I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book, and I'm planning to use it with my science communication students at Stanford this fall. But the rock-solid communication approach it delivers will be useful far beyond academia.
Here's the thing about communication: we already know how to do it. The principals of truly effective communication have been worked out not through scientific study or psychological insight, but in the long, unbroken chain of human storytelling that starts somewhere around a campfire a hundred thousand years ago and continues until today. The problem is that some of the people with the most interesting stories to tell - and I think scientists are chief among that group - have forgotten the storytelling lessons that underlie any successful effort in communication. Worse, many have come to see the storytelling approach, used so successfully by everyone from trial lawyers, to politicians, to the entire pop culture nexus known as "Hollywood," as a sell-out move.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and the authors of "Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking" make that abundantly clear. Storytelling is tool, pure and simple. And it can be used to get others excited about your cause, your product, or your science just as effectively as Hollywood uses it to sell tickets and sugar water.
But how can you use the storytelling technique to deliver the message you want to get across? That's the question "Connection" answers, by breaking the most effective storytelling techniques of Hollywood down into a clear, straightforward and achievable three-step approach. It's deceptively simple, and it's going to help a lot of people make a difference with their message.
I look forward to using "Connection" with my science communication students this fall, and I'll recommend it to the scientists I work with, too. But the lessons, insights and exercises in this book apply way beyond the academic world. There isn't a communicator out there - whether that's a salesperson, a CEO, an environmental campaigner, or yes, a scientist - who won't benefit from absorbing the lessons so effectively communicated here.