Jonathan Gottschall was just a lowly adjunct in the English Department of a small college outside of Pittsburgh. Then one day a mixed martial arts gym shows up across the street from his office. Jonathan can’t resist trying his hand in the ring, but 4 months into his training he’s stopped in his tracks by a southpaw and something called the Faurie-Raymond hypothesis.  [LISTEN]




As a scientist of stories, Gottschall understands their power, which is probably why he filled his own book with a series of absorbing narratives. As expected, the stories are what pull you into this investigation of storytelling. (What’s The Big Idea? 5 Books To Inspire Innovation)


A new book explains why humans like to spin yarns—and why we’re so likely to stretch the truth when we do (The Atlantic–read full review)


Whatever the reason, we’ll keep spinning yarns, simply because we are hardwired to do so… (Oprah Magazineread full review)


[An] insightful yet breezily accessible exploration of the power of storytelling and its ability to shape our lives….[that is] packed with anecdotes and entertaining examples from pop culture. (The Boston Globeread full review)


The New Yorker peers down its noble snoot at The Storytelling Animal…and completely misses the point of the book.  Oh well.



NPR’s Morning Edition picks great summer reads, including The Storytelling Animal (STA is discussed in the last minute of the piece).


Review of Storytelling Animal in San Francisco Chronicle: “This is a work of popular philosophy and social theory written by an obviously brilliant undergraduate teacher. The gift for the example is everywhere. A punchy line appears on almost every page.”

Review in Minneapolis Star Tribune.  “Stories are the things that make us human, and this book’s absorbing, accessible blend of science and story shows us exactly why.”


“Once upon a time, actually just this spring, Jonathan Gottschall wrote a book about stories, The Storytelling Animal. It tells the tale of how narrative is central, maybe the most important part of our lives.” Conversation on the PBS News Hour blog.


Interview on The Afternoon Shift, WBEZ Chicago


How did human beings start telling stories and why do fantasy and make believe play such a large role in our lives? (Listen to my radio interview on the NPR’s “Think”)

In his ongoing efforts to bring more science to the humanities, Jonathan Gottschall looks at the human “instinct” for narrative….(Listen to my radio interview on the Brian Lehrer Show)



A lively pop-science overview of the reasons why we tell stories and why storytelling will endure…. Gottschall brings a light tough to knotty psychological matters, and he’s a fine storyteller himself. (Kirkus Reviews–read full review)


The Storytelling Animal is informative, but also a lot of fun…. Anyone who has wondered why stories affect us the way they do will find a new appreciation of our collective desire to be spellbound in this fascinating book. (BookPage–read full review)


[An] insightful consideration of all things story. Witty and admirably self-restrained…Gottschall…[is] unconventional, entertaining, and instructive…


Stories are all around us. But what is it about the story that holds such a powerful grip on the human imagination? (Read full Q&A)


(Read Q&A with Book Riot)





















   The Secrets of Storytelling.

Stranger than Fiction. 2011


My Daily Read


“The Other Darwin”.


  Textual Selection

   Reading with Selection in Mind.

   Review of The Literary Animal

  Survivalist Lit.

   “Darwinismo Literario.” Page OnePage Two.

  Med Darwins Laesibriller

Die Darwinisten entern de Literatur.

Litteraturen ifølge Darwin.

Darwin blander sig i litteraturen