As an undergrad, I wrote a thesis concerning state-sponsored lottery programs with respect to non-scholarship spending. Real tedious stuff. So, to make the paper interesting and effective, I needed to examine the stories behind the facts and data: "why did the state adopt a lottery program, and who made it happen?" (introduction); "how have particular school, cities, and counties profited from these programs and what do these profits look like?" (body); and "where can we go from here, knowing the total benefits of lottery programs?" (conclusion)?
Granted, the bulk of my paper was statistical analysis, charts, and graphs, but these little stories added value and readability to the paper.
So, when writing a paper about -- say -- biology: draw a picture of the species in its environment. If, for instance, the paper is about the effects of captivity on certain species of elephants, then describe their day-to-day, and do it near the beginning: "A territorial species by nature, the [something] elephants adapt very well to captivity. Tori, the [something] elephant at the Jacksonville Zoo, has even adopted a family cranes, which she fiercely protects from the zoo staff. She sees these fellow-inhabitant cranes as partners in her territory, as members of her pack. In many ways, Tori represents..."
When writing about about finance, there is almost always a story to tell. For instance, if assigned to study recent financial innovations, one must present the backdrop: "In 1982, Congress passed the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act, a bill meant to reconstitute a stalling housing market during Ronald Reagan's deregulation-administration. Congress wanted house-buyers to have more loans and loan styles to choose from. This seemingly innocuous event led to the eventual creation of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), one of the severely predatory financial innovations that caused the Great Recession in 2008. Therefore, modern American financial innovation must conform to the federal government's new-found distrust against the development of new tools..."
The biggest player on the field makes the slow walk from the on-deck circle to the batter's box. The left fielder shouts out something, and the pitcher turns around. Four fingers. The left fielder, who also happens to be the coach of the team, is holding out four fingers. Half of the players on the fielding team have their mouths agape, and the other half nod approvingly. There's a man on second base and one out, after all. The inning ends with three runs scoring, including the batter who was intentionally walked...With this opening, they present not only a memorable story, but the inherent flaws of the previously accepted norm -- that walking excellent batters intentionally is the best move. Later in The Book, they certainly refrain from such ambitious story-telling, but stay true to the need for historical or hypothetical stories -- a tactic we can all learn to love to mimic.
Question, comments, complaints? Please feel free to express yourself in the comments section. Silence shall be interpreted to mean utter and blind acceptance, as well as possible Brad-worship.