Storytelling Animal How Stories Make Us Human

ISBN-10: 0544002342

ISBN-13: 9780544002340

Edition: 2012

Authors: Jonathan Gottschall

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Description:

Humans 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. It’s easy to say that humans are “wired” for story, but why?In this delightful and original book, 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. Did you know that the more absorbed you are in a story, the more it changes your behavior? That all children act out the same kinds of stories, whether they grow up in a slum or a suburb? That people who read more fiction are more empathetic?Of course, our story instinct has a darker side. It makes us vulnerable to conspiracy theories, advertisements, and narratives about ourselves that are more “truthy” than true. National myths can also be terribly dangerous: Hitler’s ambitions were partly fueled by a story.But as Gottschall shows in this remarkable book, stories can also change the world for the better. Most successful stories are moral—they teach us how to live, whether explicitly or implicitly, and bind us together around common values. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.
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Book details

List price: $14.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date: 4/23/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.726
Language: English

Preface
The Witchery of Story
The Riddle of Fiction
Hell Is Story-Friendly
Night Story
The Mind Is a Storyteller
The Moral of the Story
Ink People Change the World
Life Stories
The Future of Story
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Credits
Index
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