In 2006, the New York Times Magazine journalist Rob Walker set out to quantify the power of storytelling.
He began by collecting two hundred items of low value (the average cost of each item was $1.25), taking care to ensure that there was nothing special about any of them.
A plastic banana here. An old wooden mallet there. Even a plastic motel room key. You get the idea: they had no intrinsic value, whatsoever.
Next, Walker contacted two hundred authors and invited them to become part of his ‘Significant Object study’. He asked them if they would each write a story about one of the objects and then auctioned all the items on eBay with the stories included in the descriptions.
One of the items was a small, plastic horse’s head which Rob had paid just $0.99 for. What did it sell for now that it had a great story attached to it? $62.95. That’s a markup of over 6300%. – Keith Reinhard
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