9. The Importance—and Limitations—of Storytelling

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

—Ecclesiastes 1:181

It’s almost trite to suggest that any good presentation of analysis needs to tell a story, but of course it’s true. We’re wired for stories. Our primitive brains evolved to detect patterns so we could perceive anomalies that might mean danger. This didn’t just mean distinguishing the tips of a lion’s ears from a field of tall brown grass—it also meant story arcs with causes and effects. Our experiences create expectations, and stories have historically been powerful means for how we pass along our knowledge about these expectations. And so, effective storytelling has been carefully studied ...

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