It’s In You! Telling Stories Is In Our Dna

Gentry Lee, chief engineer, solar system exploration, Jet Propulsion laboratory

Gentry Lee, chief engineer, solar system exploration, Jet Propulsion laboratory

Peter Guber asked his friend, Gentry Lee, to help him understand how human beings first became story telling machines. Gentry is that unique master scientist who can translate the complexities of the cosmos into language that anyone can understand. He’s currently Chief Engineer for the solar system exploration directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He answered Guber’s question by telling him a story.

“For three billion years,” Gentry said, “Everything that was alive on planet earth was a single cell. And one of the great mysteries that all of us should wonder about – because we wouldn’t be here otherwise – is what caused these cells to suddenly combine and share functions, do different jobs, and communicate. If you’re a single cell, to reproduce you simply split yourself apart and off you go. If you’re two cells trying to reproduce together, it’s much more difficult.

But early cells did somehow manage to talk to each other, and suddenly their combination became more successful. These multi-cellular creatures survived because they shared their functionality and rose to a higher level.”

That reproductive persuasion and sharing of functionality, Gentry said, was the metaphoric equivalent of story telling. “We share ideas. We break our functions into parts and assign them. The net result is that by exchanging stories, we do better as a group.”



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.


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