The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

The Storytelling Animal How Stories Make Us Human A NYTimes 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 everyth

  • Title: The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
  • Author: Jonathan Gottschall
  • ISBN: 9780544002340
  • Page: 434
  • Format: Paperback
  • A NYTimes 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 criminalA NYTimes 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

    One thought on “The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human”

    1. Everybody loves a good story. But what about your own story? Years ago someone told me of their experience in a bar. Thus, my micro-fiction: ALL IN THE TELLINGI’m feeling lonely, depressed, really down in the dog. I trudge to the closest bar and, after a couple of beers, proceed to tell the guy sitting on the next bar stool my life story. It isn’t pretty, but at least it’s mine. When I’m all talked out, I toss a couple of bucks on the counter in disgust and hit the men’s room. But the [...]

    2. In the beginning, there was a word, and the word was Storyteller.She was very lonely. There was nothing in the world but her imagination. She decided to create a story for herself to pass the time pleasantly.“Let there be colourful flowers and trees and soft grass to sit on”, she said. A garden appeared instantly before her inner eye. The smell of the flowers was intense, and she became thirsty.“Let there be a well where I can get water”, she said. And she watched in amazement as a well [...]

    3. What a weird book. The thrust of the author's arguments could have been stated in a long article. Instead, he decided to pad his interesting points with needless photographs, narrative asides, and pointlessly graphic examples (he seems to be particularly stuck on the image of an evil elf masturbating in a laundry room). This is all in lieu of a more satisfying engagement with his primary sources, which are too often tacked onto anecdotal examples to grant them additional credence. Moreover, he t [...]

    4. جاناتان گاتشال در این کتاب تلاش می‌کند به این سوال پاسخ دهد که چرا انسان به داستان علاقه‌مند است. «حیوان قصه‌گو» را بر اساس نام‌های متدوالی که به این شیوه برای انسان می‌گذارند، مانند حیوان ناطق و… انتخاب کرده است.کتاب روان و خوبی است. تا به حال کتابی که از لحاظ علمی و با زبا [...]

    5. I loved Gottschall from the first line of this book; I quickly saw he was a book fan geeking out about how awesome fiction is and I cheerfully followed along.I'm always going to fangirl over books on books -- I can't help it. I love readers and I love reading about reading. Gottschall takes joy in not just reading, but all forms of storytelling, from country music songs to commercials and films. He examines how fiction -- storytelling -- helps us individually and globally.Trivia fans will love t [...]

    6. I always find it humourous when people try to distinguish themselves by claiming that they never waste time reading fiction, just non-fiction.Listen: ALL animal species communicate non-fiction. Bees tell each other where the flowers are, ants leave pheremone trails to food, and mammals, birds and amphibians of all varieties advertise mate-seeking status, warn kin of predators nearby, and announce food availability. To be sure human non-fiction communications are more detailed, various and knowle [...]

    7. Is Jonathan Gottschall padding a portfolio for tenure? That's about the only excuse I can come up with for the waste of paper used in printing this book. The many photographs and illustrations (poorly reproduced) add absolutely nothing to the arguments advanced by the author -- they merely take up space in in a book that is already as short on pages as it is short on original ideas. As far as I can tell, the author drew on the works of real scholars, augmented his summaries thereof with musings [...]

    8. The Storytelling Animal is another in a recent spate of Malcolm Gladwell-inspired essay collections, learned yet at the same time so breezy that your shirt might lose some starch. Middle-brow fun, these books entertain while they inform. In this case, Gottschall takes on all angles of "story" so that you can see that, like air, narrative is everywhere and everywhere is narrative. His thesis: Humans are hard-wired for story, from the oral tradition to the print era and beyond (hint: "beyond" equa [...]

