29 books like Born Standing Up

By Steve Martin,

Here are 29 books that Born Standing Up fans have personally recommended if you like Born Standing Up. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Obstacle Is the Way

Joshua Womack Author Of You are not that funny: Stories from Cleveland Stand-Up

From my list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

The reason I’m so fascinated by stand-up and books on writing is because I have done both. For a brief time I was a comedian, and the lessons in creativity and writing I learned along the way helped me find the career of copywriting. I’m passionate about learning how great writers write, and more importantly, keep writing, even when they don’t feel like it. I like to be inspired with lessons I can bring with me to every Word doc I open up.

Joshua's book list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing

Joshua Womack Why did Joshua love this book?

Ryan Holiday, like Steven Pressfield, is a no-nonsense writer whose words inspire you to start that project you’ve been putting off.

Already started it but running into some, well, obstacles? Holiday describes in his book how obstacles are a good thing and inspires us to look for creative solutions. This book made me reframe how I look at challenges, both personally and professionally.

By Ryan Holiday,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Obstacle Is the Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We give up too easily. With a simple change of attitude, what seem like insurmountable obstacles become once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Ryan Holiday, who dropped out of college at nineteen to serve as an apprentice to bestselling 'modern Machiavelli' Robert Greene and is now a media consultant for billion-dollar brands, draws on the philosophy of the Stoics to guide you in every situation, showing that what blocks our path actually opens one that is new and better.

If the competition threatens you, it's time to be fearless, to display your courage. An impossible deadline becomes a chance to show how dedicated you…


Book cover of Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative

Peggy Dean Author Of Mindful Sketching: How to Develop a Drawing Practice and Embrace the Art of Imperfection

From my list on creative books for the wildly imperfect artist.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey into art began as a serendipitous discovery that unfolded through curiosity. As a “can’t-be-tamed” creative, I understand the tug-of-war artists feel – craving to learn skills and create “quality” pieces, while also thumbing the snooze-fest of sticking to one thing. Been there, done that, got the paint-splattered t-shirt. This has ignited a passion for encouraging others to find their own creative voice, as I've navigated the same path while building a multifaceted career in watercolor, gouache, line drawing, urban sketching, brush lettering, and calligraphy…need I go on? The thing is, I will because there is still so much to be explored.

Peggy's book list on creative books for the wildly imperfect artist

Peggy Dean Why did Peggy love this book?

I can't recommend this book highly enough, and here's why: it completely shattered my misconceptions about originality in the creative process. Kleon's candid and approachable narrative made me realize that all art is, in some form, a reinterpretation or recombination of what already exists.

This book came into my life at a pivotal moment, just when I was grappling with the dreaded "impostor syndrome" and the paralyzing belief that everything I created needed to be unprecedented. Kleon's perspective is liberating. He argues that embracing influences and integrating them into your work is not only acceptable but essential for creativity. 

By Austin Kleon,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Steal Like an Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When asked to talk to students at Broome Community College in upstate New York in the spring of 2011, Austin Kleon wrote a simple list often things he wished he'd heard when he was their age: 'Steal like an artist; Don't wait until you know who you are to start making things; Write the book you want to read; Use your hands; Side projects are important; Do good work and put it where people can see it; Geography is no longer our master; Be nice (the world is a small town.); Be boring (it's the only way to get work…


Book cover of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Dr. Caroline Brookfield Author Of The Reluctant Creative: 5 Effortless Habits to Expand Your Comfort Zone

From my list on trying new things even if you are scared.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was driven to become a veterinarian for as long as I could remember. Then, in high school, I developed a love of performance. I felt stuck. Should I choose art or science? I chose science, and despite a great career, I felt like something was missing. When I reconnected with my creativity through stand-up comedy, entrepreneurship and other non-artistic creative outlets, I found out what I had been missing. Why do we drop creativity for science? It was a common story. I dove into the research on creativity, and was blown away by how a bit of creativity can make us happier, more resilient, and make workplaces more effective.

Dr.'s book list on trying new things even if you are scared

Dr. Caroline Brookfield Why did Dr. love this book?

As I read this book, I felt like the author was looking into my soul. I loved the short, punchy observations and challenges to anyone seeking to share their creativity. The Resistance is a force universal to everyone who is trying to share a little piece of themselves, and I love the way that it is broken down in this book.

I realized that when I could see what was holding me back from expressing myself, I was able to find strategies to mitigate that fear. This book was instrumental in my ability to express myself as an author and speaker. 

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The War of Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide forsucceeding in any creative sphere, The War ofArt is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.

What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid theroadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dreambusiness venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?

Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy thatevery one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer thisinternal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve…


Book cover of Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work

Joshua Womack Author Of You are not that funny: Stories from Cleveland Stand-Up

From my list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

The reason I’m so fascinated by stand-up and books on writing is because I have done both. For a brief time I was a comedian, and the lessons in creativity and writing I learned along the way helped me find the career of copywriting. I’m passionate about learning how great writers write, and more importantly, keep writing, even when they don’t feel like it. I like to be inspired with lessons I can bring with me to every Word doc I open up.

Joshua's book list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing

Joshua Womack Why did Joshua love this book?

This book reinforces the notion to be brave enough to suck at something new.

We’re all experts in something, but chances are we can learn even more… even if we struggle at first. A really good message for those looking to shake things up in their career. “When we take a step down to gain momentum for the upward surge, for a time we will know less than those around us. This can deal a blow to the ego.”

The message? Don’t let your ego get in the way of learning!

By Whitney Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Disrupt Yourself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thinkers50 Management Thinker of 2015 Whitney Johnson wants you to consider this simple, yet powerful, idea: disruptive companies and ideas upend markets by doing something truly different--they see a need, an empty space waiting to be filled, and they dare to create something for which a market may not yet exist. As president and cofounder of Rose Park Advisors' Disruptive Innovation Fund with Clayton Christensen, Johnson used the theory of disruptive innovation to invest in publicly traded stocks and private early-stage companies. In Disrupt Yourself, she helps you understand how the frameworks of disruptive innovation can apply to your particular…


Book cover of The Basketball Diaries: The Classic about Growing Up Hip on New York's Mean Streets

Andrew Mann Author Of Such Unfortunates

From my list on stories so powerful you have to read them twice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have expertise and a passion for this topic because I suffered from a terrible addiction to drugs for many years and was considered a hopeless case. If I can beat my addiction then anyone can!

Andrew's book list on stories so powerful you have to read them twice

Andrew Mann Why did Andrew love this book?

This was another true story of someone who suffered a terrible addiction and was able to overcome it. I liked it because Jim was a regular guy and not a celebrity sharing his life story as so many of these book are. It was one of the first books that gave me inspiration to write a book. It also became a movie where Leonardo DeCaprio played Jim Carrol.

By Jim Carroll,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Basketball Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The urban classic coming-of-age story about sex, drugs, and basketball

Jim Carroll grew up to become a renowned poet and punk rocker. But in this memoir of the mid-1960s, set during his coming-of-age from 12 to 15, he was a rebellious teenager making a place and a name for himself on the unforgiving streets of New York City. During these years, he chronicled his experiences, and the result is a diary of unparalleled candor that conveys his alternately hilarious and terrifying teenage existence. Here is Carroll prowling New York City--playing basketball, hustling, stealing, getting high, getting hooked, and searching for…


Book cover of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Lynn Alsup Author Of Tinderbox: One Family's Story of Adoption, Neurodiversity, and Fierce Love

From my list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young social worker, I left the world I knew and moved into violent urban centers and traveled the developing world. The suffering and beauty entranced me. Questions reverberated in me: What does it mean to be part of the vast human community? How can I live most fully? When I adopted children, violence and difference confronted me not “out there” but at home. I wrestled, shocked by my own judgment and narrowness—until I accepted in my bones the myriad ways to live a remarkable life. Curiosity became my superpower. Tinderbox, my unflinching memoir, invites readers into my family’s brutal and beautiful transformation through embracing neurodiversity. 

Lynn's book list on memoirs that crack open a brutal and beautiful world

Lynn Alsup Why did Lynn love this book?

Angelou’s words sat me in a comfy chair as if in a favorite movie theater as the lights dimmed.

The world unrolling before me enveloped me from the red dirt of Arkansas in the 1930s all the way to the California sun. Her prose read like poetry and led me into each space she inhabited, including the ones in her mind. She slowed down the moment and let me ponder—no sideways judgments or explanations.

Her experience of childhood sexual assault ripped through me as my own had. She didn’t shy away from the horrors or beauty of life as a young Black woman finding her place in the world but projected them onto the screen in my mind. They’ve lingered there a long time.

By Maya Angelou,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maya Angelou's seven volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy,achievement and celebration. In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover.


Book cover of Tad Lucas: Trick-Riding Rodeo Cowgirl

Doris Fisher Author Of Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster

From my list on cowboys and rodeos.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and have always been fascinated by the Wild West. Native Americans, cowboys, rodeos, settlers, farmers, and the great National Parks of the West. I’ve been fortunate to see Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park, and many western national monuments. My first elementary school was Sequoyah, named for the great Cherokee who created the Cherokee alphabet. While researching early library methods of transportation, I came across books being delivered by stagecoach in the west. That eventually led me to discover the amazing life of Jackson Sundown. I hope these books on cowboys, buckaroos, and rodeos enchant you and your little ones like they have me.

