Storytelling plays a consequential role in every aspect of our lives, from our politics to our arts to our economy. How can we use storytelling to battle indifference?

On November 16, professors Guy Rolnik and Vu Tran came together to discuss why storytelling matters from their individual perspectives: Guy Rolnik as clinical professor of strategic management, and founder and chief editor of the leading Israeli business newspaper TheMarker; Vu Tran as associate professor of practice in the arts at the University of Chicago, and author of the novel Dragonfish, a New York Times Notable Book.

The two professors and storytellers engaged in a spirited discussion about the power of narratives in our daily lives and in our identities and how we can improve our own storytelling skills. Their conversation was moderated by  Alison Cuddy, the Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

This virtual event was part of the series A Meeting of the Minds: Business and the Human, sponsored by Booth and the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge. The series brings together faculty members from Booth, the humanities, and related fields to lead us to a richer grasp of the economic human being.

Watch the event recording

Guy Rolnik black and white headshot

Guy Rolnik

Rolnik is a clinical professor of strategic management at Booth. For the past 28 years, he has lived and worked at the intersection of business, finance, regulation, politics, and the media. First as a financial journalist and editor, later as a business entrepreneur and founder of a media company, and in the last decade as a policy entrepreneur—using media to drive structural reforms in the economy. Rolnik’s work as founder and chief editor of a leading business newspaper dramatically influenced the ideas, norms, and values in Israeli political economy and brought about significant changes in regulatory policies and legislation.

Guy Rolnik
Vu Tran black and white headshot

Vu Tran

Tran is an associate professor of practice in the arts at the University of Chicago. He is a novelist and short story writer whose fiction primarily concerns the Vietnamese diaspora in America and the ongoing and inherited effects of displacement. His first novel, Dragonfish, was a 2015 New York Times Notable Book. His fiction has also appeared in publications such as the O. Henry Prize Stories and the Best American Mystery Stories. He won a 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award for Fiction, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and other organizations.

Vu Tran

Event Moderator

Alison Cuddy

Alison Cuddy

Alison Cuddy is the Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival, where she leads the creative direction of the festival. She brings more than 15 years experience developing humanities programming for diverse publics, including 10 years at WBEZ, the NPR affiliate in Chicago. There she gained a national profile as the host of the stations’ award-winning flagship program Eight Forty-Eight, and helped launch Odyssey, a nationally syndicated talk show of arts and ideas. Cuddy moderates public forums in partnership with many of the city’s cultural institutions and community organizations. She has an MA in English from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA in cinema studies from Concordia University, in Montreal. In 2019, she was appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to cochair the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council. She also serves on the boards of the Arts Club of Chicago and The Chicago Reader.

Alison Cuddy