    9. ترجمه خوب و روان کتاب لذت خواندن رو دوچندان کرد۰کتاب شما رو با ذهن قصه‌گوی‌تان بیشتر آشنا می‌کند۰ :(۰بی‌صبرانه منتظر دیدن نتیجه این آشنایی در دراز مدت هستم

    10. Someone complained that Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal is overgrown – that is, that all the ideas it contains could have been easily synthetized in a long article. I wouldn’t go so far, although I also felt sometimes that one point or another was discussed to its outer limits. Anyway, it was an interesting enough reading, even if not very original. The premise of the book, disclosed by the title (quoting Graham Swift’s inspiring definition of mankind given in Waterland: [...]

    11. This book was incredibly disappointing. The question of why humans are so inclined to view the world in narrative terms is fascinating, but aside from a handful of interesting scientific studies, this book fails to provide a well supported theory as to the answer.Gottschall is a lecturer in English, and he writes very much from a cultural/literary perspective. Support for his points mostly comes from popular novels or cultural events. This would be fine if Gottschall was merely trying to enumera [...]

    12. Humans are the storytelling animal. Everything we see, hear, feel, dream, and experience is a story. Every single moment we live is a part of the confluence of the haphazardly interconnected vignettes and events that we weave into the story we call our Lives. The reality of dreaming, the frailty of memory, and the reason for our perpetual hunger for story, whatever form it takes, are all covered in Jonathan Gottschall's magnum opus of wonder, experience, and the pseudo-figurative human condition [...]

    13. ابتدای کتاب با تلاش برای اثبات این فرض شروع می شه: "قصه گویی یه سازگاری تکاملیه". در واقع به رغم اینکه داستان گویی به نظر یه چیز تجملی میاد در فرایند تکامل انسان، اما به هر حال این همه وقت عمر کرده چون به ما کمک می کنه که از زندگیمون روایتی منسجم و معنی دار ارائه کنیم (خاطره گویی، [...]

    14. If I could give a book a six-star rating, I'd probably give it to this book. Written by an Engish professor at Washington and Jefferson College, Jonathan Gottschall, it's as good as anything you will ever read about stories and how they mold us as individuals and hold our societies together. It is, I think, quite brilliant.Gottschall romps through a huge range of psychology, evolutionary theory, anthropology, media studies, and even the sociology of online multi-player gaming communities in spin [...]

    15. در کتابها و سخنرانیها و مقالات مختلف کسب و کار، بارها و بارها از زبان محققان و نویسندگان و سخنوران توصیه شنیده بودم که برای مشتریان و مخاطبانتان، داستان بگویید. چرا؟ این تأکید همیشه برایم سوال بود که در این کتاب پاسخ آن را یافتم. گاتشال از تأثیر قصه بر مغز انسان، داستانهایی که [...]

    16. I was surprised upon picking up this book how little that is not story in our lives: there are the expected books of course, but also tv, movies, jokes, commercials, lies, gathering 'round the water cooler, and even sports events; really, the list goes on. Gottschall delves into the fascinating evolutionary, cultural, biological, and even neurological reasons why our species is defined by our storytelling, both communal and individual. This is by far the most compelling non-narrative nonfiction [...]

    17. I was reading this with a specific purpose in mind, looking for more resources for my upcoming storytelling class. Gottschall tries to be so all-encompassing, from fiction to personal stories, that I didn't get nearly as much out of this as I expected. The most interesting section to me had to do with whether memories can be trusted, an element I think will make for great discussion in a class full of students tasked with telling their own stories.Some of the best bits in the book come from quot [...]

    18. The Story Telling Animal is a master work.Gottschall argues that our constant fictional consumption shifts who we are and also makes us adept storytellers in our own lives. Gottschall's book unlocked something in me. The realization that I am a walking work of fiction, albeit a constantly evolving one. FASCINATING!I am a consumer of all things Non-Fiction and love Pinker, Gladwell and Dawkins. As I read this I could see the torch being passed and realized that I was reading the words of the next [...]

    19. As a bibliophile, not only do I enjoy books but I am fascinated by the idea of stories in general. They have been around since the dawn of man, they transport us to other worlds even as our bodies are stationary, and they are subjective (stories are like line drawings which each individual fills in with color and shading, the author contends). Jonathan Gottschall explores the neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology behind stories (be it books, plays, films, advertisements, or music); [...]

