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About the Course


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

You will make critical and far-reaching economic, political, and social decisions in your quest beyond Stanford to change lives, change organizations, and change 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. Throughout the course, we will explore various aspects of humor creation, reveal insight into what makes people laugh, practice engaging – and leading with – a mindset of levity, and provide tools to harness humor safely and effectively in a professional context.

Because in today's world more than ever, humor is serious business.

Class Goals

• Discover your own humor style and the styles of others, as well as understand strategic uses of humor in business

• Learn techniques for crafting your funny, and experiment with different humor mediums

• Understand how to make humor a cultural and organizational practice, as well as how to embed humor into your leadership style

• Leave with tools to reinforce and amplify cultures of levity

Class Schedule

• Dates of Class: Mondays,  April 10 - June 5

• Time: 3:00 - 5:50 pm

• Location: GSB CoLab (classroom M101) in the GSB Knight Management Center

• Lead Humor TAs: Madilyn Ontiveros ( ) and Grace Isford ( )

• Questions? Email Karina Longinidis ( )


Jennifer Aaker

General Atlantic Professor of Marketing, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Jennifer Aaker is a behavioral psychologist, author and the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Her research focuses on time, money, and happiness. Unanimously voted the least funny person in her family, Jennifer is definitely not teaching this class out of spite.

Naomi Bagdonas

Lecturer in Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Naomi designs and facilities immersive workshops for groups of executives in Deloitte’s Greenhouse.  She has trained at Upright Citizens Brigade and BATS, worked at IDEO, and has been making SNL-inspired shorts in her living room since before she could lift the VHS recorder.  She has since built muscle mass.