SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'If you want to write a novel or a script, read this book' Sunday Times 'The best book on the craft of storytelling I've ever read' Matt Haig 'Rarely has a book engrossed me more, and forced me to question everything I've ever read, seen or written. A masterpiece' Adam Rutherford Who would we be without stories? Stories mould who we are, from our character to our cultural identity. They drive us to act out our dreams and ambitions, and shape our politics and beliefs. We use them to construct our relationships, to keep order in our law courts, to interpret events in our newspapers and social media. Storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. There have been many attempts to understand what makes a good story – from Joseph Campbell's well-worn theories about myth and archetype to recent attempts to crack the 'Bestseller Code'. But few have used a scientific approach. This is curious, for if we are to truly understand storytelling in its grandest sense, we must first come to understand the ultimate storyteller – the human brain. In this scalpel-sharp, thought-provoking book, Will Storr demonstrates how master storytellers manipulate and compel us, leading us on a journey from the Hebrew scriptures to Mr Men, from Booker Prize-winning literature to box set TV. Applying dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, he shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world.