Last month, as part of our ongoing project The Success Series, we asked a group of high-profile people to describe their morning routines.
Scott Adams, the creator of popular comic strip “Dilbert,” wrote a thoughtful and witty response that included the detail that his daily reading inspires his work:
“I prime my creative engine with external news,” said Adams. “My news source of choice is Business Insider (true story) because it is more upbeat than most news sources, and the focus on business and technology is a good fit for my creative needs.”
Adams said he looks for universal human patterns, the “silly things” that people do over and over again. “For example, a story about war in the Middle East might give me a joke idea about meeting etiquette,” he wrote.
“When I read the news, I’m stripping out the concepts and the things and looking at how people are acting,” he said in an interview. “These silly things play out in all kinds of situations, be it world affairs or a business meeting.”
There’s even humour to be found in the Iran nuclear deal, for instance. Adams read that the various parties involved in the negotiation came out of the meeting with different ideas of what they all had agreed on. “That’s like every meeting you’ve ever been to,” he said.
Adams added that the mistake people often make when writing humour is trying to write jokes about things and concepts rather than human behaviour.
“You can’t make the Iran nuclear deal funny, but if you write about people having different ideas of what they agreed on, you can make that funny,” he said. “The ‘stuff’ can change, but the patterns that people lock into don’t.”
Here’s an example of one of Adams’ all-time favourite strips, written in 2009:
You can check out more of his favourite “Dilbert” comics here.
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