Impromptu Man


You may order your copy here or your electronic copy here .

Read Jonathan’s conversation with actor John Pankow

Listen to Jonathan’s interview about Impromptu Man:

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“Between the Encounter movement of the 1960s, military morale, humanistic psychology, Second City improv, and psychodrama training for trial lawyers, J.L.’s influence appears across domains and ‘it’s hard to exaggerate the extent to which [his] pioneering ideas have penetrated the culture’ since.”

Publishers Weekly

“An adept introduction to an innovative thinker….”

Kirkus Reviews

“For every child of a remarkable parent, this is the model of what a book honoring that life might be.”



“‘Impromptu Man’ captures the remarkable impact of a singular genius, J.L.Moreno, whose creations — ­ the best-known being psychodrama –­ have shaped our culture in myriad ways, many unrecognized.  The record will be set straight for all time by this can¹t-put-down biography, a tribute by Jonathan D. Moreno to his father¹s masterly legacy.”

–Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“…pays overdue tribute to a pioneering maverick in psychology….This intriguing book adds a new layer to the history of progressive American theatre in the 1930s and beyond.”

–Wendy Smith, author of Real Life Drama: The Group Theatre and America, 1931-1940

“A splendid account of one of the most creative social scientists of the twentieth century….This book is frank, funny, fascinating and long overdue.”

–Stanley Krippner, Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University

“A captivating memoir cum sixties cultural historyby the son of the radical but forgotten psychotherapist who planted the vibrant seeds of our social network society.”

–Sally Satel, coauthor of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

About the Book

*A famous actor and director talks to an empty chair at a national political convention

*A celebrated comedian uses role playing on her hit TV show

*A president describes “the psychodrama of the 1960s”

*A physician shows how social networks can predict obesity

*A spy agency develops graphics based on social media

Impromptu Man is the story of an unlikely combination of ideas that have helped shape our time.  Seen through the colorful personality and long career of one of the 20th century’s great innovators, the psychiatrist and psychodrama founder J.L. Moreno, this epic history takes the reader from the creative chaos of Habsburg Vienna to the wired world of Silicon Valley.  Impromptu Man is also a personal journey of discovery about the author’s father, who he only knew as an old man who watched as his profound insights were pulled apart and absorbed by the culture, ideas that have been richly vindicated in the 40 years since his death.

15 Comments on “Impromptu Man”

  1. Excited to hear of this book and looking forward to reading it and recommending it!

  2. I trained as a Psychodramatist at St. Elisabeth’s hospital in DC and went twice to Beacon to train with Dr. Moreno. I am interested in buying the book when it is available and want to know how to do that. I am delighted that more and more of his ideas are being utilized in a variety of creative therapies today.

    • JonathanMoreno says:

      Thanks so much for your message. It’s been a special pleasure of the writing process to come in contact with people who trained under JL and especially those who were in Beacon. The electronic version of the book may be pre-ordered via iBooks (I’ve pasted in the address below), but won’t be available in any form until early fall. I very much look forward to having your reactions to the book.

  3. Lara Maggs says:

    Can’t wait to pre-order the book in hard copy! I’ve really enjoyed your other books and this sounds fascinating.

  4. I look forward reading this book which seems to bring the ideas of ‘the Doctor’ to the present. In doing so we will perhaps rediscover his genius in light of present day technology. Almost 100 years ago, we got ‘The Words of the Father’; Now we will also get ‘The Words of the Son’. Wonderful!

  5. Anjuli says:

    Oh man! Can’t wait!! Looks amazing.

  6. Rumen Rachev says:

    My name is Rumen Rachev psychodrama therapist and I am from Bulgaria.
    I’m director of the
    Film “Jacob Moreno – the God of psychodrama”

    I’m sure the new book about your father will cause great interest not only to professionals in my country but also in Europe. Rushing to make a request for electronic variant of your book. If you want, we can think about a new movie to your book?

  7. Gladys Donerlson says:

    I was a caregiver to Zerka. WOW! Your father would be so proud of you! I enjoyed reading Zerka memoir therefore excited about getting a copy of Dr. J.L. Moreno memoir.

  8. David Swink says:

    J.L. Moreno was a genius whose work has been underappreciated for decades but has influenced and helped so many people. I have used his methods daily for almost 40 years and I’m so glad that Jonathan Moreno is shedding a light on his father’s contributions!

  9. Nancy Barskey says:

    A genius son writing about his father’s genius and masterful, enlightened contribution not just to psychotherapy but so much more– our very lives and institutional lives. Kudos to you Jonathan for another
    literary/intellectual/personal creation.
    As a psychotherapist I am thrilled you wrote the narrative
    Thank you

  10. Barry Spodak says:

    An engaging and enlightening history that provides a deeper understanding of how the insights and actions of J.L. Moreno played a crucial role in weaving the social fabric of today’s world.

  11. Sue Daniel says:

    Your new book “Impromptu Man” beautifully weaves the beginnings of group psychotherapy and psychodrama and other therapies and this history reveals a wonderful tapestry up until present day. This seminal work shows the development of group psychotherapy and the pathways and lines of influence psychodrama has had on other therapies, inventions and movements. Exciting!

  12. so glad I have found this now. Psychodrama changed my life in 1985 – and just now I am beginning to use the method together with my love for performance.
    My favourite quote of JL is ‘come to me the sick doctor…’ – no medical hybris!

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