Author Archives: Chuck Snearly

Speechwriters Are The Most Important People In Any Organization

My apologies for the clickbait headline. It is a fictional construction designed to help make a serious and valid point. My hope is that your instincts kick in and you keep reading to see what happens next.

Speechwriters have long known what neuroscientists, psychologists and evolutionary biologists are now proclaiming: humans are hard wired for storytelling and listening. Stories instruct us, inspire us, and bring us together – for good and bad.

Historian Yuval Noah Harari believes that about 70,000 years ago our species – homo sapiens – became the most dominant animal on Earth because of our ability to tell stories about things that don’t exist in the physical world. In his book Sapiens, he calls this the “Cognitive Revolution” and explains how the ability to communicate fictional things – legends, myths, origin stories – enabled us to cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers, which over time led to us ruling the world. He believes that all forms of large-scale human cooperation – nations, religions, economic and legal systems, corporations – are rooted in common narratives that exist in people’s imaginations. A new book by English professor Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, adds the latest scientific research to this argument, explaining how storytelling is a fundamental human instinct that has evolved to ensure our survival. We shape the stories and the stories shape us.

It’s great to see science and academia validating and illuminating this age-old story, but you know an idea’s time has really come when it is embraced by popular culture. In the Game of Thrones series finale more than 15 million viewers watched Tyrion Lannister declare “There’s nothing more powerful in the world than a good story,” which the noble families of Westeros then used as a criterion to choose a new king. Some fans said the screenwriters should have paid more attention to Tyrion’s message themselves when they wrote the script, but that’s another story.

The point being made here is that stories are vitally important to any organization, including businesses: no story, no deal. Therefore speechwriters – the storytellers – are vitally important. Good leaders provide the vision and direction, but speechwriters refine and define the message. They write the narrative that brings people together to get the job done. Late plot twist: I am a speechwriter myself, so I can’t resist concluding with a call to action. If you are a business leader, please buy your speechwriter lunch, give him or her a raise, or just say thanks. That would give this story a happy ending.

The Ugly American

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List I played the Trump card a few months ago and not much happened.  I am playing it again now with lowered expectations but no loss of hope. The circumstances and timing are too good to pass up:  Trump is in Scotland bragging about how the… Continue Reading

Playing the Trump Card

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List Desperate times call for desperate measures. It may be time for me to play the Trump card. A little background: I am not a political person, at least publicly, and especially not over the internet. From what I have observed, there are only two sides,… Continue Reading

The Review is In!

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List I entered my novel in the 3rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards last year, and have just contacted me with the results. No, I didn’t win. But they said so many nice things about my book that I find it hard to believe I… Continue Reading

You Pays to Advertise

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List I haven’t posted in awhile because I was waiting to see the results of my experiment in advertising. The results are in. They are encouraging, but inconclusive. Here’s the story: After looking around and comparing audience demographics, reach, cost and other factors, I decided to… Continue Reading

You Gotta Have Art

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List “You Gotta Have Art” was a series of TV commercials that aired in the 1970s to promote the Detroit Institute of Arts. It is also an accurate description of what you need for your front cover when you publish a book. The snappy jingle from… Continue Reading

Secret: Agent, man!

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List As is the case with virtually everyone else who has ever written a book, self-publishing was not my first choice. I wanted a major (or minor, or any) publisher to take on the task of making my novel available to the public. And why not?… Continue Reading

Origin Story

My Journey to the Top of the Best Seller List Before we proceed any further on our climb to the top, in the tradition of comic book heroes and movie sequels I would like to take a moment to explain the origins of The Guardian of Detritus. I’m hoping this will be interesting to curious… Continue Reading

The Twitter Addendum

This sounds like a spy thriller but it is just my way of adding one more weapon to my social media assault: tweeting. I have been advised by a social media expert that tweeting about my book will be much more effective than blogging or posting on Facebook, so I have opened a Twitter account… Continue Reading