Praise for Will Storr:
‘There’s nothing else quite like Will’s approach, with its illuminating, scientific take on storytelling. All writers, no matter what their level of experience, are likely to go away with a new understanding that will deepen and nourish their work’ Craig Pearce, screenwriter of Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby
‘Will Storr is unparalleled in his skills in translation from psychology and neuroscience to real lives, and he writes beautifully’ Professor Sophie Scott, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
‘Storr is irascibly good company, and has something approaching genius for marshalling his material’ Sunday Times
‘Brilliant … There aren’t many authors who can range so confidently across disciplines and, if you go with the flow, you’ll encounter some fascinating nuggets along the way’ Evening Standard
'Storr can open chapters like a stage conjurer, and his prose has an easy, laconic style … a funny and companionable guide who confounds expectations' Guardian
‘Storr has done huge amounts of research … he conveys it with a gifted lightness of touch that is wry and funny … entertaining and fascinating’ The Times
‘One of my absolute favourite writers’ Decca Aitkenhead
Who would we be without stories?
Stories mould who we are, from our character to our cultural identity. They drive us to act out our dreams and ambitions, and shape our politics and beliefs. We use them to construct our relationships, to keep order in our law courts, to interpret events in our newspapers and social media. Storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human.
There have been many attempts to understand what makes a good story – from Joseph Campbell’s well-worn theories about myth and archetype to recent attempts to crack the ‘Bestseller Code’. But few have used a scientific approach. This is curious, for if we are to truly understand storytelling in its grandest sense, we must first come to understand the ultimate storyteller – the human brain.
In this scalpel-sharp, thought-provoking book, Will Storr demonstrates how master storytellers manipulate and compel us, leading us on a journey from the Hebrew scriptures to Mr Men, from Booker Prize-winning literature to box set TV. Applying dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, he shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world.