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The Sea We Swim In: How Stories Work in a Data-Driven World by Frank Rose

About the Book

A practical guide to “narrative thinking,” and why it matters in a world defined by data.

In The Sea We Swim In, Frank Rose leads us to a new understanding of stories and their role in our lives.

For decades, experts from many fields―psychologists, economists, advertising and marketing executives―failed to register the power of narrative. Scientists thought stories were frivolous.

Economists were knee-deep in theory. Marketers just wanted to cut to the sales pitch. Yet stories, not reasoning, are the key to persuasion.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, stories determine how we view the world and our place in it.

That means the tools of professional storytellers―character, world, detail, voice―can unlock a way of thinking that’s ideal for an age in which we don’t passively consume media but actively participate in it.

Building on insights from cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Rose shows us how to see the world in narrative terms, not as a thesis to be argued or a pitch to be made but as a story to be told.

Leading brands and top entertainment professionals already understand the vast potential of storytelling.

From Warby Parker to Mailchimp to The Walking Dead, Rose explains how they use stories to establish their identity and turn ordinary people into fans―and how you can do the same.

About the Author

Frank Rose is an author, essayist, and keynote speaker.

A senior fellow at the Columbia University School of the Arts, he teaches global business executives as faculty director of its Strategic Storytelling program, presented in partnership with Columbia Business School Executive Education, and serves as awards director of its Digital Storytelling Lab.

His previous book, The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories, was hailed by the International Journal of Advertising as “an essential overview” of the fundamental changes affecting media.

Before moving to Columbia, Frank spent many years reporting on the impact of technology on media as a contributing editor at Wired and a contributing writer at Fortune before that.

His 1989 best-seller West of Eden, about the ouster of Steve Jobs from Apple, was named one of the ten best books of the year by Businessweek.

Among his other books is The Agency, an unauthorized history of the oldest and at one time most successful talent agency in Hollywood.

And, interesting facts: he is a native of Virginia and graduated from Wash­ington & Lee University with a degree in journalism and moved soon after to New York, where he got his start covering the punk scene at CBGB for The Village Voice, chronicling the emergence of Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Talking Heads.

Listen to the Interview…


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