We look forward to seeing you on your next visit to the library. Find a location near you.

The storytelling animal: how stories make us human

Book Cover
Average Rating
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2012.
Physical Desc:
xvii, 248 pages : ill. ; 22 cm.
808.543 G687 2012
808.543 G687 2012
"Insightful...draws from disparate corners of history and science to celebrate our compulsion to storify everything around us."—The New York Times Book Review

Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. It's easy to say that humans are "wired" for story, but why?
In this delightful, original book, Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life's complex social problems—just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal. Did you know that the more absorbed you are in a story, the more it changes your behavior? That all children act out the same kinds of stories, whether they grow up in a slum or a suburb? That people who read more fiction are more empathetic?
Of course, our story instinct has a darker side. It makes us vulnerable to conspiracy theories, advertisements, and narratives about ourselves that are more "truthy" than true. National myths can also be terribly dangerous: Hitler's ambitions were partly fueled by a story. But as Gottschall shows, stories can also powerfully change the world for the better. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.

"Lively."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Absorbing."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

"One of my favorite evolutionary psych writers—always insightful and witty."—Steven Pinker
Also in This Series
Call Number
808.543 G687 2012
On Shelf
808.543 G687 2012
On Shelf
South Natomas
808.543 G687 2012
Due Jul 8, 2022
More Like This
Other Editions and Formats
More Copies In LINK+
Loading LINK+ Copies...
More Details
9780547391403, 0547391404, 9780544002340


Includes bibliographical references (p. [215]-230) and index.
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
APA Citation (style guide)

Gottschall, J. (2012). The storytelling animal: how stories make us human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Gottschall, Jonathan. 2012. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Gottschall, Jonathan, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Gottschall, Jonathan. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
Staff View
Grouped Work ID:
Go To GroupedWork

Record Information

Last Sierra Extract TimeJun 17, 2022 03:12:30 PM
Last File Modification TimeJun 17, 2022 03:13:27 PM
Last Grouped Work Modification TimeJun 28, 2022 02:08:57 AM

MARC Record

LEADER01168pam 2200337 a 4500
008111024s2012    maua     b    001 0 eng  
010 |a 2011042372
020 |a 9780547391403
020 |a 0547391404
020 |a 9780544002340
040 |a DLC|c DLC|d IMmBT
049 |a JRSA
05000|a GR72.3|b .G67 2012
08200|a 808.5/43|2 23
099 |a 808.543 G687 2012
1001 |a Gottschall, Jonathan.
24514|a The storytelling animal :|b how stories make us human /|c Jonathan Gottschall.
260 |a Boston :|b Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,|c c2012.
300 |a xvii, 248 p. :|b ill. ;|c 22 cm.
504 |a Includes bibliographical references (p. [215]-230) and index.
650 0|a Storytelling.
650 0|a Literature and science.
907 |a .b21016616
945 |y .i65614665|i 33029095775342|l cenag|s -|k |u 26|x 2|w 2|v 33|t 3|z 04-06-12|o -
945 |y .i65614690|i 33029095775375|l natag|s -|k 07-08-22|u 21|x 1|w 2|v 18|t 3|z 04-06-12|o -
945 |y .i65614707|i 33029095775383|l carag|s -|k |u 23|x 0|w 1|v 25|t 3|z 04-06-12|o -
948 |a Featured List 4/12
998 |e -|d a |f eng|a car|a cen|a nat