Storytelling Matters

Storytelling Matters

One of the reasons we place so much emphasis on essay work? The ability to tell a story — especially your story — matters. And not just in the college application process.

There is little that can match good storytelling for strongly connecting us to one another, influencing us to make decisions, and making us believe in the products that we depend on in our everyday lives. Sharing stories strengthens and bonds us to each other, our workplaces, our relationships, our communities, and the world around us. All great speakers have discovered that telling stories has a much greater influence on their audience than simply spewing out data.

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The End of Average


Todd Rose teaches educational neuroscience at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He’s also the co-founder of The Center for Individual Opportunity, a new organization devoted to “the science of the individual and its implications for education, the workforce, and society.” And, a new book on my to-read list, The End Of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness. 

What’s unique about Todd is his past: he dropped out of high school with D- grades, and at 21, he was trying to support a wife and two sons on welfare and minimum wage jobs. Not your typical path to Harvard, right?

In the book, he argues that absolutely no one is precisely average—and that’s a big problem.

“We’ve come to embrace a way of thinking about ourselves as people that was intentionally designed to ignore all individuality and force everything in reference to an average person.”

Offices of admission, in particular, make life-changing decisions based on averages, which is a horrible way to try to understand an individual. Read more in his interview with NPR here, as well as the book review from the New York Times here.