BOOK REVIEW: “The New Yorker: Office Humor” by Jean-Loup Chiflet (2012)

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I am very grateful to a colleague at work who clearly to took pity on me after seeing all those book reviews on strategy and management stuff. Thinking that I needed a break but realizing that Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy was probably a waste of time, she offered me a collection of cartoons on office humour taken from The New Yorker. Work is one of those things that unite people across borders. Many of the cartoons are easy to identify with whether you are in Stockholm, Shanghai or Santiago de Chile. It is a nice way to take a break. 

The beauty of many of the cartoons is that they transcend national boundaries.  This first one is the perfect example. Anyone who has ever done an internship or work placement in whatever country will instantly identify with this cartoon. (Except for the interns that work in my department, of course!)



Similarly, we have all arrived late for work on occasions and looked for a way for it not to be too apparent as in the cartoon below. This can happen whatever level you are at, even Vice President.

Monday morning


Many of these cartoons are quite up to date and deal with things such as data mining.

Data mining


Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is also a hot topic at the moment. Being a little suspicious of certain corporations that have changed their logos in an effort to become an environmentally friendly, I found the following cartoon to be quite fitting.

Environment Friendly smoke


Other cartoons deal with more age old problems such as being put on hold.

call center


Actually, I wonder if the proceeding cartoon is not also referring to a high turnover of staff in the organization. I have seen many students want to go into Human Resources thinking that it was a nice, cozy little job that involved no conflict at all. They soon discover that it is quite the opposite.


When people talk of culture they often just think of differences from one country or one region to another. This often gets reduced to stereotypes. However, cultures can be identified in organizations (cf. the famous IBM blue suit culture of the 1960s and 1970s) but also in jobs and departments. These humorous moments show us certain problems are more related to jobs than national culture. I know that friends that I have in different accounting departments across the world will sympathize with the message in this cartoon.



So, whatever department or level of the company you are in, it might be worth taking a little time off to have a look through some of the excellent cartoons that give us the lighter side of work. For one, I am very appreciative that my colleague made me do just that.

Bad Director


See also:


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The story of the ups and downs of Starbucks and why Howard Schultz decided to return as CEO. Steve Jobs’ favourite book. Any more questions? Wonderful essay that lays out the benefits of international trade.


MOVE, EAT, LEARN by Rick Mereki

 move eat learnIf you are planning to travel this month, these three wonderful videos should get you in the mood!   Watch… 


Valentine’s Day, Japan, Chocolates & Luck

heartJust in case you’d forgotten, today is Valentine’s Day. Millions of women across the world will be happy all day knowing that the man of their dreams will be coming home with a gift such as a huge box of chocolates (that is, if he wants to survive the rest of the evening!) One notable exception to this ‘rule’ comes from Japan. Read more…



Filed under Book Review, Cartoons, Fun in the office, Humour, Jokes, Society

2 responses to “BOOK REVIEW: “The New Yorker: Office Humor” by Jean-Loup Chiflet (2012)

  1. Pingback: Working globally with Stanford University | GlobalEd

  2. Pingback: BOOK REVIEW: “Leverage: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture” by John R. Childress (2013) | GlobalEd

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