The science of storytelling and why storytellers make the best startup leaders

By Sam Brake Guia August 21, 2017
story teller leadership

As children, stories captivated us, fed into our creativity, and many stayed with us in our hearts and memories for years to come. Einstein once said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales”. Unquestionably, stories have the capability of affecting us in a unique way, the reason turns out to be a simple one: It’s how we are programmed.

Our brains understand the world through narratives. From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. Whether you are thinking about your next career move, how your sports team is doing, or even what you are going to have for dinner, you process these ideas in a narrative. Quite simply, our brains construct short stories in our heads for every action and conversation.

Because of this, stories have the ability to captivate and influence us. The greatest leaders throughout history have been able to paint a clear image in the minds of their listeners, draw people in, and convey deep feelings. Martin Luther King’s well-known speech at the March on Washington would not have been as memorable if he had simply stood up in front of the crowd and worked his way through a list of reasons why he was in favor of equality. Instead, he captured the minds and hearts of his supporters by telling them his story, “I have a dream”.

This ability to connect and convey an idea is essential not only in politics but also in business. A fundamental skill for startup CEOs is the ability to share their narrative with investors in a way that gives them the confidence to actually believe in something that doesn’t even exist yet. Young entrepreneurs have the pressure of not only accurately representing a strong narrative to investors, but to their own employees, to inspire often small and intimate teams to work together to bring an idea to life.

The founder of Blooming Twig , Kent Gustavson PhD, is no stranger to storytelling. As a TED speaker Gustavson knows how to capture an audience and how to deliver a message. As a strong believer in narratives ability to effect positive change, he founded the ghostwriting and publishing company with the belief that authorship isn’t something just for the elite or the privileged. Instead, it is about giving people who have something to say the ability to say it.

The company has published more than 400 titles in a vast array of genres, as well as represented and rebranded hundreds of thought leaders. By working closely with the worlds top thought leaders, the companies ghostwriters have made it possible for hundreds of leaders to tell their stories. 

While their content may be diverse, their intention is clear, they want to have a positive overall impact and to change the world for the better. With the right authors, leaders, and a coherent understanding of how to combine the two domains, this company has the possibility of making great changes to the world, one book at a time.