On Primate Behavior

Jane Goodall draws some surprising analogies.

By any measure, primatologist Jane Goodall has changed the world for the better, through her revolutionary chimpanzee research and pioneering conservation work. I heard Goodall speak at a conference years ago — I was a chauffeur for a science-class field trip — but her words made an indelible impression on me (and got the attention of the much-harder-to-impress seventh-graders I was riding herd over).

I wasn’t surprised to read recently that, in persuading others of the need for change, Goodall leans less heavily on her intellect than on her ability to make connections. She told the Harvard Business Review:

It’s important to tell stories. Sometimes you’re told, you’ll never change so-and-so’s mind. But if you can be one-on-one with that person and tell a couple of stories… You usually can’t change people’s minds by the intellect. You’ve got to find something that reaches into their hearts.

You can read the entire interview with Goodall here.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.