In his list of the best business books of 2014, Wharton professor Adam Grant, a renowned author and columnist, includes The Humor Code by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner.

Grant justifies his choice by telling why humor is an invaluable resource at work: it helps leaders defuse tension during a crisis, temper the sting of tough feedback, and helps employees generate creative ideas.

The authors attempt to show how to develop the skill of gentle humor in the workplace and beyond.

Dr. Peter McGraw, founder of the Humor Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, teamed up with journalist Joel Warner to search for secret behind humor. Their journey spanned the globe, from New York to Japan, from Palestine to the Amazon. They experimented with humor along the way and what they found sometimes makes the reader wince, sometimes laugh.

Reviewers at report that

in their search, they questioned experts, from comedians like Louis C.K. to rat-tickling researchers, and answered pressing (and not-so-pressing) questions such as, “What’s the secret to winning The New Yorker cartoon caption contest?”; “Who has the bigger funny bone?men or women, Democrats or Republicans?”; and “Is laughter really the best medicine?” As a final test, McGraw uses everything they learned to attempt stand-up?at the largest comedy festival in the world.

The The Humor Code is a revealing exploration of humor and its place in society and business.

The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner, 256 pages, Simon & Schuster First Edition, April 1, 2014.