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Just Kidding: Using Humor Effectively

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For professional comedians, their primary goal is to make people laugh. For everyone else humor can be the envelope in which another message is sent and therefore will be received with pleasure. This book is designed precisely to help you make your own efforts at humor more effective in achieving the primary goals of your interaction: to solidify friendships, preserve a marriage, obtain employment, close sales, conduct therapy, defuse conflict, or simply enjoy life more.

Humor is a quality nearly all of us claim in ourselves and one which we seek and highly value in others.We love a sense of humor in our dates and mates, our children, and everyone with whom we have social contacts.When humor making is successful, we are drawn closer to other people and share a bonding emotional experience.We enjoy life more and our troubles seem to lessen instantly.

There are many proven ways to enhance our senses of humor in ourselves and even our children. Humor making can be taught and developed to a very high level, thus increasing our chances for social and even economic success.

Just Kidding: Using Humor Effectively is for adults who enjoy humor and who would like to be funnier. It includes definitions of funniness and examples of both helpful and harmful humor. It describes the relevant comedic and psychological rules for making humor effective. The book points out the danger signs for offensive humor and how to make the decision to “say it or stuff it.” Examples of successful and unsuccessful humor from comedians to politicians are used throughout to illustrate the many varieties of humor and how context and audience make a difference. Finally, a variety of fun exercises are offered to build the skills for effective humor making.

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Editorial Reviews

Allen Klein
“If you want to get more laughter in your life (and who doesn’t?) then this book is for you.Not only does the author provide a book that is filled with sound suggestions for improvingyour humor skills, but he also makes sure they are memorable by peppering them withenjoyable, lighthearted, and laughable examples. Just Kidding is a must read for anyonewanting to expand their sense of humor . . . and I’m not kidding.”
Willibald Ruch
“Good news: Research shows that humor can be trained. Louis Franzinis's latest book Just Kidding: Using Humor Effectively is entertaining to read and based on research; it will help amateurs who want to incorporate more humor into their daily lives more successfully.”
Steve Wilson
“We can start at any time in life to improve our sense of humor. Lou Franzini is a funny person, a funny man, a funny father, a funny friend and a funny psychologist, which you will understand from reading his advice about using humor effectively. Here he blends just the right amount of analysis for the left side of our brains with humor for the right side of our brains, cautions for the grown-up side of us, silliness for the kid in us, and encouragement to risk being more ‘in humor’ for our souls.”
Karyn Buxman
"Whether you're in the boardroom or the bedroom, Just Kidding is a must read. Lou Franzini combines his expertise and his wit to show us that humor can truly be life-changing. Entertaining yet practical, Just Kidding is a book that you will not be able to put down (really—I tried), and is destined to become a classic in our field."
Franzini (emer., psychology, San Diego State Univ.) attempts to show how to use humor in interactions at home, at work, and at play. The suggested readings include most of the how-to-be-funny books available. Franzini's style is charming and conversational, which permits the presentation of plenty of material that, though amusing, should not be used with casual acquaintances. Indeed, most of the instruction warns what not to do and thus avoid the irritation requiring 'just kidding.' Political incorrectness is thoroughly defined by example and the importance of knowing one's audience emphasized. As for improving skill, the strategy is to pay attention to what is amusing and practice with friends who have the same goal. The author supports his arguments with empirical evidence, not the case with most instructional books in the field. . . . This book is a valuable presentation of the importance of humor in everyday life. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.
The Humorous Times
Franzini describes how to increase and improve the use of humor in everyday life. This discussion is not for professionals although there are plenty of references to other books on how to be funny and research on laughter and comedy. The style is charming and conversational but the goal is serious. Humor can make work and play more pleasant and improve any social relationship. This book is a positive contribution to the literature on the value and application of humor.
Israel Journal of Humor Studies
Louis Franzini has written a useful self-help book for...Americans who wish to attain a greater mastery of the act of being humorous in an everyday social setting....Franzini’s book...[is] designed to help its readers make their own efforts at humour more effective in achieving the primary goals of their interaction...and it should prove useful to its readers.
Library Journal
Franzini (psychology, emeritus, San Diego State Univ.; Kids Who Laugh: How To Develop Your Child's Sense of Humor) presents an analysis of the niche field of humor research and explores how to make humor more effective. While the primary goal of professional comedians is to make people laugh, for the rest of us, humor can make our interactions more effective. Franzini explores the relevance of political correctness, situations when humor is inappropriate, effective humor pitfalls, spontaneous humor, and strategies that will help avoid failed humor. Examples of successful and unsuccessful humor from comedians and politicians help illustrate its many varieties and demonstrate how context and audience determine whether or not something is funny. Franzini also provides exercises that help build the skills for effective humor. VERDICT Investigating the relatively specialized area of the psychology of humor, this book will appeal to lay readers. Professional psychologists may find it a nice supplement to Rod A. Martin's The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach, Robert R. Provine's Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, and the peer-reviewed Humor: International Journal of Humor Research.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442213364
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/30/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 926,446
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis R. Franzini, Ph.D., is emeritus professor of psychology at San Diego State University and a licensed psychologist in California and Florida. He has published over seventy-five articles, chapters, and books in the scientific and professional literature of psychology. He is the senior co-author of two books: Eccentric and Bizarre Behaviors and Convention Survival Techniques: Practical Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Your Professional Association’s Meetings. His third book Kids Who Laugh: How to Develop Your Child’s Sense of Humor won a Bronze Medal in Foreword magazine’s competition for parenting books. He has also published in outlets such as American Way, American Health, Today’s Manager, and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Dr. Franzini is a member of the interdisciplinary International Society for Humor Studies and is an active speaker and member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. His publications include articles in the journal Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, and he serves as an ad hoc reviewer for that and other journals and book publishers.

