- Theodore Roosevelt was legendary for his ability to weave stories of manifest destiny from the political pulpit that drove the U.S. to rise as a nation
- Albert Einstein used thought experiments, essentially complex equations put into story form, to work out The Theory of Relativity
- Nelson Mandela used stories of a 27 year captivity to soothe the anger of a nation and create a movement towards peace
- Steve Jobs used sights, sounds and compelling stories to rally people around his cause, despite often lacking social graces
- Joseph Campbell preached for decades that myth and story are woven into the DNA of humanity throughout history
In his book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink summarizes the power of story in terms of real economic impact
“Story, businesses are realizing, means big money. Economists Dierdre McCloskey and Arjo Klamer calculate that persuasion-advertising, counseling, consulting, and so on-accounts for 25 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. If, as some posit, Story is a component of half those persuasive efforts, then story is worth about $1 trillion a year to the U.S. economy.”
In the digital age, tools like WordPress (which this blog is a part of) have allowed individuals and organizations to bring Story to the entire globe. According to latest WordPress statistics, users produce over 42.6 million posts and 51.6 million new comments each month. In addition, over 409 million people view 14.4 billion pages every month.
Recently the Harvard Business Review (in their blog incidentally), reinforced the power of story and the rise of what is now being referred to as “Content Marketing”. In his post below, Alexander Jutkowitz talks about how organizations that are ahead of the curve are telling ‘their story’ to differentiate themselves from those who simply blast the public with more ads. Additionally, these organizations are recruiting people with the creative and literary skills to consistently craft compelling stories.
In an age obsessed with big data, the technology to quantify business as well as daily life into neat little packets of metrics, the ability to weave all that information into a compelling story becomes a rare and valuable skill. Those that can cultivate and master that skill will prove to be highly sought after in the remainder of the decade.