What is a story? And why do we tell stories?
To be human is to connect to one another, and one of the ways we do this is through the use of visual, written, and oral storytelling. Through performance. We are all born storytellers, and we all have many stories to tell.
Here’s a working list of the (somewhat eclectic) set of resources, books, websites and blogs that I’ve accumulated and listened to in my studies and research on narrative and storytelling. If you’d like to know more about the workshops and presentations I’ve done, check out my design website or the landscape urbanism journal.
Great websites, articles, and digital resources on storytelling and narrative:
- A short synopsis of Ira Glass on Storytelling, re-edited by David Shiyang Liu (2 minute Vimeo)
- The Writer’s Journey
- The Hero’s Journey (summarized by The Writer’s Journey website here)
- Pixar’s rules for stories.
- How Dan Harmon Drives Himself Crazy Making Community (Wired, 2011)
Psychology and Communication Books
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini. “Influence is a science.” It’s not magic; and Cialdini outlines six principles for how people relate to each other, socially, and why tools like reciprocity, scarcity, and liking affect how we interact with each other. And it’s fun to read.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
- Information Anxiety 1 and Information Anxiety 2, both by Richard Saul Wurman, founder of the TED Conferences and author of 80+ books. For excerpts, check out this article. Brilliant books on Conversation, Communication, and how to deal with the overwhelm of information in today’s media-saturated world.
- The Four Conversations
- The Five Love Languages
- Start With Why, by Simon Sinek. A review of some of the most innovative, influential people and organizations in the world. Start by building a foundation and culture that answers “Why” before you ask “What” or “How.”
- How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer. One of my favorite psychology writers of all time; constantly reveals how our brains work and what’s going on inside our strange heads.
- Predictably Irrational, by Dan Riley. The peculiarities of being human, and how and why we repeatedly behave weirdly.
- The Elements of Persuasion, by Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman. Master storytelling will get you further in persuading people – effectively getting them to do what you want. And in work and life, don’t you want to get what you want?
Stories, Narrative and Voice: Books
- The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling, by Stephen Denning.
- The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition), by Annette Simmons.
- Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami.
- Confessions of a Public Speaker, by Scott Berkun. Funny as hell, and likeable. Sound advice through good stories.
- Made to Stick, Chip Heath and Dan Heath. All about making ideas sticky, and the psychology of how we remember things.
- Quick and Easy Way to Public Speaking, by Dale Carnegie
Design and Visual Representation Books
- Resonate, by Nancy Duarte.
- Slide: ology by Nancy Duarte.
- The Visual Miscellaneum. One of my favorite books to pick up with countless illustrations, diagrams, and information–visualized. Understanding how to show the story of data, and make information meaningful, is an arduous task. This is a collection of hundreds of beautiful examples. No more designers’ block!
Have any other recommendations?