Storytelling

Storytelling:Bewitching the Modern Mind

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The narrative spell cast over politics and society

Politics is no longer the art of the possible, but of the fictive. Its aim is not to change the world as it exists, but to affect the way that it is perceived. In Storytelling Christian Salmon looks at the twenty-first century hijacking of creative imagination, anatomizing the timeless human desire for narrative form, and how this desire is abused by the marketing mechanisms that bolster politicians and their products: luxury brands trade on embellished histories, managers tell stories to motivate employees, soldiers in Iraq train on Hollywood-conceived computer games, and spin doctors construct political lives as if they were a folk epic. This “storytelling machine” is masterfully unveiled by Salmon, and is shown to be more effective and insidious as a means of oppression than anything dreamed up by Orwell.

Reviews

  • A compelling and very readable polemic.

    Financial Times
  • French writer Salmon here treats us to the useful spectacle of a relentless polemic against a ubiquitous idea widely held to provoke only positive feelings. As used by branders or politicians, 'storytelling' is, on his argument, a sedative, suppressing the desire for truth in favour of satisfying narrative form.

    Steven PooleGuardian
  • Fascinating ... intellectually satisfying ... Salmon's insights are thought-provoking and have ramifications beyond the world of advertising.

    Washington Post