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The Myth Of The Gifted Storyteller


Over and over again, we’ve heard people like Steve Jobs described as ‘a gifted storyteller’. We’ve come to believe that storytelling is an art reserved for the chosen few—that great storytellers are born, not made. How can that possibly be true?

What all great storytellers have in common is more than a talent for storytelling. They aren’t ‘naturals’ or ‘born storytellers’. What they are is ‘practised storytellers.’

Last weekend I was at an event where the legendary author Margaret Atwood spoke. When someone asked if she read fiction and why, she told the audience she reads to understand. ‘I want to know how they did that,’ she said. One of the best storytellers of our generation, a woman who has twice won the Booker Prize, whose books sell in their millions, reads other people’s stories to learn from them and make her stories better.

Storytelling is an act, something you practice—a skill you can learn and get better at.

*The Story Skills Workshop is back by popular demand. We open for registration on March 3rd. You can register for more information by visiting here.

Image by David Geller

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