The Dark-side of Storytelling

Jonathan Gottschall, at Washington and Jefferson College, published an HBR article on the “dark side of storytelling.” It’s a good and needful read. Mr. Gottschall eloquently illustrates what I sometimes call, “stories being a loaded gun.” The takeaway quote is in the last paragraph, “Establishing a culture of honest storytelling is not only a moral imperative for companies and workers, it is better business in a long-term, bottom-line sense. No matter the genre or format, the ancient prime directive of storytelling is simple: tell the truth.”

Theranos and the dark side of storytelling

When I started ArrowHead in 2007, I attended story-guru Robert McKee’s workshop on “Story.” It was an intense three days in San Francisco. When we “graduated” I asked him to sign my book. He took his autograph marker, asked my name, wrote it, then following with a short phrase and his signature. He shut the book, and handed it to me. Back at my seat, I opened it to see the note, “Write the truth.”

story

As anyone who has worked with me will attest this is why landing on the right hero & ArrowHead is so critical (and hard); the story must be true or possible. Some may cower away from stories when they read Gottschall’s article, when they should embrace it as effective storytelling.

Gottschall said it best in his last paragraph, “Establishing a culture of honest storytelling is not only a moral imperative for companies and workers, it is better business in a long-term, bottom-line sense. No matter the genre or format, the ancient prime directive of storytelling is simple: tell the truth.”

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