Steal from your heroes: John Cleese on Big Think Edge

Put a comedic stamp on your work – like this.

  • John Cleese teaches a video lesson for Big Think Edge called "Make Your Mark with Humor".
  • The Monty Python alumni and comedy legend has some unexpected advice to get your creativity out of your mind and onto the page.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge to reach new creative and analytical heights.

Who better to show you the ropes of comedy than Monty Python alumni John Cleese?

Humor is valuable in its own right. It's also a perfect tool for connecting with others and communicating almost any point, whether it's at work, in social circles, or at home. When we're laughing, our senses are fully engaged—we tend to listen better and to remember what we're hearing. Not everybody can be a comedian, but as the British comedy troupe Monty Python's massive success illustrates, you can take a clinical approach to figure out what's funny.

Subscribe to Big Think Edge and you'll learn first-hand from comedy legend John Cleese how to start writing, stop the crickets chirping, and approach creativity – oddly enough – with clinical precision.

Put a comedic stamp on your work

John Cleese teaches "Make Your Mark with Humor" as part of Big Think Edge's 9-part Boost Your Creative Intelligence learning path. In less than five minutes, you'll come away with actionable ways (all field tested by the Monty Python gang!) to bring your work to life with humor, and to see your all-time favorite comedians and actors in a way you've never considered them before.

It is so difficult at the beginning, particularly as a writer, to do good written comedy that I suggest, at the start, that you steal or borrow – or as the artist would say "are influenced by" – anything that you think that is really good and really funny.
— John Cleese

Retire the rubber chicken and subscribe to Big Think Edge to reach your true creative height.

Boost your creative intelligence

In spite of all the scary movies, artificial intelligence is not yet poised to take over everybody's job. But what radically differentiates us humans from even the most cutting edge machine intelligence is creativity. We have an ability, apparently unique in nature, to imaginatively break apart and reassemble the world in novel ways. While some are born with more natural talent in one creative area or another, creative thinking is a teachable skill. A set of skills, in fact, from intuition-testing to improvisation to collaborative brainstorming. In Big Think Edge's Boost Your Creative Intelligence learning path, you'll learn them from the best.

Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
  • Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
  • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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3 ways to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have

Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.

Videos
  • Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
  • There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
  • "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
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Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
Surprising Science
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
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UPS has been discreetly using self-driving trucks to deliver cargo

TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.


PAUL RATJE / Contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
  • UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
  • TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.
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