End of Days or Finest Hour?

“I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” The Wizard of Oz Precipice moments: the great stories are full of them. The hero crosses an invisible threshold separating the old, familiar world from a new and decidedly hostile one. It’s the belly of the whale, a place where the old rules, doctrines and dogmas no longer apply. The hero is besieged by threats and forces too scary or lofty to comprehend given his limited life experience. Mythologist Joseph Campbell called this new world a “dreamland of curiously fluid and ambiguous forms, a place where the hero must endure a succession of trials”. World War I soldier Wilfred Owen poignantly captured the precipice moment in one of his poems.

The Sideways Effect

What propelled a little-known wine varietal to stardom in less than a year? In the last post, I examined whether the “craze” of storytelling really belonged in the workplace or not. By looking at the lives of Edison and Disney, we learnt that stories are primal to the human condition. This week, we look to science to explain why they carry such power. In a podcast entitled “This is your brain on stories”, economist Stephen Dubner interviewed a cognitive neuroscientist about his efforts to create a “semantic atlas” of the brain. It was revolutionary work since, for a long time, researchers had believed that the function of language was restricted to specific parts of the brain’s left hemi

STORY IS KING: all else is slave

Storytelling” is arguably one of the most threadbare and ambiguous words in the modern business lexicon... ...even a perfunctory dig into Amazon unearths a torrent of publications on the topic. There’s “Better Selling through Storytelling”, a volume on “Putting Stories to Work in the C-Suite”, the ubiquitous “Business Storytelling for Dummies” and, somewhat creepily, “Once Upon a Time For Leaders”. Finally, as if not to be outdone, IT behemoth SAP has a seat at the boardroom table for a “Storyteller in Chief”. It’s enough to conjure up images of campfires, hot chocolate, feather duvets and Mother Goose. “Storytelling” it seems, is a word that can mean just about anything...which perhaps e

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