Persuasion and Story Telling

First and foremost, we’d like to thank UBS Wealth Manager Jason Macaluso for joining our discussion and sharing his insights last week. As we enter the home stretch of the semester, we may wish to keep two particular insights in mind.

One is Jason’s emphasis on telling timeless stories. He purposefully avoids posting podcasts on his web page that cover “timely” financial market developments that quickly become dated and obsolete. Instead, he focuses on telling stories about successful individuals, stories that address timeless themes.

Another is Jason’s use of color-coding personalities in order to customize his verbal delivery style. A persuasive argument that is simply logical and accurate may be ineffective if it is not conveyed in a manner that suits an audience.

Please continue to think about these insights as you turn your focus to the second phase of our term projects. And this week, please consider the effectiveness of the story-telling approaches that are adopted by the authors of this week’s reading assignments.

What are our assignments? In advance of Wednesday’s class, please read a 13 page chapter of Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring. Chapter 8 is entitled And No Birds Sing.

Chapter 8 is one of 17 chapters; in its 2002 edition, it was printed over 26 of 378 pages. Because Chapter 8 represents much less than 10% of the text, and it is not relatively more important than any other text content, we are distributing it to you under the fair use laws. Please click on the Documents link of our blog web page and (in the Handouts sub-folder) download the PDF handout entitled Silent Spring.

Then, in advance of Thursday’s class, please read Herman Melville’s short story Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street. It is available at no cost on the Project Gutenberg web site.

As you read these stories, please think about the underlying themes that motivated the authors to write these texts. Then please ask yourself how they utilized the technique of storytelling to convey their perspectives.

These two works represent the last classic historical and literary readings that you will ever discuss in a Civ class. We will likely welcome a guest instructor or two to our classroom next week to join our discussion, and to provide illustrative detail about these insights.

As we (finally) begin to experience some spring-like weather, it is truly important to hear the message of Silent Spring. And as we reach the end of our sophomore year and begin to ponder our future careers, it is incredibly important to heed the warning of Bartleby the Scrivener.