Laughter and Liberation


Laughter and Liberation
by Harvey Mindess (Author), Arthur Asa Berger (Introduction)

Laughter and Liberation is based on the idea that humor is an agent of psychological liberation. Since we are able to include every kind of wit and humor under the umbrella of this thesis, it amounts to an informal, comprehensive theory of the ludicrous. Briefly put, the theory proposes that the most fundamental function of humor is its power to release us from the inhibitions and restrictions under which we live our daily lives.

The quest for laughter is as old as man himself—Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors went to great lengths to amuse themselves, as did the monarchs of medieval Europe with court jesters. Our speech and literature abound with references to humor such as: “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone,” “He who laughs last laughs best,” “All the world loves a clown,” “Laugh if you are wise,” and “A good laugh is sunshine in the house.”

In Laughter and Liberation, Harvey Mindess tells us how laughter and our sense of humor work. He gives us the background of several well-known humorists—Steve Allen, Richard Armour, Sholom Aleichem—and explains his theory of how and why they have become expert in making others laugh.

“All in all this is a timely and timeless book about something that is important not only for our enjoyment of life but for our survival.” —Los Angeles Times

“Dr. Mindess looks at humor as a psychologist but also as a warm, humor-loving human being.”—Richard Armour Humorist, Author

About the Author
Harvey Mindess is a founder and professor emeritus of Antioch University – Los Angeles. Previously he conducted a private practice in clinical psychology in Beverley Hills, California and also taught at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of numerous books, including The Chosen People?, Makers of Psychology, Freud, Jung, and Anna, and Not Just a Matter of Degree.

Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University. He is the author of numerous articles, book reviews, and books on media, popular culture, humor, and tourism, and he is the series editor of Transaction’s Communication and Mass Culture and Humor series.

Product Details
Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher: Transaction Publishers (December 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1412814715
ISBN-13: 978-1412814713
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,473,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

This book is a Gem!
Bypaul lyonson November 17, 2014
Format: Paperback

This book is a gem! Dr Mindess’s insight into how our sense of humor
can lighten our day and enlighten us is utterly profound. I have not been
as moved by a book since “Walden.” It has that same individual revolutionary
spirit as Thoreau. And it’s absolutely delightful.

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