Years ago, Jenna Fischer wrote a great post on her MySpace page detailing her advice for aspiring actors. It was the best thing I'd ever read on the topic; I immediately sent it to several friends and still have a copy saved on my phone today. The roots of The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide are clearly in that original post, but this book is so much more.
Part memoir, part how-to-guide, Jenna walks you through her journey from Midwest dreamer to working actor, not shying away from the ups-and-(many) downs in the life of an aspiring artist. She's honest about her struggles and mistakes, as well as the smart decisions she made that helped her take advantage of the career opportunities that eventually appeared. Her advice for new actors starting out today was clearly well-researched and not just based on her own experiences trying to make it before she was cast as Pam in The Office.
Besides Jenna herself, the stars are Molly Shannon and Topher Grace, both of whom went out of their way to encourage and inspire her in the early years of her career when she needed it the most. That same encouragement and inspiration is what Jenna has given everyone who reads this book, but she goes beyond that with real, actionable advice that makes the dream of becoming an actor actually feel possible.
That's the true gift of The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide. And I couldn't recommend it more highly.