Doris' book list on cowboys and rodeos

Doris Fisher Why did Doris love this book?

Tad Lucas was an amazing cowgirl! Born in Texas, she amazed crowds at rodeos all over the world for more than 40 years. She was known for trick riding, bronco riding, and steer riding. She is the only woman honored in the National Rodeo Hall of Fame. Her daring horse riding was astonishing in the rodeo world of men and cowboys.

By Laura Edge, Stephanie Ford (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tad Lucas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A different take on women’s prowess and accomplishments that equine lovers will find appealing.” —Kirkus[green]

Texan Tad Lucas traveled the world dazzling rodeo crowds with her daring trick riding, bronc riding, and steer riding. She competed for more than 40 years and is the only woman honored by the National Rodeo Hall of Fame, the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. In her will, she established the Tad Lucas Memorial Award to honor women who excel in any field related to Western heritage. Illustrations from cowgirl and Western artist Stephanie Ford accompany the text…


Book cover of Lulu the Broadway Mouse

Mark A. Robinson Author Of The Magical Mice of Broadway

From my list on theatre written for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime arts educator who has worked predominantly with kids ages 3 to 12, I initially set out to find books that could inspire them about theatre. For many years I have searched for the perfect books that achieve this and have used all of these books in my teaching.

Mark's book list on theatre written for children

Mark A. Robinson Why did Mark love this book?

For slightly older kids in the 8-12 age range, this chapter book (one in The Broadway Mouse series) follows a little mouse named Lulu with big dreams of starring on Broadway. This book will inspire young people to further investigate the magic of theatre.

By Jenna Gavigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lulu the Broadway Mouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Lulu is a little girl with a very big dream: she wants to be on Broadway. She wants it more than anything in the world. As it happens, she lives in Broadway's Shubert Theatre; so achieving her dream shouldn't be too tricky, right? Wrong. Because the thing about Lulu? She's a little girl mouse.

When a human girl named Jayne joins the cast of the show at the Shubert as an understudy, Lulu becomes Jayne's guide through the world of her theatre and its wonderfully kooky cast and crew. Together, Jayne and Lulu learn that sometimes dreams turn out differently…


Book cover of City of Girls

Heather Hach Author Of The Trouble with Drowning

From my list on a nod to Broadway.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer, forever tap-tap-tapping away on my computer, looking to create that lyrical rhythm on the page that I feel in my heart. I’m also usually singing, whether it’s made up ditties to my dogs, 80s indie pop, or Broadway showtimes. Bottom line, I’m a storyteller, and nothing thrills me as much as a great tale well told, either on the page, on the stage, or around a table. Here are a few stories I’ve loved along the way that include a nod to Broadway, another love of mine long before I was hired to write the book for Legally Blonde the Musical.

Heather's book list on a nod to Broadway

Heather Hach Why did Heather love this book?

This book was like a big piece of literary chocolate cake. It was a blast from start to finish, set in the 1940s theater world of New York.

Ninety-five-year-old Vivian recounts her time in the theater, looking back on all the pleasure and pain of youth. The theater itself is another character within the novel, and like Broadway itself, the book is littered with eccentrics and phenomenal characters. An absolute jewel.

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked City of Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.

"A spellbinding novel about love, freedom, and finding your own happiness." - PopSugar

"Intimate and richly sensual, razzle-dazzle with a hint of danger." -USA Today

"Pairs well with a cocktail...or two." -TheSkimm

"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or…


Book cover of Untrue Stories of Fiction

Bob Eckstein Author Of The Elements of Stress and the Pursuit of Happy-Ish in This Current Sh*tstorm

From my list on make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love comedy and have made it my living my whole life as a columnist and writer for every major humor site and publication including MAD, SPY, American Bystander, Playboy, McSweeney’s, The Village Voice and worked with the funniest humorists in the world. My cartoons have appeared around the world as well as The New Yorker. I’ve appeared in over 100 TV and radio appearances speaking on the subject of humor.

Bob's book list on make you laugh

Bob Eckstein Why did Bob love this book?

This is the guy who wrote Deeper Thoughts and some of the best sketches on Saturday Night Live. He is a regular in The New Yorker and American Bystander and one of our generation’s finest humorists. This collection I feel is his best yet. I read a passage before I go to sleep to deal with this crazy world.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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