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Reviewed by Randy B. Lichtman for Readers' Favorite
Improvisation theater techniques can be very valuable in training professionals on how to become more effective in their regular business roles. Improvisation through “Second City” and the television show, “Whose Line is It Anyway?” are enjoyed by so many and the subject of using it as a training tool is very well highlighted throughout Fun at Work by Lauren Stein. In turning her Master’s thesis into a published book, she takes readers through the process of teaching business professionals to improve their personal and professional functioning. In addition, we learn about the history of improvisational theater and the use of techniques in business and therapy as well. The premise of improving mental health through expanding yourself via improvisational theater techniques is well demonstrated throughout the book.
As a business person who has had experience in improvisational theater, I looked forward to reading and reviewing Ms. Stein’s book from a business perspective. The volume is very detailed as the author takes us through each session and also discusses the journaling activity where participants reflected their thoughts and progress. The book is more focused on the training practitioner as reader than executive as it goes into major detail of each of the games, how they were used, reactions by the participants, and lessons ultimately learned from the project. I applaud the author in her decision to concentrate on “long form” as opposed to “short form” improvisation which makes sense as it can focus less on trying to get the punch line than creating a personal scenario--where people can focus on exploring actual feelings rather than on performing for entertainment. Fun at Work by Lauren Stein is a very interesting book that shows the value of taking people outside the box to increase their perspectives.