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Why Stories Work The Evolutionary and Cognitive Roots of the Power of Narrative

Author Name: Somdev Chatterjee | Format: Paperback | Genre : Arts, Photography & Design | Other Details

For millions of years our ancestors  survived on the marginal niches of the environment while the bigger beasts reigned on Earth. They were a bunch of weak, defenseless, and unimportant creatures serving out their time before being swept into evolution’s dustbin. Then, sometime between 200,000 and 50,000 years ago, they embarked on a journey unprecedented in the history of life on the planet - one that took them from being footnotes in the book of Life to the dominant species of the planet. What secret superpower propelled this incredible charge? 


Tool use? Language? These were important, of course. But there was something else.


We learned to tell stories.


Drawing on insights from the evolutionary and social sciences, psychology, and the cognitive sciences, the author shows how the ability to tell stories has been at the foundation of our success as a species. They help us pass on crucial knowledge, imagine possible futures and co-operate flexibly in large groups. But the importance of stories in our lives goes deeper. It isn’t only that stories help us live. Recent discoveries in the cognitive sciences suggest that stories could be the most fundamental form in which we experience our lives : we live in stories every moment of our lives. That is why they have such power over us.


If you have ever been captivated by a novel, film, or television show, and wondered why the storyteller is able to weave such magic (not merely how they do it); if you want to know why storytelling makes us human, and why to be human is necessarily to be a storyteller, then this book is for you.

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Somdev Chatterjee

A writer, film maker, and teacher, Somdev Chatterjee teaches Direction and Producing for Electronic Media at the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata. He has written hundreds of hours of fiction content for television, and directed documentaries for various international television channels. He is interested in the relationship between stories and other aspects of human experience. 



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