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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and inspiring, 27 May 2014
By 
Jocelyn Stevenson (New York, New York United States) - See all my reviews
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I absolutely loved this book. I’ve read many books about leadership over the years, but none ever captured my imagination quite like this one did. It’s one thing to be told that “successful leadership depends on the stories we tell and the stories we live and how well they speak to the needs of our time” – it’s another to be shown why this is true. And just as you’re shouting “Yes! Yes! I get it! How can I tell stories that will make a difference?”, Geoff Mead, himself a professional storyteller (a skill I now admire even more than I did before I read this book!), steps in to guide you. It’s a wonderful book and should be read by anyone who is or wants to be in any position of leadership.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for influencers, motivators, and change agents, 16 May 2014
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This review is from: Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership (Hardcover)
This is a timely book. Timely because the world we live in has never been more in need of those who can frame and tell powerful stories to question and challenge the old and out-dated narratives we have been living by, and articulate the new stories of hope and change that we need to begin living into. This is the task of leadership in its very broadest sense. It is not the kind of leadership still lauded in the business schools of the western world, and in the professional and academic ‘leadership industry’, with their stale old models of heroic, individual, cerebral, and mostly masculine chutzpah. What is required, and this is the central theme and praxis of this excellent and highly readable book, is leadership of an altogether different quality: leadership which requires of self and others ‘participation in an ongoing social process of meaning-making.’
Story-telling and story-sharing are the most natural as well as one of the most powerful ways that we human beings go about sense making and meaning making. We’ve been doing it for millennia. Well chosen, well crafted, well considered stories, that invite mutual listening as well as passionate telling offer a key strategy for new leaders to move beyond the limitations of the dominant discourse and invite new behaviours. As the author puts it, ‘the key movement is from I need to make things happen to we need to make things happen, and I need to figure out how best to participate in the process of our making things happen.’
So that’s the ambitious scope of the book. What, for me, makes it a valuable addition to the library of anyone who leads in some way or another: whether in large or small organisations, politics, education, coaching, the community, the arts, or parenting is its accessibility, its practical nature, and above all its generosity. Geoff Mead calls on his extensive experience of working in positions of leadership, as an organisational consultant, and as a professional storyteller to put together a highly convincing set of arguments about why storytelling is an essential part of the successful leader’s toolkit, the advantages it offers, and how to do it. It is packed with wisdom, applied research, case histories, exercises, and above all stories to illustrate his themes. It is witty, provocative, passionate, and wonderfully engaging and easy to read.
The book evolves around three structures and three propositions. The structures are: Know yourself, connect to others, and stand for something. Each one is indispensable, and the three must be woven together if the storyteller is to find resonance between self, story, and audience. The three propositions are:
• Our sense of self only changes when we change the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Aligned to this is: are we living the story we want to live? And have we earned the right, by truly embodying our story, to tell it to others?
• Organisations, groups, and communities only change when their stories - and the processes by which their stories are told, shared, and made sense of – also change.
• Our current interpretation and experience of the world only changes when we begin to question and challenge the prevailing stories or myths that are embedded in our cultures. One such myth is the prevailing notion of what constitutes leadership as peddled in the ‘leadership industry.’ Another is the uncritical expectation of human ‘progress.’ Another is that storytelling is only for children.
To all this cerebral scoping, Geoff Mead sets out, explores, and shows how to achieve the factors that give stories and narratives the edge over more formal and traditional means of communication. Stories add emotion and imagination, they resonate in the memory, they’re experiential, and visceral, and we respond to them in a way altogether different from the way we listen to information and data. To the logos of the argument, the storyteller adds the mythos of the tale, the ethos of the values of the teller, and the pathos of the emotional qualities that bind us as humans and invite us to pay attention to one another.
Storytelling though is not an easy option. It takes determination, practice, and not a little courage to learn to tell a good story. The illustrations and exercises described throughout the book are designed to help you get there; to encourage and support you to use the most natural process in the world in order to change it for the better. And as we tell our stories better, perhaps we’ll learn to listen better too. Which reminds me of a story …
That under-rated leadership consultant, Mullah Nasruddin, was invited to work with a large global corporation to overhaul and improve their woefully inadequate communication strategy. “We want to get our 100,000 people world-wide to understand what we require of them,” he was told bluntly by the no-nonsense CEO. “Not a problem,” replied Nasruddin with a smile, “but please tell me first, when you are currently attempting to tell them what you require of them, what is it you are not hearing?”

Nick Owen
Consultant, author, editor, storyteller, & Narrative Leadership associate
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent achievement, 6 Jun 2014
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This brilliant and practical guide explains in detail how and why story can be such a potent tool for leaders Mead deals with all the apparent road blocks, which will be familiar to any change agent who has tried to use narrative with clients, and explains the theory and weight of scientific evidence as to why it can be relied on; why this approach works.

I'm struck with just how generous the information in this book is. Rather than offering glimpses or propositions, Geoff has rolled open the considerable weight of his experience and offered it up to share. Reading this is rather like receiving a serious master class in narrative leadership - for this field, which is dogged with the tag of soft or fuzzy, - the clarity offered is startling and very welcome.

For any leader or coach who is interested in authentic connection, gathering the collective intelligence of their people and galvanising action, this book is a must. I just wish I'd had it years ago. I suspect many other practitioners in the coaching and change arena will be doing the same as me, buying this book for their clients and saying - this is the space I can help you with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare jewel., 21 April 2014
This review is from: Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership (Hardcover)
A refreshing, timely and genuinely insightful contribution to the leadership field. Practitioners will be delighted. Its one of those books to be kept by your bedside for rereading again and again. As a Business Psychologist practitioner I recommend this. I came away with renewed energy, ideas and honesty about both my self and my attitudes towards leadership. In a genuine way fantastic! A 'feast of good things'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A huge achievement, 24 July 2014
To be able to offer subtle and powerful insights into the craft of leadership while at the same time offering the reader a practical and accessible guide to storytelling is quite an achievement for one book. Geoff Mad achieves this here without any crashing of gears. He provides nourishment for head, heart and hand in equal measure. This is a book that you will read once and be enlightened by and then keep coming back to in the way one might take a breath, step out and consult a trusted coach. This book will be an asset to anyone concerned to deepen their leadership, even if it is just their leadership of their own one precious life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best leadership books around at the moment.. a must read..., 9 July 2014
By 
MGreviews "matt0007" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership (Hardcover)
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What a fantastic book and take on leadership. Having just completed a 6 day course around the how telling stories is a great way to not only improve your presentation skills, but also to lead and influence others around us. This book is not full of fancy leadership models developed over the past 100 years, its more of a practical approach to leadership. It highlights how the power of storytelling can really engage your team, staff, as well as help you deliver results. This is a must read for leaders of all levels and experiences. I am a new leader, however I know that many of my previous leaders could benefit from reading and applying what this book says. Must buy!!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart and Head (Strong) book, 3 May 2014
This review is from: Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership (Hardcover)
Superb book on how to lead your team.

Darren Kelly
Author
HELLO PROFIT - Outsell & Outnegotiate everyone with WOW
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Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership
Telling the Story: The Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership by Geoff Mead (Hardcover - 18 April 2014)
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