Arthur Brooks: The Power of Stories to Inform: Going Beyond Data to Understand Critical Policy Issues

Nov 12, 2018


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An engaging storyteller in his own right, Brooks will focus on the potential for stories to improve understanding of the top policy issues of the day, such as poverty and climate change. Facts and figures are important, but often overlook the human story behind each data point. “It’s one of the paradoxes of persuasion: Smart people are afraid to tell stories. But while we often resort to facts and figures to get our point across, the truth is that human stories possess the greatest power to convict, persuade, and, most importantly, unite,” Brooks said. “As neuroscientists and behavioral social scientists have demonstrated, the secret to stronger human connection isn’t more data — it’s better stories. By learning to share the narratives of our own lives — and paying closer attention to those of others — we can all become more effective and more unifying leaders in our communities, families, and places of work.” Brooks has been president of AEI since January 2009 and is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at AEI.