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The Storytelling Animal
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About the Author

JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL teaches English at Washington and Jefferson College and is the author or editor of six books. His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Nature, and Scientific American, among others.

Reviews

"A jaunty and insightful new book...[that] celebrate[s] our compulsion to storify everything around us. --New York Times Sunday Book Review, Editor's Choice

"[An] insightful yet breezily accessible exploration of the power of storytelling and its ability to shape our lives...[that is] packed with anecdotes and entertaining examples from pop culture." --The Boston Globe "The Storytelling Animal is informative, but also a lot of fun.... Anyone who has wondered why stories affect us the way they do will find a new appreciation of our collective desire to be spellbound in this fascinating book." BookPage "Stories are the things that make us human, and this book's absorbing, accessible blend of science and story shows us exactly why." --Minneapolis Star Tribune. "This is a work of popular philosophy and social theory written by an obviously brilliant undergraduate teacher. The gift for the example is everywhere. A punchy line appears on almost every page." --The San Francisco Chronicle "A lively pop-science overview of the reasons why we tell stories and why storytelling will endure..[Gottschall's] snapshots of the worlds of psychology, sleep research and virtual reality are larded with sharp anecdotes and jargon-free summaries of current research... Gottschall brings a light tough to knotty psychological matters, and he's a fine storyteller himself."
--Kirkus Reviews "They say we spend multiple hours immersed in stories every day. Very few of us pause to wonder why. Gottschall lays bare this quirk of our species with deft touches, and he finds that our love of stories is its own story, and one of the grandest tales out there--the story of what it means to be human."
--Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements "Story is not the icing, it's the cake! Gottschall eloquently tells you 'how come' in his well researched new book."
--Peter Guber, CEO, Mandalay Entertainment and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Tell To Win "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, University Research Professor and Honorary Curator in Entomology, Harvard University "The Storytelling Animal is a delight to read. It's boundlessly interesting, filled with great observations and clever insights about television, books, movies, videogames, dreams, children, madness, evolution, morality, love, and more. And it's beautifully written--fittingly enough, Gottschall is himself a skilled storyteller."
-- Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology at Yale and author of How Pleasure Works "Like the magnificent storytellers past and present who furnish him here with examples and inspiration, Jonathan Gottschall takes a timely and fascinating but possibly forbidding subject -- the new brain science and what it can tell us about the human story-making impulse -- and makes of it an extraordinary and absorbing intellectual narrative. The scrupulous synthesis of art and science here is masterful; the real-world stakes high; the rewards for the reader numerous, exhilarating, mind-expanding."
-- Terry Castle, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University

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