Born Standing Up

Monday, February 18, 2008 | 06:00 PM
in Books

Born_standing_upQuite regularly, this blog references many of the books we enjoy. Since our focus here is markets based economic discussion, we tend to stick to equity, economic, and psychology -related works.

But every now and then, we find a book unrelated to our professional pursuits that's quite worthy of discussion. Steve Martin's Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life is just such a work.

I started reading it after thoroughly enjoying a long excerpt posted online. That led me to buy the actual hard coverbook.

This weekend, I've been very pleasantly surprised by it. And not just because I plowed through the first half of it so quickly.

If you know Steve Martin, you know he is (obviously) funny. That sensibility is clearly reflected in the book. What I found so impressive was how beautifully the book was written. The prose is clean, and at times quite lovely. He's a playwright who's written serious works. I simply had no idea what a careful and creative author he is.

If you are looking for an enjoyable airplane/beach/hammock read, I highly recommend this.

Note: That extensive excerpt can be found in the February 2008 edition of Smithsonian Magazine; it will give you a flavor of his style and content.

Book Reviews

"Absolutely magnificent. One of the best books about comedy and being a comedian ever written."   --Jerry Seinfeld, GQ

"The writing is evocative, unflinching and cool. When Martin takes a scalpel to his life, what you feel is the precision of the surgeon more than the primal scream of the unanaesthetized patient...Born Standing Up is neither fanfare nor confession. It gives off a vibe of rigorous honesty. With lots of laughs."   --Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

"A spare, unexpectedly resonant remembrance of things past…Martin's one true subject is the evolution of his comedy--the transcendent moments...A smart, gentlemanly, modest book…winning."    --Jeff Giles, Entertainment Weekly, EW Pick: A

"The archetypical story of the underdog's rise and a particularly American story...beautifully written, honest, engaging, and quietly brave." --Frederic Tuten, Bomb Magazine



Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Steve Martin
Scribner (November 20, 2007)

Steve Martin Home page

The Man in Front of the Curtain
(Steve Martin's Johnny Carson Letter)

Being Funny
How the pathbreaking comedian got his act together
Steve Martin
Smithsonian magazine, February 2008


Monday, February 18, 2008 | 06:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



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That's definitely one that is on my list to check out, Barry. Glad to hear that you're enjoying it.

I just started reading What is the What by Dave Eggers and am already about a quarter of the way through it. It is the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese immigrant who had to flee Sudan as a child. Deng wanted to tell his story to a wider audience, but didn't trust his skills as a writer, so he worked with Eggers and the finished work is a fictional work based on Deng's memories. It's really engrossing so far.

Posted by: Florida | Feb 18, 2008 6:14:24 PM

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