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Latest Research Review Now Available

By B. Helton
Nov 4, 2009

A Case Study with definition-formed example stories has just been completed by Open4Definition. The results are startling.

We found that authors rarely if ever directly use the word definition in those example stories that were by our criteria clearly definition-reliant. We believe that this same omission occurs subconsciously in much of what happens in everyday life.

In an effort to better understand the latent power of definitions we reviewed fifty-five recent non-fiction, story-rich books in two original, customized genres: a) books about under-recognized patterns in life and b) books on new, uncommon, unexpected or radical ways of thinking or viewing the world.

While this review is on-going we are pleased to report preliminary results. Thus far we have identified 260 definition-formed example stories within these books. The books reviewed range from the well known including Outliers and Freakonomics to more specialized ones such as The Invention of Clouds, Life Without Lawyers and The Wisdom of Crowds.

From these many stories, sixty-six were selected as "A List" stories. We then mined these examples for use within this Case Study. We also complemented these results with a number of definition-rich stories from other existing Open4Definition Resources.

Plainly, definition-formed stories were used to support a wide and varied range of premises within a variety of books by an expansive range of thinkers and leading authorities. In the business best seller, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, for instance, he promises to reveal how hidden patterns work so readers can "deliberately start and control positive epidemics of [their] own".

It is also notable that the definition-rich stories that we unearthed support one of Open4Definition’s central hypotheses:

Definitions shape mankind’s largest and yet most under-recognized pattern.

It is ironic. Definition-formed stories silhouette the premises of many noted authors in a variety of books. Definitions also clearly overlay their narratives in an unexpected way to often form a story within their stories. Possibly, and even more interestingly, definitions are almost completely under-recognized as being central within the also under-recognized patterns presented in the books reviewed. Said metaphorically, definition-forms are a hidden and significant slice of each pie baked by these authors.

Click to read the Open4Definition Case Study on this subject.

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