Kendall Haven

Story Consultant / Author / Master Storyteller

Stanford University's
For topical expertise in story science, neural story research, and storytelling through Stanford’s MediaX program dedicated to “harnessing the drive of industry with the genius of Stanford to change the world.”

The step-by-step user’s guide to the neural and cognitive science that controls story engagement and influence. 2014

The first-ever scientific proof that "story structure" is an information delivery system powerhouse, evolutionarily hardwired into human brains.

35 fiction & nonfiction books with 400 original stories totaling over 1,500,000 words.

Story Consultant for:
20 Federal Government departments/​agencies, 30 corporations & organizations, 235 school districts

18,000 stories to 4,000,000 children
and 900,000 adults.

• 150 featured conference presentations
• writing and storytelling workshops to 370,000 students and 60,000 teachers.


Kendall Haven’s two seminal books have revolutionized our understanding of stories—of the science of story, of the neurology of story, and of the relationship between the human brain and story.

STORY PROOF (the evidence—2009) and STORY SMART (the experiments and application—2014) are essential resources for every person—in any field— who needs to persuade, inspire, influence, inform, or teach!

We have finally been able to peer inside the human brain and see why stories are so alluring, powerful, and effective.

Story consultant Kendall Haven is a nationally recognized expert on the structure of story and on the Eight Essential Elements that form the foundation of successful stories. His continuing neural and cognitive story research has led him to identify the Make Sense Mandate, the Neural Story Prism, The Eight Essential Elements, The Curse of Knowledge, Motive Matching, Influence Triggers, and the first and only explicit and quantitative model of Story Influence that explains how to use story elements to extend and exert persuasive influence.

Haven’s acclaimed book, STORY PROOF: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story presents the first-ever proof that “story structure” is an information delivery system powerhouse, evolutionarily hardwired into human brains. His follow-on, STORY SMART: Using the Science of Story to persuade, Inspire, Influence and Teach, (2014) lays out the latest neural and cognitive research on story engagement, story power, empathy, story influence, and the process for merging your themes and messages into effective, powerful story architecture.

Your brain has been evolutionarily hardwired to think, to understand, to make sense, and to remember in specific story terms and elements.

For 150,000 years, humans have relied on story structure to communicate and to archive history, knowledge, facts, events, beliefs, concepts, and attitudes. Evidence Haven gathered from 16 fields of scientific research (from neural and evolutionary biology, to developmental psychology, to knowledge and information management theory, and, of course, to storytelling and writing) has shown that the human historical reliance on story both to communicate and to remember essential learning and information has evolutionarily rewired human brains so that we are born hardwired to automatically think, understand, make sense, and remember through stories. Applying this emerging science of story is the key to the art of effective engagement and communication.

Kendall Haven is the first storyteller to merge the power of story science with the wisdom gained through decades of story performance and story writing.

A senior research scientist turned award-winning author, speaker, master storyteller, and nationally recognized subject expert on the structure and use of story, Haven has authored 35 books and has performed for world-wide audiences of over 5 million. The first researcher to ever conduct controlled, in-lab EEG experimental tests of story structures, Haven now assists agencies, organizations, companies, and schools to master the use and power of story (and of the specific elements that build the structure of effective stories) as they discover, form, and craft stories that have allure and impact, and that stick with listeners for years.

If you don’t provide the essential story elements of your story for your target audience, they will invent them on their own—and they’ll always get it wrong.

Every organization has stories they need to tell—stories about important concepts, causes, groups of people, ideas, brands, or about the organization, itself. These stories can be for internal organizational purposes or for external (outreach) use. Haven has uncovered the scientific proof that illuminates both the power of, and the structure of, effective stories and has developed a unique process that guides client organizations to define, discover, and craft their vital messages into effective story structures that will improve the success of their communications and widen and deepen their impact.

However, many companies, agencies, and organizations never develop the narratives that successfully tell those key stories. Studies have shown that as many as 30% of non-profit messaging is actually counter productive. As basic as story and storytelling are to human brains, it turns out not to be so easy to do when it’s your story. Haven works with each organization to leverage their existing strengths and story material and amplify and project those core messages by effectively merging them with the elements of story architecture.

• Association of American Universities, Washington DC
• Maricopa County Assessor’s Office, Phoenix AZ
• Arizona State University, Graduate Business Management Program
• University of Southern California School of Business
• Institute For The Future, Palo Alto, CA (IFTF)
• University of Missouri’s School of Medicine
• Boeing Corp.—DARPA 2012 Narrative Networks Research Project
• Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
• World Bank
• NASA Earth Science Division
• U.S. Navy
• National Park Service
• GORE Medical Products Division
• Center for Genetics and Society
• Tufts University School of Medicine
• Jet Propulsion Laboratory
• San Francisco Presidio Trust and Conservancy
• Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems, International
• Northrop Grumman Corp., Space Science Division
• Storm Center Communications
• Intific Corp.
• International Festivals & Events Assn.
• International Storytelling Center
• U.S. Special Operations Command
• Mountain States Health Alliance
• United Way America
• ABC-CLIO Video Podcasts
• Sonoma County Volunteer Center
• American Cancer Society of California
• 235 School Districts worldwide
• 23 Universities in the U.S. and Taiwan

CONTACT: 707-322-2061