Humor, Seriously | Jennifer Aaker

Summary of: Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.)
By: Jennifer Aaker


Prepare to explore the transformative power of humor in business and life through Jennifer Aaker’s book, ‘Humor, Seriously.’ Drawing from their popular Stanford Graduate School of Business course, Aaker and Bagdonas demystify the art of humor, exhibiting its potential to foster personal connections, trust, and creative problem-solving. This summary unveils the science behind laughter, its impact on our brains and well-being, and its linkage with truth. Dive into an instruction manual filled with practical tips on incorporating humor into workplace communication and discover the different personalities who can bring this invaluable tool to life. Remember that humor is a skill, and with a little guidance, you can harness its potential to enhance your professional and personal interactions.

The Power of Humor

Discover the transformative powers of humor as a tool for leadership and creating positive change with the best-selling book “Humor, Seriously.” Written by Dr. Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas, who teach a popular class at Stanford Graduate School of Business, the book has gained acclaim from business leaders such as Eric Schmidt and authors like Daniel Pink. A refreshing read that challenges traditional business practices, the book shows that humor can encourage creativity and innovation, build stronger relationships, foster greater resilience, and ultimately, transform the workplace and beyond.

Unlocking the Power of Humor

Aaker and Bagdonas explore how humor can be used in the workplace to fight corporate culture blandness. They provide an instruction manual for using humor in meetings, presentations, and emails. Even a single lighthearted line can create a more receptive audience. The authors dissect what makes jokes funny and provide examples for incorporating humor into any work environment. You don’t need to be funny to harvest the power of humor; you only need to have a little fun.

The Value of Humor

A sobering fact that a four-year-old laughs 300 times a day, and a 40-year-old takes ten weeks to match that amount, is highlighted in this book by Aaker and Bagdonas. It explores the impact of humor in the workplace and how people avoid it due to the fear of being unfunny or offensive. The authors argue that losing our sense of humor has significant implications for individuals and organizations alike globally. They suggest that humor is a skill and offer guidance to improve it. Ultimately, humor creates bonds and fosters trust, which are crucial attributes that everyone can benefit from developing.

The Power of Laughter

In their book, Aaker and Bagdonas reveal that laughter triggers a release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, including dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, while reducing the stress hormone cortisol levels. This chemical reaction enhances creativity and resilience, increases blood flow, and relaxes muscle tension. The authors praise laughter as a panacea that also promotes arterial wall flexibility, potentially preventing heart disease. With its numerous benefits, it is clear that laughter is indeed powerful.

The Art of Humor

In “Truth in Comedy”, Aaker and Bagdonas argue that truth is the foundation of humor. However, misdirection and incongruity are also essential elements of great jokes. They caution against using self-deprecating humor that could harm your professional image and advise against using jargon in communication. The rule of three, listing two expected things and combining them with a surprising punchline, is a popular comedian’s trick. Deloitte’s leaders exemplify clear communication by removing jargon from their emails and presentations, making communication more credible and effective.

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