The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

April 20, 2012

storytelling animal

Humans live in landscapes of make-believe: we spin fantasies, we devour novels, films, and plays and even our sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. It’s easy to say that humans are “wired” for story, but “why”?

In this delightful and original book, Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories are a way of rehearsing life’s complex social problems: Our penchant for story has evolved, like other behaviors, to enhance our survival, and, crucially, that of our social group. Gottschall explores the deep pattern in children’s make-believe, and what that reveals about story’s prehistoric origins. We are master shapers of story. “The Storytelling Animal “finally reveals how stories shape “us.”