Paul Zak's research is uncovering how stories shape our brains, tie strangers together, and move us to be more empathic and generous.
That’s what Ben’s father says to the camera as we see Ben play in the background. Ben is two years old and doesn’t know that a brain tumor will take his life in a matter of months.
Ben’s father tells us how difficult it is to be joyful around Ben because the father knows what is coming. But in the end he resolves to find the strength to be genuinely happy for Ben’s sake, right up to Ben’s last breath.
Everyone can relate to this story. An innocent treated unfairly, and a protector who seeks to right the wrong—but can only do so by finding the courage to change himself and become a better person.
A recent analysis identifies this “hero’s journey” story as the foundation for more than half of the movies that come out of Hollywood, and countless books of fiction and nonfiction. And, if you take a look, this structure is in the majority of the most-watched TED talks.
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