Monday Morning Boost: Storytellers Crosby & Benedict

Monday Morning Boost: Storytellers Crosby & Benedict

I confess I don’t have much of a connection to David Crosby. Well, not until recently.

I was introduced to Crosby, a founding member of the groups Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Byrds, by Jeff Benedict. Unbeknownst to him, Jeff has become one of my writing mentors and has greatly influenced my style of storytelling.

Crosby and Benedict have teamed up on a couple of projects. Last year Crosby wrote the theme song “Home Free” for the movie Little Pink House based on Jeff’s book of the same name. Crosby performed a Memorial Day fundraising concert for Benedict’s non-profit Institute for Writing and Mass Media at Southern Virginia University.

It was Benedict’s persuasive words that introduced me to Crosby’s soulful voice.

“David is one of the more thoughtful and thought-provoking people I know. He is a poet who writes music that reflects the things he cares about — peace, love, understanding.”

The story caught my attention.
The story persuaded me to try something new.
The story led me down a path where I discovered Things We Do For Love.

These are the things
These are the things we do
These are the things
These are the things we do
For love


On a recent visit to Crosby’s home in southern California, Jeff Benedict and his son Tennyson enjoyed a vibrant discussion with the musician. They discussed Jimmy Hendrix and John Lennon, politics, and American history. Benedict called it “an eye-opening experience” for his son. Tennyson said it was “a little more stimulating than college.”

Maybe it had a little to do with one of the other subjects the three explored: writing and the power of words.

David uses lyrics, words set to music, to cause us as the listener to experience an emotional feeling. Emotional feelings often compels us to action.

That’s the power of a great story to connect and persuade.


Pau Zak said it.

“Everyone can relate to a great story.”

While potentially very obvious, Zak, who is the director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, is studying the science behind How Stories Change the Brain, asking “why” we are attracted to stories.

Zak points out the “hero’s journey” story formula is “the foundation for more than half of the movies that come out of Hollywood, and countless books of fiction and nonfiction.”

Everyone loves when the hero saves the day.

I’ve long taught a great story will create a longer lasting and more persuasive connection between businesses and consumers than simply spewing forth facts. The research Zac is doing is verifying I’ve been on the right track.

Our brains love stories, as Zac points out.

Stories are an effective way to transmit important information and values from one individual or community to the next. Stories that are personal and emotionally compelling engage more of the brain, and thus are better remembered, than simply stating a set of facts.


Stories can help us stay relevant through generations. Whether we’re a business trying to relate to millennials, or a parent wanting to stay active in the life of a growing child, stories can build common bridges of understanding.

Look at what David Crosby is doing with his music.

David, according to Benedict, “is the rare musician who is producing more music in his seventies than most musicians make in their twenties.”


Part of Crosby’s continual success in the finicky music business is writing and performing music that continues to connect. To help with this, he has “surrounded himself with a new band composed of young, super talented musicians.”

Rolling Stone called Crosby’s latest album, “Lighthouse,” his “finest since the Seventies.”

Benedict shared this snippet from the Rolling Stone article:

“Lights twinkle, flicker, blaze, and sparkle throughout David Crosby’s finest solo album since his melancholy 1971 masterpiece ‘If I could Only Remember My Name.’ A subtly cohesive set of tunes reflecting Crosby’s politics, spirituality and emotional maturity, ‘Lighthouse’ is an unusually robust late-career move radiating inventive musicianship, relaxed self-assurance and gently cantankerous autumnal wisdom.”

If you haven’t already, go back up and listen to the Things We Do For Love.


The story caught my attention.
The story persuaded me to try something new.
The story led me down a path where I discovered new things.

Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.


p.s. Take 13 minutes today to enjoy a little soulful storytelling from David Crosby. Here’s one more of Crosby singing on the Jimmy Fallon Show last month.

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