Shtick to Business

Peter McGraw

What do comedians know about killing it in business? Just ask a behavioral economist who teaches MBAs by day and decodes comedy by night. Dr. Peter McGraw—a business school professor, professional speaker, and founder of the Humor Research Lab (aka HuRL)—translates the genius and madness of the world’s funniest people into powerful prescriptions for professional success.

Drawing on cutting-edge research, case studies, and his own comedy successes (and failures), Peter reveals surprising business lessons from the masters of comedy:

  • What Bill Murray and Groucho Marx know about career management.
  • Why Dave Chappelle and Joan Rivers are a blueprint for brand building.
  • What Tina Fey and Amy Poehler can teach you about leadership and teamwork.
  • How Jerry Seinfeld’s daily rituals made him the wealthiest comic alive.

The insights in Shtick to Business will help you improve innovation and outsmart the competition. You’ll build new skills—enhanced creativity, better decision-making, and a marketing mindset—to launch a business, tackle tough management problems, and build a serious career. And you’ll never have to tell a joke.

Press & Praise

Rory Sutherland, vice chairman, Ogilvy

"David Ogilvy once said, "The best ideas come as jokes. Try to make your thinking as funny as possible." Every ruler needs a court jester. Humour is anything but silly: it is an evolved and highly sophisticated evolutionary mechanism which allows brains momentarily to sidestep conventional hierarchies or assumptions in a way which would be impossible in a wholly serious (or automated) world. In today's over-earnest business culture, where it often pays to present oneself as being as Teutonically rational as possible, it is easy to disregard these momentary logical lapses. But, as Peter McGraw explains, we should often cherish them instead."

Neal Brennan, comedian and co-creator of Chappelle's Show

"When I read the quote about me in this book, "Neal lacks the warmth that helps an audience connect to a stand-up comedian," you can imagine my excitement about endorsing it. I do endorse it. Not warmly. You know how I am."

Jimmy Carr, comedian and man who owes the author money

"Shtick to Business takes insights from the world's funniest people to show you all you need to know about business. Great comedians are constantly selling themselves, improving their product based on customer feedback, and differentiating themselves from the competition. Who cares if they sleep until noon and drink too much? Let successful comedians show you their secrets to success."

Peter McGraw

Dr. Peter McGraw is a behavioral economist and global expert in the scientific study of humor. He directs The Humor Research Lab (HuRL), hosts the podcast I’M NOT JOKING, and is the co-author of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny. Peter’s work has been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, NPR, and CNN. He’s a sought-after speaker and professor who teaches MBA courses at the University of Colorado Boulder, University of California San Diego, and London Business School. A TV show based on his life is currently in development.

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