• narratives give meaning to events and circumstances
  • narrative framing gives meaning to identity
  • narratives do not merely reflect personality, but are a component of identity
  • eg, a life story gives meaning to the events a person experienced, weaving them into a coherent whole; and can tell us who they’ll become or what happens next
  • well-constructed narratives influence by triggering identity
  • there are four components to a strategic narrative
    • meaning
    • identity
    • content
    • structure
  • narratives provide meaning to a series of events by holding them together in a certain way
  • narratives can trigger predictable behavior
  • target audience analsysis is often focused on demographic data
  • you need to understand the current identity of an audience to choose a narrative frame
  • narrative can bond narrator to audience, making it difficult to counter regardless of facts
  • this guide is weak on content; expected for manipulative spooks
  • structure is the way content is relayed in a narrative
  • structure and content can be culturally dependent
  • one example is Aristotle in the West:
    • harmonious state of affairs
    • conflict
    • resolution and catharsis
  • narrative terrain is the ability to recognize foreign ones, composed of new stories, structures, and narratives (?)
  • the “problem” the authors point to in Western narratives is only a “problem” when lying or manipulating; inner integration and consistency work when truth telling
  • the authors seem to miss this critical fact: inner integration and consistency reflect a Western pursuit of enlightened truth, which their work is at odds with
  • trying to say that narrratives do not reflect objective reality exemplifies this; underscored by saying narratives represent the interests of power
  • this book tries to make grand claims about narratives that are partly untrue; the authors’ self narratives is leaking into their narrative about narratives
  • the authors seem to be conflating their manipulative usage of narratives with the general topic; eg, narratives can allow for alternative narratives to co-exist
  • audiences should feel that they’re recognizing a presentation of reality; not doing that makes a narrative fall flat
  • an example is that narratives should reflect a familiar structure to the audience
  • both content and structure should be familiar


  1. The four components of narratives are:
    • meaning – the overall meaning that is given to the collection of facts
    • identity – how the narrative relates to layers of identity
    • content – facts and other inclusions within the narrative
    • structure – the way that the narrative is composed
  2. (See definitions above.)
  3. Narratives which do not align with the (cultural) identity of the audience “fall flat” because the listener doesn’t view them as a reflection of reality.
  4. Liars and manipulators become transparent when failing to be internally consistent; not a real “problem”, but rather a frustration of the authors.