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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
Publication year
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  • Boonsiri Somchitshared an impression3 years ago
    👍Worth reading

    A good read

  • aliciareyesxshared an impression2 years ago
    👍Worth reading
    💡Learnt A Lot


  • Natalia Méndezhas quoted8 months ago
    The brain is not designed for story; there are glitches in its design that make it vulnerable to story. Stories, in all their variety and splendor, are just lucky accidents of the mind’s jury-rigged construction. Story may educate us, deepen us, and give us joy. Story may be one of the things that makes it most worthwhile to be human. But that doesn’t mean story has a biological purpose.
  • Natalia Méndezhas quoted8 months ago
    While our bodies are always locked into a specific here and now, our imaginations free us to roam space-time.
  • Natalia Méndezhas quoted8 months ago
    The writer guides the way we imagine but does not determine it.

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