman
Daryl Roth
Joe Mantello
Stephen Schwartz
Lynn Ahrens
Diane Paulus
Jeanine Tesori
Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Robert Lopez
Leigh Silverman
Stephen Byrd
Bartlett Sher
Sue Frost & Randy Adams
Tara Rubin
Rick Elice
Lynne Meadow
David Stone
Kenny Leon
Stacey Mindich
Kathleen Marshall
Eva Price
Kwame Kwei-Armah
Pam MacKinnon
Sergio Trujillo
Lisa Kron
Rebecca Taichman
John Weidman
Joe Iconis
Michael Greif
Kirsten Childs
Dominique Morisseau
Ali Stroker
Mara Isaacs
Alan Cumming
Asmeret Ghebremichael
Jamil Jude
Mandy Gonzalez
Robyn Goodman
Paul Tazewell
Get the advice on how you can achieve your theatrical aspirations from all these mentors here.
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