Sharing Stories

Why stories need to be told and where to find good ones.

There's an African proverb that goes, "It takes a whole village to raise a child" and for one night the Hendricks Chapel became that village.  

Last night, instead of coming home to a nice, warm meal, I squeezed myself in a pew on the balcony of Hendricks Chapel to see Muhammad Yunus talk.  In the course of two hours, he didn't say anything radically different from what I had read of his work, but nevertheless his words re-infected me--and the rest of the audience as well.  


University Lectures

Of all the three lectures I attended (see blog posts here and here), his was the most humble.  Dressed in a shalwar kameez and nehru jacket of varying earth tones, he spoke simply without any gimmicks and without any planned puns either. He was one man on-stage just narrating what has come before. (See an overview of his talk here.)

While sitting and listening to Mr. Yunus' calm cadence, I realized once again the power of a story.  Stories are there to remind us of what can be and what has gone before, so we can make our own hopefully wiser decisions. They are tales of caution, but some are tales of inspiration.  Good lectures are like drugs--the good and addicting kind.  They give us the second wind to keep on doing the good work we do, or to finally start something we've been meaning to do.  Without stories (and may I add, good journalists to retell these tales), the world would lose much of its inspiration. 

So, to  honor great stories, here are some places to pick up a thing or two: 

1. TED Talks- Undoubtedly one of the world's favorite places to find mind-blowing talks from researchers, educators, philosophers, any one with an outstanding story to tell. True to their motto, TED talks are "ideas worth spreading." Spread liberally. 

Check out Sir Ken Robinson on creativity in education, Stefan Sagmeister on the power of time off, and Alain de Botton on success.

2. Pop Tech- I love their title! That alone should get you to click on any of their talks.  Like TED, a mix of people come to lecture, but it focuses most on creativity and technology. Designers and creative spirits will enjoy their popcasts, as they call it.

3. YouTube- I know, I know.  It's not really a resource, but if you're good you can find a lot going on here.  

Check out Cooper Hewitt's conversation with MObama designer Maria Pinto and Milton Glaser, the brains behind the iconic I heart New York logo. 

Of course, let's not forget the good stuff we produce in Newhouse: 

1. The NewsHouse (shameless self-promotion here).  

2. The Fall Workshop - These videos are a result of one weekend where photojournalism students from Newhouse spend one weekend immersed in a sleepy town, alongside professional photojournalists. What they come up with just goes to show that there is a story everywhere--I mean, everywhere. 

3. University Lectures - Hey, it's free and it's good. I've already gone to three without even realizing it.  What more do I have to say? Take the time, bring a sandwich to munch on before the talk and heave yourself over to Hendricks Chapel. 

Failing all of these, keep your eyes peeled. Read the posters and make the time. Get out and get your wisdom on.


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