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October 18, 2014 9:13 AM   Subscribe

In this video from the 2014 World Domination Summit Author Scott Berkun talks about narrative bias: our tendency to tell stories about, well, everything. He said Hollywood will keep making the same cheesy blockbuster action films with predictable plots simply because we like and recognize the story. He also applies this frame to entrepreneurship, writing, and art.
posted by 4midori (6 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
It is an innate behavioral bias.
posted by JPD at 11:32 AM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really like Berkun's work. I first met him An Event Apart and devoured his book Confessions of a Public Speaker.

He's got a new memoir coming out next week--Ghost of My Father--about the turmoil in his family stemming from his father having an affair at 70. (In the interests of disclosure I backed this book on Kickstarter earlier this year.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:35 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about this quite a bit since my daughter hit her princess phase. There's a Vietnamese version of almost all the main Western stories, and it's clear that kids latch on these familiar tropes readily. It's definitely something I'm conflicted about.

Reading this book about the meaning of fairy tales has really helped me come to terms with how Disneyfied my life has become.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:45 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm a long time MeFi reader - honored to be mentioned. 50% of profits from the new book will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can read a free chapter here.
posted by Berkun at 3:47 PM on October 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


snickerdoodle: that's an excellent book. Fairy tale criticism dovetails nicely with mythology criticism (e.g. Joseph Campbell) - the big lesson I've learned from studying these subjects is how wide the range of stories are in any mythology/religion/belief system, and how each generation favors different stories and different interpretations of them.
posted by Berkun at 3:51 PM on October 18, 2014


Hollywood will keep making the same cheesy blockbuster action films with predictable plots simply because we like and recognize the story.

I'd say more that with the money involved, the suits would rather make nickel bets on low odds (familiar and worked before) rather than on long odds (unfamiliar and never tried). Easier to explain failure on a movie that ticks all the boxes than on one that is totally left field. This applies to entrepreneurship, writing, and art.

Of course, it's the totally left field that hits the home runs (to mix a metaphor), but courage is never the strong suit of the money men. And really, who can blame them? They have stockholders to answer to.

On the up side, with the cost of production going down, there's presumably more room for the visionaries who believe that their work belongs to the 10 of all work that isn't total crap. (On the other down side, that means that we have larger and larger piles of crap to wade through. It ain't easy.)
posted by IndigoJones at 1:23 PM on October 19, 2014


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