Home » The Power of Storytelling to Change the World: Dave Lieber (Transcript)

The Power of Storytelling to Change the World: Dave Lieber (Transcript)

But right now, I’m consciously lowering them because I stopped telling a story. Now’s when you can yawn. And it’s kind of interesting. Don’t you think that some of these scientists, as brilliant as they are, cutting-edge research, they had a problem with the story?

They go to the board, the PowerPoint; they go to the bullet points because that’s what they know. And I’ll just suggest, throw out some crazy thought that that’s why sports is more popular than science.

Because sports is a story with a beginning, middle and end, a hero, a villain, a winner, a loser, and science is a lot of numbers and data and questions and work.

I’m going to show you, actually, how to tell the story because everyone needs to tell their story and the story of whatever they’re trying to accomplish. And it’s a simple formula, and I don’t need the board to do it.

Because I can control this space because your mind is so powerful. So here’s the formula.

Okay, pretend I’ve got paint that’s a straight line across where you get to meet the character, and that’s what we just did when you met that character — me, coming here — and then the hero goes out into the world, and the villain knocks the story down into a low point, and the low point of the story, where everything is dark, is the most important.

But then, in any good story, the hero has some heroic qualities that he or she pulls out of his pocket, doesn’t even know they have, and uses those heroic qualities to lift up, pushing up against the villain to the climax of the story, and then the curlicue at the end is the denouement — the loose ends must be tied.

So this is the formula, and that’s what we want. Not bing, bing, bang, bong.

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This story thing started in the caves with the caveman with the story — getting the mastodon. It goes on to the Greek and Roman myths. It’s the Bible — the greatest stories ever told. It’s Shakespeare — the comedy and the tragedy. It’s the Victorian novel. It’s the Nickelodeon, it’s silent movies, it’s loud movies.

It’s TV — the novel of our time is the TV, the happy comedies and the tragedies. We saw that here: we saw Amanda Jackson. The first time you gave spontaneous applause today, in your seat this morning, was when you heard that Amanda Jackson of DeVerse Lounge, when you heard that she gulped when she said her name, and then she attended, and then she got up and spoke and was a star.

And you, your neural brain endings made you applaud. That was cool. That’s what I’m saying.

Dr. Judith Allen tells a story about her brother, and he’s down in the low point; he’s a kid on the couch going… (Snore), and now he’s the chief information officer of Toyota. And of course, my colleague, who works at the Dallas Morning News — long before I got there in May — and was a superstar, Rena Pederson, right out of the gate, she told the story of the Nelson Mandela and Burma, and we were captivated because she knows what I’m talking about.

I have to do this story thing because I’ve been in the newspaper business now for 38 years, writing for daily newspapers. And I’m worried that I’ll spend two days on something and write my heart out, and you’ll just go like that and skip it. Or like that and skip it.

And so I’ve come to depend on the power of the story to get me everywhere. I write a column twice a week where I expose corruption in business and government, Fridays and Sundays. Tomorrow’s column, in the Dallas Morning News — and you can read it on dallasnews.com/watchdog — is the terrible tale of the life and death of a con man. The upshot is he died.

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So let me just — now let me raise your neural endings just a little bit and prove my point because I’ll go back to my story. So I’m going in my downward spiral here in Texas. I mean, I am just not understanding anybody.

People would ask me where I was from; they’d want to hang me. Then these women would hear that I was Jewish, and they’d say, “Well, bless your heart.”

I knew they weren’t blessing my heart; I figured that out after six months.

Look, everybody in Fort Worth was fixing, but no one was ever fixing. Y’all could be singular when used with the plural of y’all, which is what? All y’all.

The crazy thing was the food; it threw me off. I didn’t know what to do with the flat pancake. Someone said you take the tortilla and the guacamole, and you put the meat in there, and you roll it up, and you have a fajita.

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