How often do we get to see the world as though it were brand new? Rarely, if ever. That’s what makes Nathan Pyle’s Strange Planet—an Internet sensation and #1 New York Times bestselling book—so special. Deeply funny and slightly surreal, the comic follows adorable inhabitants of a strangely familiar planet as they act out their favorite traditions, and in the process, holds a mirror to the absurdity of our own behavior. Having gained over 5 million Instagram followers in less than a year, it’s clear Pyle’s work has struck a meaningful chord around the world, and his talks are equally as delightful. With humor and heart, he shows us how to find inspiration and creativity in the fabric of our daily surroundings.
“I think that so much of what we are doing here is meaningful and absurd simultaneously. We have created thousands of different ways just to amuse each other and ourselves and communicate that we care about our friends.”— Nathan Pyle
Nathan Pyle has spent the last decade making art for the Internet—but it’s his latest creation, Strange Planet, that has truly taken the world by storm. A comic-turned-cultural-phenomenon, the series is so beloved, and so enjoyable, in part because it’s become an exercise in seeing the world with fresh eyes. “Why do we think something is important and something else is less important? That’s really what Strange Planet plays on,” explains Pyle. He examines the social norms we take for granted—universal situations and customs we practice every day—and shines a light on how odd they really are, whether it’s the time-honored ritual of singing happy birthday or the conventional practice of tidying up our apartment before guests arrive. This willingness to deconstruct our lives is what makes Strange Planet a gift that keeps on giving. “It’s wonderful how much complexity we humans have created,” says Pyle, who describes himself as someone who’s fascinated by everything. Nothing is too small or too trivial to be considered art, and this democratic sensibility is part of what makes his work so emotionally resonant—it’s a celebration of humanity at every level.
Pyle’s talks on creativity show us not only how we can recapture wonder in our daily lives, but how to channel it effectively. With unparalleled imagination, unforgettable storytelling, and contagious humor, he expertly flips traditional scripts on their head to reveal the layers of meaning beneath. The result is an entertaining, awe-inspiring presentation that will leave audiences with an expanded sense of what’s possible, in work and in play.
Strange Planet is not Pyle’s first viral success story. He previously landed both a book deal and a job at BuzzFeed after a 12-part Reddit comic he created outlining how to survive living in New York City. The series was picked up by HarperCollins and later became the New York Times bestseller NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette.