Visit our store for discounts & free shipping over $35 SHOP NOW>>
The Story Paradox
How Our Love of Storytelling Builds Societies and Tears them Down
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 23, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Storytelling, a tradition that built human civilization, may soon destroy it
Humans are storytelling animals. Stories are what make our societies possible. Countless books celebrate their virtues. But Jonathan Gottschall, an expert on the science of stories, argues that there is a dark side to storytelling we can no longer ignore. Storytelling, the very tradition that built human civilization, may be the thing that destroys it.
In The Story Paradox, Gottschall explores how a broad consortium of psychologists, communications specialists, neuroscientists, and literary quants are using the scientific method to study how stories affect our brains. The results challenge the idea that storytelling is an obvious force for good in human life. Yes, storytelling can bind groups together, but it is also the main force dragging people apart. And it’s the best method we’ve ever devised for manipulating each other by circumventing rational thought. Behind all civilization’s greatest ills—environmental destruction, runaway demagogues, warfare—you will always find the same master factor: a mind-disordering story.
Gottschall argues that societies succeed or fail depending on how they manage these tensions. And it has only become harder, as new technologies that amplify the effects of disinformation campaigns, conspiracy theories, and fake news make separating fact from fiction nearly impossible.
With clarity and conviction, Gottschall reveals why our biggest asset has become our greatest threat, and what, if anything, can be done. It is a call to stop asking, “How we can change the world through stories?” and start asking, “How can we save the world from stories?”
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and Rationality.
—Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive
—David Eagleman, Stanford neuroscientist, author of Livewired