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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to use "once upon a time" all of the time
Annette Simmons is thoroughly convincing in her assertion that the best way to influence and inspire others is to tell stories. Unfortunately, she is a bit heavy-handed on the "why" of storytelling, which she explains in depth in every chapter, and a shade light regarding "how" to accomplish her lofty goals. Simmons explains that telling people an engaging story is far...
Published on 11 Dec 2006 by Rolf Dobelli

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read
I was really inspired to learn more about power of (organizational) storytelling after reading a few well written articles in Harvard Business Review. However, biggest chunk of this book is spent on explaining benefits of storytelling even though anyone can very quickly understand these.

Books fails to give practical hints on HOW to craft an authentic story,...
Published on 17 Aug 2008 by Bozidar Jovicevic


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read, 17 Aug 2008
By 
Bozidar Jovicevic (Athes, Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Paperback)
I was really inspired to learn more about power of (organizational) storytelling after reading a few well written articles in Harvard Business Review. However, biggest chunk of this book is spent on explaining benefits of storytelling even though anyone can very quickly understand these.

Books fails to give practical hints on HOW to craft an authentic story, where to start your search, how to create your personal "story bank"...

My biggest disappointment is that the book doesn't contain exciting stories in order to transfer a message?!

I would recommend "Storytelling" by Klaus Fog, really well written and full of advice coming from an experienced storytelling consultant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to use "once upon a time" all of the time, 11 Dec 2006
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Paperback)
Annette Simmons is thoroughly convincing in her assertion that the best way to influence and inspire others is to tell stories. Unfortunately, she is a bit heavy-handed on the "why" of storytelling, which she explains in depth in every chapter, and a shade light regarding "how" to accomplish her lofty goals. Simmons explains that telling people an engaging story is far more persuasive than reciting facts and figures, or showing a PowerPoint presentation. To illustrate her position, Simmons uses good stories and parables as examples. She describes the six categories of stories you can use to connect with and influence people, and she offers suggestions on how to become a prolific, entertaining storyteller. This is not a typical "how-to" book with lists of things to do, but it is instructive and useful. We recommend it to anyone who is interested in the art of persuasion or who loves a good yarn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and compelling, 7 Nov 2009
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Paperback)
I work as a speechwriter and this book is so uplifting. Simmons shows that we've got too much information, but at the same time an unsatisfied appetite for good stories. She says many wise things and provides many persuasive examples. Every corporate communicator should read this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling. Why a good ol' story survives the Dungeons and Dragons., 8 Jun 2010
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Paperback)
At about 6.00 o'clock on Monday morning July. 19, 1987, a ragged, fatigued middle aged man of 42 collapsed near Victoria Station. CCTV footage captured intermittent crowds shuffling past the dying man, no doubt assuming him to be a morning drunk. He lays there alone for a short time, dazed and in agony, doubled up with abdominal pains.

Later that day police release a statement to the public -

"Officers are investigating the identity and circumstances surrounding the death which is assumed to have been alcohol related."

The facts, however, suggest otherwise. When eventually discovered by a policeman, the man's ears, nose and lips were sky-blue frozen. During the hottest spell in England for 75 years, this was no ordinary morning drunk.

Story has an effect on people that is nigh on impossible to put a finger on. When done right, it's simply spellbounding. Story is the compilation of countless ingredients, but separate them, and any trace of story disappears. Author of The Story Factor, Annette Simmons, conveys this point with a great analogy -

"It's like cutting the kitten in half to see why it is cute."

So what are the elusive elements that create a good story? What's the psychology behind storytelling? Is story telling reserved only for those bleeding charisma and with a gift for the gab?

As well as answering these questions, this is a book that sets out to put the facts straight. Facts, however, are boring. Story is the medium of choice here. So open the door to your imagination and leave your pie charts in the conference room.

Annette Simmons evangelizes the art of storytelling, and has almost single handedly pioneered this form of influence throughout the world of business. She runs Group Process Consulting*, a company that teaches business people throughout the world how story can be used to inspire and persuade.

Appropriately enough, we are introduced to the book with a story. While it doesnt introduce us to the content of the book, it does lay the foundation for the premise of the book. It's a book about influence. Influence in a way that mere facts and figures can't hope to achieve. This poignant introduction sets the bar...

"As an African American man got up to speak, this man [in the audience] turned to his wife and whispered something in an irritated tone that included the word "nigra."

The man on stage proceeds to tell his story and ends with a song. Full of emotion, his broken singing voice demands the audience's involvement. And they sing together -- not a dry eye in the house.

"If a radical African American activist could touch the heart of an ultraconservative racist farmer - well, I wanted to know how to do that, too."

And so to do I, with pointy ears and a meerkat-like posture.

"Before anyone allows you to influence them, they want to know, 'Who are you and why are you here?'"

Annette postulates that there are six types of stories you need to know in order to influence effectively -

* "Who Am I" stories
* "Why Am I Here" stories
* "The Vision" stories
* "Teaching" stories
* "Values in Action" stories
* "I Know What You Are Thinking" stories

While I won't elaborate on each type of story I will outline the importance of the top two. Before these questions are answered, in the eyes of your listener you are just another one dimensional Tom, Dick, or Harry. But by enabling an audience to relate to you on a human level -- family, laughter, travel, death -- they see you through a different light. They lower their guards through understanding this shared humanity, and no longer see you as a distant set of statistics and 'hollow' promises.

