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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Experience is the best teacher. A compelling story is a close second.", 12 Sep 2012
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This book is among the best that discuss one or more aspects of storytelling, notably those written by Doug Lipman, Annette Simmons, and Stephen Denning. Paul Smith duly acknowledges them and others as well as their substantial contributions. What he provides in this volume is indicated by its subtitle: "A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire." Smith agrees with Howard Gardner: "Every great leader is a great story teller." However, as he explains in his book, almost [begin italics] anyone [end italics] can master the storyteller's skills when preparing and then making a variety of informal as well as formal presentations. Shrewdly, Smith focuses on what he characterizes as "powerful stories" that can help to strengthen a response to any of the 21 toughest challenges that businesspeople face. His book extends the usefulness of storytelling to a much wider range of leadership challenges." "There are more than 100 stories in total. A matrix in the appendix will help you locate exactly the right story eat the right time.

"Moreover, his book "offers more thorough and practical advice for how to craft your own stories for any leadership challenge. That starts with a simple structure for a good business story. But it also offers advice on six other key elements you'll need to turn that good story into a great one: metaphors (George Lakoff and Mark Johnson: "If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures"), emotion, realism, surprise, style, and how to put [engage] your audience into your story." I agree with Smith that experience tends to be the best teacher. However, those who experience a formal or informal presentation will learn far more if it is "compelling." Smith provides dozens of examples throughout his book that demonstrate the truth of this observation by Annette Williams: "'We value integrity,' means nothing. But tell a story about a former employee who hid his mistake and cost the company thousands, or a story about a salesperson who owned up to a mistake and earned so much trust her company doubled his order, and you begin to teach an employee what integrity means."

Smith suggests ten reasons why storytelling can be so uniquely effective. It is simple, stories told are timeless, demographic proof, contagious, easier to understand, inspiring, appeal to all types of learners, fit better where most learning occurs anyway (the workplace), put the listener in a mental learning mode, and finally, telling stories also shows respect for the audience because it suggests rather than insists what to think and feel. Of course, the ultimate objective of the given business narrative and the given audience should determine the tone and length as well as the form and content of the story or stories told. Exposition explains with information, Description makes vivid with compelling details, Narration tells a story or explains a sequence, and Argumentation convinces with logic and/or evidence. Many (if not most) formal presentations use two or more of these four levels of discourse.

Readers will appreciate Smith's masterful presentation of provision material in a sequence most suitable for a learning process that begins with his response to "Why tell a story?" in the first chapter and concludes with an explanation of "Getting Started" in the final chapter, Chapter 30. Readers will also appreciate his provision of a "Summary and Exercises" section at the conclusion of all but one chapter (Chapter 1), "How-To" segments in Chapters 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 24, and 29. The Appendix consists of three valuable items: "Story Structure Template," "Story Elements Checklist (Makers)," and the aforementioned "Story Matrix." If someone else has created a single source that offers more and better information about storytelling in general -- and about business narratives in particular -- than Paul Smith has with Lead with a Story, I would certainly like to know about it. Bravo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing guide to business-building storytelling, 5 Dec 2012
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Once upon a time, young manager Paul Smith worked diligently to prepare a slide presentation for the CEO of Procter & Gamble, A. G. Lafley. To Smith's dismay, Lafley sat with his back to the screen and didn't glance at the slides, choosing instead to focus solely on Smith. This taught Smith a valuable lesson: A fact-based pitch never works as well as a story. In this helpful manual, Smith offers more than 100 stories readers can use in a variety of business situations. He teaches the basics of storytelling, including examples and exercises. Smith's easy and absorbing manner draws you into each tale. getAbstract recommends that managers, salespeople and presenters read this charming compilation, from its useful instructions all the way to its happily ever after.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish this had been around in the 60s, 24 Jan 2013
By 
My Dad retired as a lecturer in Organisational Behaviour twenty years' ago. His verdict on this book was 'I've finished the book and enjoyed it. I wish the idea had been around in the 60s, 70s and 80s.' That's a strong compliment from a quiet and reserved man. I shall be reading it next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Many Great Stories, 29 Dec 2013
By 
Ken (Haddington, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire (Kindle Edition)
All the great stories in the book make this an addictive read. P&G seems like a great place to work and to learn about leadership. I have already used a couple of the stories to share the lessons and am checking the readability of my work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 1 Aug 2014
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You really can get your point across much better with a story and this book has masses of examples and a section on how to come up with your own. It's well written, if only there was a section on how to remember the stories for retelling it would be perfect!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am biased but this is a really good read, 13 Oct 2012
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I am quoted in the book, and know Paul, so I am far from objective. However, it is a really great great read. The range of real business stories, appropriate across a range of leadership situations, is practical, valuable and engaging.
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