If you're a human being, you've probably heard of Steve Martin, the famous actor, star of such movies as the Pink Panther and Cheaper by the Dozen. Despite being in these horrid excuses for cinema, Martin is an incredibly talented individual, who made his living as a comedian in the 60's and 70's. At the height of his career, he was the most famous comedian in America. But before that, Martin was a magician, working in Disneyland at the magic store, and performing tricks on stage. "Born Standing Up," is an autobiography that chronicles Martin's rise to the top. It is exceedingly well-written, funny, and informative. Martin's stories of learning to perform are incredibly pertinent to any performer trying to create an original act. In one chapter, Martin discusses the influence of magic on his life and how it shaped him into the performer he became. Here's what I have to say (the bottom line, if you will). There are plenty of books available on performance theory, how to perform, what to say, how to become a consummate professional, etc. But this book is better (much better) because instead of outlining specific instructions for "success," it details how to become a performer in one's own right. It is a book of example, rather than one didactic in nature. It provides insight on just how little any of us know (in stark contrast to what we think we know) about being performers. Plus it's a good read, if nothing else. If you only ever read one book on performance theory, let it be this one.