    20. In the Emperor's New Clothes, the king pays a pair of con artists handsomely to sew for him the finest clothing in all the country. They enthuse that the "garment" they supply him with is so fine that it can only be perceived by the most regal of sensibilities. Unwilling to admit his lack of regal-ness, the king proceeds to parade about naked in front of his subjects, who, also terrified to admit they might be un-cool, praise the beauty of his raiment. Then a small, ignorant, naive child points [...]

    21. This book was a disappointment.The subject of the book -that we live in an essentially fictional world of fabulation, misrepresentation, self-deception, duplicity, daydreaming, mythmaking and myth consumption- has momentous implications for things as abstract as the philosophical concept of truth or the purpose of national narratives to basic concrete applications such as the legal system's reliance on witness accounts.Unfortunately, aside from a useful summary of the state of the art (or the sc [...]

    22. This was such an engaging and informative book up to a point. The first few chapters were real eye-openers. I never thought about toddlers' play as a sign of how embedded story is in our basic make up. Or about the fact that our dreams are stories in themselves. Somewhat incoherent stories much of the time, but stories nonetheless. Or even about the fact that when we answer, "How was your day" we're organizing our day into stories to tell at the dinner table.However, a lot of the book was an ex [...]

    23. Best thought of as a breezy and eclectic overview of the topic, aimed at laymen indiscriminately.The book doesn't necessarily provide much depth or groundbreaking insight into the specific matters discussed, but the author's broad interdisciplinary approach—ranging from evolutionary psychology to neurology to childrearing—does succeed in motivating the theses that "story, and a variety of storylike activities, dominates human life" and that "fiction is an ancient virtual reality technology t [...]

    24. This was a decidedly popular rather than academic treatment of the subject--something akin to a Malcolm Gladwell or Stephen Johnson approach to storytelling than, say, a closely analytical approach. In terms of the breadth of topics covered, it is impressive, ranging from bipolarity/schizophrenia through dreams, myths, religion, conspiracy theory, and MMORPGs as the future of storytelling. Gottschall does treat these various topics with a deft, albeit somewhat superficial hand, managing--also li [...]

    25. easy to readvery comprehendibleperfect knowledge for those who strive to dig deep into anthropology of storytelling

    26. This book is a great exploration into why we are hooked to storytelling and what kind of stories we enjoy. It does not contain practical advice on how to improve your storytelling skills.

    27. I ran across an interesting book at the library last week called The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall. His research delves into our inherent love of stories. Our ability to express ourselves with narratives has allowed us to share ideas, relate events, illustrate philosophies, and teach lessons. I think most people agree that things are easier for us to remember when we hear it through a story. We naturally pay greater attention to stories because they engage [...]

    28. For a couple of years now, I've been watching fMRI studies pile up evidence that narrative, fiction in particular, is good for the brain, and in this book Gottschall delivers a thorough account of this phenomenon. He has an engaging style, some of which I'll quote in a bit, that makes this a quick read, though the content is well worth a slower approach to allow for pondering, or at least marginalia.The theme of the book is that our species might justifiably be called Homo fictus--fiction man. G [...]

    29. Excellent book - interesting thesis, and well-written. Gottschall argues that storytelling is innate; humans evolved to tells stories because it helped both the individual and the group to succeed. Stories lend coherence and meaning to our lives. Stories simulate the problems we face, and allow us to practice the key skills of human social life. Stories are universal across cultures. Stories are not about happy things; in fact, they are usually about some of the more serious problems we humans f [...]

    30. This is about the role narrative--specifically, stories with a beginning, middle, and end in which good fights evil--play in human consciousness. Gottschall discusses dream logic (we make it out of random data, so whatever to Freud), the existence of conspiracy theories (when our narrative impulse gets all OCD), and the role narratives play in not so much subverting, but reinforcing social norms. I liked it!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *