Think Like a Storyteller
Jonathan Gottschall

In media, storytelling is all the rage. Without a compelling story–we are told–our journalism, is dead on arrival. People aren’t moved to action by data and facts, they’re moved by emotion. Our ability to connect emotionally depends on the quality of our stories.

In this talk, Jonathan Gottschall leads a guided tour through the literature library and science lab to show why storytelling really is a uniquely powerful form of persuasive jujitsu. This talk zooms out to reveal the whole big picture of story’s role in human life, and then zooms in on specific media challenges, and how thinking like a storyteller can help us solve them. People are storytelling animals, and the surest way to change one mind or the whole world always begins with “Once upon a time.” 

Praised by Steven Pinker as “our deepest thinker about the powerful role of stories in our lives,” Jonathan Gottschall is a Distinguished Fellow in the English Department at Washington & Jefferson College. His writing at the intersection of science and art has been covered in-depth by The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Oprah Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Science, Nature, and on shows like Radiolab, Morning Edition, National Geographic’s StarTalk with Neal de Grasse Tyson, and The Joe Rogan Experience. Jonathan is the author or editor of eight books, including The Story Paradox: How Our Love of Storytelling Builds Societies and Tears them Down and The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human.

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