Jonathan Gottschall

The Storytelling Animal

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A Editor's Choice A Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Finalist “A jaunty, insightful new book . . . [that] draws from disparate corners of history and science to celebrate our compulsion to storify everything around us.”—New York TimesHumans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. Now Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems—just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal and explains how stories can change the world for the better. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.“This is a quite wonderful book. It grips the reader with both stories and stories about the telling of stories, then pulls it all together to explain why storytelling is a fundamental human instinct.”—Edward O. Wilson“Charms with anecdotes and examples . . . we have not left nor should we ever leave Neverland.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
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317 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
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    Boonsiri Somchitshared an impression2 years ago
    👍Worth reading

    A good read

    Alicia Reyesshared an impression8 months ago
    👍Worth reading
    💡Learnt A Lot


    Alicia Reyeshas quoted8 months ago
    that spirit, here are some modest suggestions based on the research in this book.
    Read fiction and watch it. It will make you more empathic and better able to navigate life’s dilemmas.
    Don’t let moralists tell you that fiction degrades society’s moral fabric. On the contrary, even the pulpiest fare usually pulls us together around common values.
    Remember that we are, by nature, suckers for story. When emotionally absorbed in character and plot, we are easy to mold and manipulate.
    Alicia Reyeshas quoted8 months ago
    The real threat isn’t that story will fade out of human life in the future; it’s that story will take it over completely.
    Alicia Reyeshas quoted8 months ago
    Above all, MMORPG worlds are profoundly meaningful. As game designer David Rickey put it, people enter MMORPGs to take a daily vacation from the pointlessness of their actual lives. A MMORPG is an intensely meaning-rich environment—a world that seems, in many ways, more worthy of our lives and our deaths.

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