• Drew Leder taps into all the world's religions for insights to qualities that can be unfurled by elders to cope with life: awareness and acceptance, wisdom and play, service and rest, suffering and joy. Here is an excerpt from Spiritual Passages where he writes about laughter as a kind of prayer and then provides an overview of the crazy wisdom tradition and its role in the world's religions.
  • Yitzhak Buxbaum presents a collection of Hasidic stories which reveal the connection between mystical experiences and joy. In this excerpt from Jewish Tales of Mystic Joy he ponders the importance of laughter, jokes, and humor by the Baal Shem Tov. He revels in the ways even lowly, foolish clowning around can ward off sadness and depression.
  • Wes "Scoop" Nisker has gathered together a collection of aphorisms by holy fools, tricksters, Zen masters and others. It sees that "we live in a world of many illusions, that the emperor has no clothes, and that much of human behavior and belief is ritualized nonsense." This excerpt from The Essential Crazy Wisdom lists some of the major shakers and movers in this spiritual tradition of laughter and play.

  • Jennifer Ackerman is a science writer who has taken a hard look at the rhythms and myriad functions of the body in the daily activities connected with morning, midday, afternoon, and evening. In this excerpt from Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body she explores laughter as a stress remedy.
  • Robert R. Provine has ventured into a territory that others might find embarrassing to probe: the everyday behaviors of sneezing, yawning, coughing, and more. From his book Curious Behavior here is an excerpt on laughter as the sound of human play.
  • Daniel Pink bestselling book A Whole New Mind: Why Right -Brainers Will Rule the Future is a thought-provoking examination on using a form of thinking that has been underplayed for far too long; it emphasizes artistry, empathy, taking the long view, and pursuing the transcendent. It's needed in the brave new world of the 21st century where workers of all stripes will need many different skills to navigate three or four separate careers. Here is an excerpt on the anthropology and biology of laugher and the rise of laughter clubs.

More Book Excerpts on Laughing