Dr. Franzini is an award-winning speaker and is past president of Laughmasters, at the time the only Toastmasters International club in the world specializing in humor. He is a frequent interviewee for print media and national radio and TV programs on humor. He has performed stand-up comedy at conventions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Reno, San Diego and at other comedy showcase venues.

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Table of Contents


1: The Power of Humor and Laughter
2: The Nuts and Bolts of Humor
3: Political Correctness and Humor
4: Not All Humor Is All Good
5: Public Bombings
6: Effective Humor Pitfalls
7: Spontaneous Humor versus Spontaneous Sex
8: How You Can Be Even Funnier
9: Strategies to Avoid Humor that Fails
10: Getting the Last Laugh

Humor Development Exercises to Raise Your HQ
Suggested Readings

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Just Kidding: Using Humor effectively delivers what its subtitle

    Just Kidding: Using Humor effectively delivers what its subtitle promises. The book analyzes humor up, down, and sideways, using everything from experimental research to the views of experts in many disciplines, to the wisdom of comedians, to numerous examples of humor from the grotesque and unfunny to the hilarious. As readers understand how humor works, they can implement the book's many suggestions for being funny while avoiding the pitfalls that bore or offend others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Louis Franzini¿s intention in his book ¿Just Kidding: Using Humo

    Louis Franzini”s intention in his book “Just Kidding: Using Humor Effectively” is to help readers make their own efforts at humor more effective in achieving the primary goals of their interactions. In pursuit of this goal, Franzini does a masterful job of categorizing the types and characteristics of humor. He describes the strategies of professional humorists with amusing, often surprising, examples, and makes it abundantly clear that professionals dance to coarser and more daring drummers than nonprofessionals dare to follow.
    Franzini devotes considerable attention to keeping readers out of PC snares. His description of political correctness in humor is far more nuanced than the absolutist polemics about the use of the n-word and similar epithets. PC really should designate personal correctness; what is PC for one individual may not be for another. For example, African Americans can use n-words with impunity because they are being used to indicate solidarity, not antipathy.
    Franzini wraps up his book with a series of exercises that readers can use to increase their effective use of wit and humor. Overall, the book is an easy and sometimes amusing read that may help the humor-deficient (just kidding, I don’t mean you) make more effective use of humor.

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