Of all the concepts in my comment above, the one it covers most in-depth is "theme" (the book calls it "armature," but same idea).
The main argument of the book is that storytelling is an evolved survival mechanism, and that every great story conveys a single piece of survival information (think the morals of Aesop's fables).
Every other technique discussed in the book is built atop that fundamental truth, and exists to help the storyteller prove that piece of survival information.
In fact, I recall a Pixar writer said it was one of his favorite books.
Actually, I found it (same blog):
Apparently the author claims neither he nor Pixar came up with it.