What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough
FOREWORD BY TIM SMIT. A brilliant analysis of how it is stories, rather than facts and pie-charts, that have the power to animate us and bring us together to tackle the major issues of our time: climate change, mass migration, inequality and resource scarcity.
Why, with absolutely no idea what Brexit actually meant, did the UK vote for Brexit?
Why, rather than vote for the best-qualified candidate ever to stand as US President, did voters opt for a reality TV star with no political experience?
In both cases, the winning side promised change and offered hope. They told a story voters longed to hear. And in the absence of greater, more unifying narratives, then true or not, voters plumped for the best story available.
Once upon a time our society was rich in stories. They brought us together and helped us to understand the world and ourselves. We called them myths. Today, we have a myth gap – a vacuum that Alex Evans argues powerfully and persuasively is both dangerous and an opportunity.
In this time of global crisis and transition– mass migration, inequality, resource scarcity, and climate change - It is stories, rather than facts and pie-charts,that will animate us and bring us together. It is by finding new myths, those that speak to us of renewal and restoration, that we will navigate our way to a better future.
Drawing on his first-hand experience as a political adviser within British government and at the United Nations, and examining the history of climate change campaigning and recent contests such as Brexit and the US presidential election, Alex Evans explores:
*how tomorrow’s activists are using narratives for change,
* how modern stories have been used and abused,
* where we might find the right myths that will take us forward
“Very short, very sharp”
Bruce Clark, Economist
“Pertinent… Evans is an attractive and persuasive writer … his book will strike many chords’”
Allan Massie, Scotsman
“An important book about the need to bring inspiring narratives back to the heart of progressive politics ... This has traction because it has truth, literally as well as metaphorically.”
“A really fascinating contribution to answering the question: how do we find new myths to live by.”
Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury
“Everyone should read this.”
“The Myth Gap is a beautiful synthesis of wisdom for the times we're in. Alex Evans melds deep insights from both scholarship and the front lines of social change to provide a perspective that may be essential to human survival. It's a must read for anyone considering how to save the world.”
Ricken Patel, President & CEO, AVAAZ
“Alex Evans gives us a glimpse of what campaigning could deliver if we focussed on binding people together based on shared ideas. It couldn't be a more urgent task and we couldn't have a clearer or more necessary handbook.”
Kirsty McNeill, director of policy and campaigns, Save the Children
“This world has the potential to be a paradise for humanity but only if we change our world view. Alex Evans proposes another way of seeing and working.”
Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
“The Myth Gap takes on the most important and also most difficult problem of our day with rigor and creativity. Evans is not afraid to ask the big questions and he provides answers where other observers have stopped short. For anyone trying to contribute to a solution to global issues like climate change, this book is well worth your time.”
Jonah Sachs, author of The Story Wars
“Our model of progress is broken. If we’re going to find ways of enabling all people to live sustainably on Planet Earth, we need an new story about what progress really means – and Alex Evans’s ‘The Myth Gap’ opens up some storylines that are both inspiring and provocative.”
Jonathon Porritt, Founding Director of Forum for the Future