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The Uses of Enchantment

by Bruno Bettelheim
To change a person’s behaviour, one first needs to change their beliefs.  To change a person’s beliefs, one first needs to make the person want to change.  To make a person want to change is to have them think differently.  To help people think differently we use stories.  The Uses of Enchantment is a powerful discourse on stories and their effect on children’s minds. There are many parallels however, between the child and child-like thinking and adult and adult-like thinking; too many for this book just to be used for children.  The professional leader / manager needs a high level of skill in story-telling.  This will enable them to change thinking patterns, challenge assumption and raise new questions in the minds of their followers / employees.  More so, it will enable them to do this in a positive, non-threatening manner that with time can become exciting and enthralling for their people.  Bettelheim’s work introduces the would-be story-teller to the basics of narrative through fairytales we all remember ourselves as children.
Daryle Abrahams, September 2008
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