Written on September 21st, 2017
Written on April 29th, 2016
RANDY OLSON, marine biologist turned filmmaker, author of DON’T BE SUCH A SCIENTIST and HOUSTON, WE HAVE A NARRATIVE says we’re all receiving a firehose of information and can no longer deal with all the separate bits, so we look for higher levels of organization. We look for narratives. Get on board if you want to impact society. PS His Narrative Index predicted Trump’s victory.
Written on May 23rd, 2014
Greg Grandin, The End of the Myth: From Frontier to Border Wall
George Scialabba, Slouching Toward Utopia
MICHAEL LEWIS’s best-selling THE UNDOING PROJECT tells how the collaborative work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman revealed previously undiscovered ways our minds fool us.
Link to video
Written on February 4th, 2014
Last July in an interview with Charlie Rose, President Obama said that “the mistake” of the early years of his presidency was his failure to be a better storyteller.
“The mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important, but the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.” In a second term, he said, he would “spend more time with the American people, listening to them, but also being in a conversation with them about where do we go as a country?”
This week’s show is not about Obama or politics. It’s about story and narrative. My guest is JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL author of THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL.
The late evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould called humans “the primate who tells stories…” And it’s not just Gould. Anthropologists have found societies that have existed for millennia without the wheel, but they’ve never found one that doesn’t tell stories.
My website leads with a quote: “On the radio, I tell stories of a world that just might work. As a consultant, I help you tell yours.” Building on time as a teacher, two decades in the entertainment industry, and 15 years of radio interviews, I help non-profits, foundations, public agencies, and businesses to tell better stories and build better narratives.
I’m eager to learn from Jonathan what the latest science has to tell us. Why is narrative so powerful? What is its evolutionary value? And can what we’re learning help us get even better at tapping its power?
Written on January 4th, 2012
I am going to take a hiatus from this show in a few weeks, for the first time in 17 years. I need to focus on some other projects, including a book I’m writing, and won’t be able to afford the time to produce and host this show probono.
In anticipation of this upcoming break, I will be the guest this week and SARA DAVIDSON, best-selling author of Loose Change and Leap, whose new book, The December Project will come out in March, will be interviewing me. I’ve long thought it is only fair that I have to answer a few questions and this week it’s going to happen.
We tell ourselves stories — as a year ends and the next begins
We look back. Have we been naughty or nice? What were the Ten Best…? Did I fulfill my goals? How much older do I look? How much older do I feel? What did I learn? What did I accomplish? What did I screw up?
What did I lose?
All stories, narratives: This is what happened and this is what it meant. This is what happened and this is what we learned.
Reflections. In the mirror and in the past.
We do it as individuals, we do it as a society, and we do it everywhere in between. As a company, any organization or team, a family, a relationship.
Though calendars vary, the death and birth of the year occurs at the end of the last of twelve cycles rooted in the movement of heavenly bodies, and in the days, nights, and seasons of nature.
We look forward. We set goals. We make up lists. We even write them down and talk about them. When else do we make resolutions? We develop plans and budgets. We go on diets. We join clubs.
Narratives again: This is what I predict will happen, this is what I hope will happen, this is what I fear will happen. And this is why, and what it might mean. Stories that haven’t happened yet.
We dream. We imagine the future at the start of the year more than at any other time.