April 13, 2021

Is this Anything?


Over the Easter break I started reading Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld. The book is basically a collection of all his joke ideas from the past 45 years of his life recorded on big yellow legal pads that he kept in an old-school accordion folder.

The opening paragraph reads,

“‘Is this anything?’ Is what every comedian says to every other comedian about any new bit. Ideas that come from nowhere and mean nothing. But in the world of stand-up comedy, literally bars of gold.”

Great Storytellers Collect Ideas

I immediately thought of how great storytellers also use this method. Something will happen and they ask themselves, “Is this anything? What message could be communicated with this story?” To make sure the story idea is not lost, they then record them. This could be in a spreadsheet, a journal, the notes app in their phone, or even a big yellow legal pad. And of course they look for opportunities to share them.

Previously, I shared an example of this from my own life in a blog about wine drops and another from a client about the goldfish she had when she was a kid.

Find, Capture and Share your Stories

I encourage you to find, capture and look for opportunities to share these stories to better communicate a message. In the world of leadership and communication, these stories are literally bars of gold.


Just for fun, here is one of my favourite Seinfeld jokes from the book.

The Biathlon is a favourite of mine

Biathlon combines skiing and shooting a gun.

How many alpine snipers are into this?

Seems like two totally unrelated things.

It’s like combining swimming and strangling a guy.

You swim a lap,

throttle a guy,

kick turn,

back across the pool.