Here are a few talks I’ve given on the benefits of collecting stories, as well as several personal stories I’ve told at large story-telling events. People attending my talks have said that, while my message seems so basic — encouraging people to stop and tell and really listen to one another’s stories amidst our busy, modern lives — it is so essential. Over the last decade, Dan Buettner, researcher and writer for National Geographic, has been examining”Blue Zones” around the world, those zones where a disproportionate amount of the population lives disability-free into their hundreds. Why? Certainly, traditions around eating and activity are factors, but of especial importance are our relationships. In those “Blue Zone” regions, such as Okinawa, Japan, people travel through their lives deeply connected to their communities. In Japanese, there are even distinct words which designate a friendship that has lasted over eighty years, over ninety years or over one hundred years. People have on average 15 relationships which they travel through life with, relationships with whom they can share their joys and their sorrows.

In the United States, according to surveys, fifteen years ago, we had three. Today we have one and a half.

We know our modern lives are bad for us. We know isolation kills.

I collect stories as an antidote against our disconnectedness. Stories connect us with what is wise in others and ourselves.

What’s your story?


Here are two stories told at Listen to Your Mother, an storytelling event to commemorate Mother’s Day.

“Oops. Sorry. Thanks.” Listen to Your Mother. 3 May 2014.



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  • "It’s not about statistics. It’s about using individual stories to create that connection, that empathy. Then, rational arguments, like numbers, can play a supporting role."
    - Nicholas Kristof

    "When you’re lost in a good story, it’s not arbitrary, it’s not pleasure for pleasure’s sake. It’s biological, it’s chemical, it’s a survival mechanism."
    - Author Lisa Chron

    "Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds but, in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry — and that’s what it means to be a social creature."
    - Neuroscientist Paul Zak

    "Listening is an act of love."
    - David Isay, StoryCorps