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May 19, 2022

In this talk, David Allyn argues that the stories we tell ourselves about the past can have dramatically negative consequences in the personal and professional lives. He shows how “thinking like a historian” can liberate from the trap of false beliefs and give the power to transform the lives. David Allyn’s book We Can’t Believe We Just Did That explores the shame-based stories we tell ourselves that interfere with the ability to be happy and to communicate effectively. His book Make Love, Not War chronicles the rise of sexual liberation movements in the 1960s and the stories people told as they opposed those movements. His essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. He has taught at Princeton University, Marymount College Manhattan, and Avenues: The World School in New York City. He holds a BA in Literature & Society from Brown University and earned his PhD in History from Harvard University. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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