Blog

  • Stories can make any lesson far more powerful

    In the previous post, we saw that story’s sequential flow is a significant element of its power as a mnemonic device. To me, the Memory Palace system we discussed last time is an interesting technique, especially from a storytelling perspective. In essence, its success as a memory aid is derived from imposing a rudimentary narrative structure on a random list of items

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How narrative structure aids recall

    Last time, we visited two compelling arguments supporting the notion that narrative facilitates recall. First, stories slide naturally into our minds because narrative is at the core of human existence, all the time intertwined with who we are and how we live our lives. And second, a well-told tale touches us on an emotional level. Other forms of discourse do

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Why narrative stays so long in our minds

    My recent reflecting on how Paul Revere became a household name in the United States got me thinking once again about story’s important role in all human thought. In that process, it occurred to me that I should perhaps go a little deeper into the reasons behind narrative’s effectiveness in the realms of learning and memory. For example, I have

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Why we remember Paul Revere

    As I mentioned last time, American grade school children study in considerable detail the events leading up to their nation’s Declaration of Independence of 1776. They commit to memory—and reproduce on various tests—the names of the generals, the battles, and the turning points that shaped the colonies’ fight for independence. While it is difficult to know exactly how long such

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • An enlightening illustration of the power of narrative for memory

    Not long ago, I was listening to an interview with the renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Before getting to the true subject of the podcast, Tyson and the host were engaged in a freewheeling discussion on a variety of subjects, including Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night” and Longfellow’s poem about Paul Revere’s legendary ride through the streets of colonial Massachusetts.

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The enhanced memory effect of learning through story

    In recent posts, we have seen that my business school students were far better at recalling stories and cases than they were at remembering facts, theory, or the rational discourse of lectures. At the same time that I was observing this enhanced memory effect in my classrooms, I was also finding research that explains why this might be so. In

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling