Beginning with his 1960 Grammy-winning album, The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart, the comedian's 46-year career has included nightclub standup, TV series (The Bob Newhart Show), animation voices (The Simpsons), feature films (Catch-22, Elf)-and now his first book. At age 77, Newhart is clearly in his anecdotage, with mirthful memories of his successes and failures. Treating the reader almost as a personal friend, Newhart covers everything in this guided tour through his button-down brain, from his 43-year marriage and fear of flying to fatherhood, Vegas, sitcoms, golf and assorted antics with celebrity pals. Aware that digression is the better part of valor, he interrupts the low-key autobiographical flow with amusing asides, and this rambling look at "the absurdist side of life" is just as effective in print as on TV, adding depth and dimension to the familiar image of Newhart as a frustrated, flawed everyman. In the tradition of Max Eastman's Enjoyment of Laughter (1936) and Steve Allen's The Funny Men (1956), he analyzes and compares comedy styles. The hilarity is heightened as he reveals how he created his best satirical sketches. Influenced by H. Allen Smith, Robert Benchley, James Thurber and Max Shulman, Newhart himself has now joined that lofty pantheon. (Sept. 19) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.