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Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead and Stay There [Paperback]

Gavin Esler
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Lessons from the Top: The three universal stories that all successful leaders tell Lessons from the Top: The three universal stories that all successful leaders tell 4.6 out of 5 stars (7)
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Book Description

30 Aug 2012

Great leaders have always understood the power of stories. Through the stories they tell, the most successful leaders educate, persuade and bring about change, but we rarely have the background knowledge to explore how they do so. In this hugely insightful guide to getting to the top, leading journalist Gavin Esler presents first-hand knowledge of the secrets of those who achieve power based on over thirty years' experience interviewing world famous figures from Bill Clinton to Angelina Jolie.

Introducing the questions every leader must answer - and the elements that the best stories must contain - Esler explains how creating a leadership story can promote success at all levels, whether running for the United States presidency, or applying for a place at university.

While many essentials of storytelling have stood the test of time, he examines the opportunities and pressures created by twenty-first century phenomena such as 24 hour news, and what they tell us about how to reach the top - and how to judge those already there. Spanning fields from business and culture to the military and even taking in lessons from terrorism, Lessons from the Top offers a fascinating portrait of leadership in the modern world - and shows how the methods of the most powerful leaders could work for you.

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; 1st edition (30 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846684994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846684999
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Gavin Esler brings to his writing the same insight and intelligence he brings to his work on TV. Refreshingly free of cynicism, this book takes some of the most significant events and characters of recent times, and shows how important the art of story-telling has been to all of them. It also has some excellent advice for those telling the stories, and those hearing them. (Alastair Campbell)

'A must-read for all aspiring leaders and speechmakers. Insightful and fascinating -- I loved it!' (Lord Digby Jones)

A book full of great stories which you'll immediately want to share. He's a superb guide to this vital subject. (Philip Delves Broughton, author of Ahead of the Curve - Two Years at Harvard Business School)

The best leaders somehow contrive to make a story about themselves simultaneously a story about us. In this fascinating study, Gavin Esler shows us how they do it. Even if you continue to be beguiled by great stories, this book will at least help you understand how they work (Philip Collins, former chief speech writer for Tony Blair)

This brilliant book has some of the greatest tales of the past two centuries (Wiltshire Society)

Fascinating stuff (The Bookseller The Bookseller)

Book Description

One of Britain's leading journalists and interviewers reveals what the stories that leaders tell can teach us about getting to the top - and staying there

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating non-fiction from a great author 7 Oct 2012
Gavin Esler's ability to write an insightful non-fiction book is tremendous. He explains that politicians, business leaders and celebrities use stories (whether truthful or not) to connect with their followers and portray a certain image of themselves. The anecdotal and personal way in which the book is written made for a humorous and intriguing read. There are few people in as informed a position as Esler, having interviewed so many people from Angela Merkel and Bill Clinton to Dolly Parton and Penelope Cruz. I strongly recommend this book whether for yourself or as a Christmas present for that aspirational loved one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By John
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gavin Esler has a friendly, "story telling" style that makes this book a great and highly educational read. Through illustrating all of his ideas and points with anecdotes of famous world leaders, many gained at first hand, he brings the book to life in a way I had not expected.

I would recommend this to anybody who aspires to be a better leader, to improve their business or organisation, or to help them connect with clients and other interested parties.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of warmth and insight 31 Dec 2012
As you would expect from such an experienced broadcaster, Esler brings considerable insight to the subject. Whilst drawing on his vast experience as an interviewer he does not flaunt his celebrity contacts in the reader's face. Instead, each is is used to helpfully illustrate his central point. He in is incisive, clear and often witty in his analysis of the stories leaders tell and how they use them. Each chapter is helpfully concluded with "leadership lessons" and "followership" lessons. Esler pulls no punches and leaves us in no doubt that we are sometimes manipulated. However, he avoids a headlong plunge into cynicism with a closing chapter to warm the hardest heart.

I shall be returning to this book on many occasions
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for political media advisors. 27 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Esler's wide experience as a journalist and interviewer gives him a unique view of political leaders from 'the other side'.

His insights into the techniques of effective leadership communication go past mere reporting of what he has observed. He proposes a theory that is solidly based and relevant to the third age of political communication. Aspiring politicians could learn a great deal from reading this book.
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