"I have seen many leaders use the power of a story of a personal flaw to great effect."

I've already made a distinction between story and fact, there really is no comparison. Facts are dry, they are unrelatable on a human level and unless they are backed up by futher data (boring!) they mean nothing. If facts were the bones, then story would be the meat. Unless you're an osteologist or isomniac, facts are best left to those with thick spectacles.

"'I am a statistician and this will be the most boring one hour of your life.' He then told some silly story about how his last group needed resuscitation. We loved it."

Aside from the use of words, we are conveying meaning on so many other levels. At times, words can be the least important aspect of our communication. Body language is hugely influencial, if your body says 'don't trust me' it doesn't matter what your mouth says, you won't be trusted. This transcends cultural differences. Annette explains that it's a case of conditioning your logical mind, your left brain, with the structure of a good story. But ultimately, story is the result of your creative mind, your right brain. Don't try to understand the inner workings of your creativity, just condition your logical mind and leave the kitten alone.

As you pass through the terrain of life you'll come across personalities of all kinds, smooth and bumpy, intimidating and unimposing. Your 'story' needs to be flexible. If you want the best chances of success you should question your past experiences in terms of patterns, consequences and vulnerability. Equally difficult is finding the wavelength your listener is on. Are they unwilling, unmotivated or unconcerned? These are the tough challenges an influencer faces, and being able to tie shared bonds beneath stubborn skin opens a world of social opportunity.

"A story lets them decide for themselves - one of the great secrets of true influence."

Every review comes with its criticisms, no matter how small. And I managed to nitpick one thing. We are taken all the way from the profound psychological elements of storytelling to examples of story such as classic tales and the author's personal experiences. However, I couldnt help but feel that something was missing. In this case, 'immediately actionable tasks'. Many people reading this book will have had no prior experience in telling stories. By providing a small, step-by-step 'to-do' list you can take that first vital step without feeling overwhelmed. A 'notes' section would have also been helpful at the back to log your experience, to describe how you felt, and to list what you would change in the future. Even better, a list of universally applicable one-liners with suggestions on body language and tone. Quick, concise, and most importantly, seeing you onto that first step of a thousand miles. By the time I reached the end of the book I wasn't sure where to start.

These criticisms, however, are minor. If you'd like to glean information on how to develop a compelling story, how to get beyond a pokerface, or why Jesus himself communicated through the art of story, then sit yourself in the armchair, shuffle around for comfort like you always do when you know something good is coming, and lose yourself in this story of discovery.

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a story is worth a thousand assurances."

"A man came upon a construction site where three people were working. He asked the first, 'What are you doing?' and the man answered, 'I am laying bricks.' He asked the second, 'What are you doing?' and the man answered, 'I am building a wall.' He walked up to the third man, who was humming a tune as he worked and asked, 'What are you doing?' and the man stood up and smiled and said, 'I am building a cathedral.'"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 28 Dec 2013
By 
B. N. Smith "spacesmith" (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Paperback)
Really helpful guide to storytelling. Practical steps and lots of real life examples told in a natural, logical and easy to read style.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Basic Ideas. Very Poor Overall Book, 4 Sep 2011
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This review is from: The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Paperback)
It is, in some ways a horrific book. Certainly one of the worst self-help books I've seen published.

It's a mass of disjointed notes on her feelings and thoughts about story telling.

If you consider buying, I suggest you only read Chapters 1,2,3, 8, and 11. Those several thousand words are where she gives unique value. They convincingly explain why story telling is a better way of influence.

Overall I am left feeling cheated. I feel they may have artificially padded the word count just to make more money on the item price.

Vast sections of the book are completely worthless. For example, have you ever paid to read insights like these?

Section Heading: Truly Evil
Main point of section: no one is truly evil.

Section Heading: Hypnosis, Trance and Story
Main point: A good story induces a trance like state. No practical information, just her opinion that a good story induces a trance like state. Honestly.

Section: No Guarantees
Main point of section: There are no guarantees that you'll successfully influence. Well I'll be damned.

<sigh>, it's astounding how many 'non-helpful' sections there are like this. Just a blob of preaching, disconnected to any advice on achieving a goal. It really is a terrible self help book, sorry.

I feel she didn't research or define her reader, their experience level and what they are looking for. She didn't determine a goal for her reader. She didn't try to help her reader reach a particular goal through this book.

If she did this, and I greatly doubt it, it really doesn't show.

The sections Truly Evil/No Guarantees were surely aimed at someone learning to debate at age 12?

I give 2 stars for the opening section in which she convinces me that stories are more effective than facts. This part of the book is valuable and memorable. And you could possibly buy for that alone, if you can't find the same information in a less padded book.

But taken as a whole it is the worst self help book I've seen in many years. Many sections could have been written by a low paid ghost writer as they offer no help, and just vague prescription.

I will take note of these publishers "Basic Books" and be cautious about buying from them in future.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could've done with more good stories!, 11 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling (Paperback)
Too academic, bland and theoretical for my taste. Could've done with more good stories!
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