Serious Business

A Stanford Graduate School of Business Course

YOU, oh fearless leader of the future (and maybe present),
are very important.

You will go on to make critical and far-reaching economic, political, and social decisions in your quest to change lives, organizations, and the world. That’s serious stuff.

So, why humor? The late journalist Eric Sevareid said “Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.” Our goal is to pin you down and not let you leave Stanford without a healthy dose of humanity, humility, and intellectual perspective that only humor can bring.

This class is about the power (and importance) of humor to make and scale positive change in the world, and also – surprise! – to achieve business objectives, build more effective and innovative organizations, cultivate stronger bonds, and capture more lasting memories.  You’ll learn why humor is one of the greatest competitive advantages in business (and life), why it’s underutilized, and how YOU can use more of it, better.  More better.  Welcome to your (re)introduction to humor.


Discover : Rediscover levity in your stories and life; understand your unique humor style and the styles of others.

Play : Apply techniques from comedians and play with incorporating levity into otherwise unfunny moments.

Lead : Embed humor into your leadership style; understand the nuance this as your status shifts across roles and contexts.

Activate : Activate humor, using it to create cultures of levity in teams, organizations and in the world.


MKTG 346 | Stanford GSB | Spring 2024 

  • Dates: Tuesdays, 04/09/24 – 05/28/24
  • Times: 2:50pm – 5:50pm & 6:00pm – 9:30pm
  • Location: See syllabus

2023 Highlights

Read More

Insights by Stanford Business

July 11, 2017