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Words are no more powerful than the stories they tell

While I believe Jared Loughner is mentally ill, I also think it is a good time to discuss the power of words.

What (crazy) story prompted Jared Loughner to try to assassinate Congresswoman Giffords? Did he make his story up from scratch? Probably not. The metaphor of war is so deeply embedded in our American culture we should all take a look in the mirror.

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Contrasts, Not Conflicts

 “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”  Groucho Marx Troublemakers erode trust faster than we can build it back right now. Yet, many of these “troubles” are invented conflicts that distort predictably contrasting values. It helps to know what to look for. And once

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Storyteller’s Confession: My Secret Mission

I’ve been trying to infiltrate the halls of power for decades. My secret mission is to increase the diversity of thought by teaching those without a voice how to tell their stories and by teaching leaders how to find and retell stories that broaden everyone’s understanding.

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 8 of 8

We need a Magic School for Storytellers Thirty years before J. K. Rowling created Harry Potter, Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series imagined a magic school that taught apprentice sorcerers how to avoid abusing the power of magic. Le Guin points out early in the series that “even to light a candle is to cast a

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 7 of 8

Truth in Storytelling When I wrote the first edition of The Story Factor twenty years ago, I began with the idea that people don’t want more information. They want faith in you and your positive intentions. I never suspected that two decades later we’d be discussing an explosion of stories that intentionally undermine this faith. Without

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 6 of 8

The Moral Dilemmas of a Lion, a Scarecrow, and a Tin Man Frank Baum’s original introduction to The Wizard of Oz, written in 1900, made it clear that he felt children no longer needed the stereotypical “old-time fairy tale” that “may now be classed as ‘historical’ in the children’s library.” Baum claimed the time had

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