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on 18 April 2015
Great and sage advice for anyone interested in the craft of storytelling.
Lots of good tips and guidance from somone who writes as a genuine and experienced practitioner
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on 7 April 2016
This is an interesting read and made me think about day-to-day life and work situations in an entirely new way.
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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2009
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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on 19 October 2015
It is well written and this book has many examples of storytelling.
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on 19 April 2015
If you need to influence people, read it!
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on 28 December 2013
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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on 14 February 2006
If you have you ever wondered why seemingly irrefutable logic failed you in your attempts to persuade, then this timely book may help. It highlights the importance of stories to influence others and shows the essential elements of an effective story.
There is no doubt that the age-old art of story telling is making a major comeback. The reason is that stories - even short one-liners - can evoke emotional responses and engage people at a deeper level, when facts just leave them cold.
Simmons details six types of stories that prove useful in influencing others:
1 - "Who I am stories"
2 - "Why I am here" stories
3 - "The vision" story
4 - "Teaching" stories
5 - "Values-in-action" stories
6 - "I know what you are thinking" stories.
Of course, facts can also be used to support your case. But Simmons wisely points out the importance of sequence. Facts should only be used once you have presented a story-based framework to aid interpretation of the facts. Otherwise you risk the facts being dismissed, discredited or distorted to support a different conclusion.
Simmons uses stories in the book to illustrate her points. In one she shows how stories can help to deal with difficult "bear trap questions". She recalls being asked: "so you are saying that we should always tell the truth". Her story: 'I once worked in an advertising agency. We were for ever making presentations. Andrew, a new account executive was about to deliver his first important presentation. He wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed and he didn't seem well prepared for his presentation. Just before he walked in he turned to me and asked if I thought he was going to do well. If I told him the truth I would have had to say no, I didn't think he was going to do well, but it was neither the time nor the place to say so. I smiled lopsidedly and said "sure, you'll be great"'. This story, she explains, helps to show that some situations are too complex for a simple yes or no.
If I have any criticism it is that I leave the book with a feeling that I need to get to know more about the practicalities of story-telling - rather than that it has already fully satisfied my thirst for knowledge. Even so, I recommend it.
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on 4 September 2011
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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on 6 October 2016
Annette Simmons lists six types of stories which we all should carry around with us. These stories helps us communicate who we are to the world and can be used in relationships, jobs, friendships etc.

Stories reveals who you are much better than just stating facts. Stories puts us through an emotional roller coaster and allows us to experience things without being present. Why do you think movies are so addictive..? We all crave to feel alive inside.

So if you really want to connect with people, use stories!

As Annette mentions in the book a story " helps them(other people) see what you want them to see about you".

If you wish to become a better communicator and share your story/stories with the world this is definitely a great read.

The author tells us why stories are so essential as a tool for influencing and teaching, why stories are superior to blunts facts, give examples of storytellers to study etc.

Just think about it..

How many world leading figures are not great storytellers? How many ancients and sacred book which people have followed for thousands of years are not filled with stories?

Perhaps you to should master the art of good storytelling ; )

I once read that instead of reading 500 good books you should re-read 50 great books 10 times each. "The Story Factor" is most definitely one of my 50.

In a world where the best story wins, let's enter the race with our track shoes on!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 September 2005
Note: I reviewed this book when it was first published (about two years ago) and re-read it (in May of 2007) after reading Annette Simmons' more recently published Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins. I see no need to revise the orginal review of The Story Factor and highly recommend both books

As Simmons explains in her Introduction, "This book [shares] what I have learned over the last eight years about story and about the power of story to persuade and influence. My personal story is to learn, share everything I have learned, and earn the right to learn more. You will find here [in The Story Factor] everything I know about using story to influence others."

How many books on the subject of leadership does Amazon now offer? I just checked. The current total is 16,159. Who were history's greatest leaders? (My own list includes Alexander, Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Mohandas Gandhi.) What do all of them share in common? Each was a great storyteller. Each used one or more of the six types of stories which Simmons brilliantly explains in her book:

Who I Am
Why I Am Here
The Vision
I Know What You Are Thinking

To these six I presume to add I Know What You Care About. Point is, great leaders have a clear identity as well as a clear purpose and a compelling vision, use relevant information effectively to educate others and use a narrative effectively to anchor a necessary course of action within a human context because they thoroughly understand the given audience. As Simmons correctly asserts, persuasion must begin with trust and immediately fails without it. Hence the importance of credibility. Persuasion then requires that the "message" resonate with what is of greatest importance to the given audience. Hence the imperative need for relevance as when Roosevelt (during his "fireside chats") and Churchill (during his speeches in Parliament) told their listeners what they must understand, not necessarily what they wanted to hear.

Throughout her brilliant book, Simmons rigorously examines the basic components of effective storytelling. She explains what a story is and what it can do that facts alone cannot. She suggests how to tell "a good story," in process explaining the psychology of an effective story's influence. She offers excellent advice on how to influence the unwilling, the unconcerned, and the unmotivated. Simmons also devotes an entire chapter to "Storylistening as a Tool of Influence," then in the next chapter identifies a number of storyteller Dos and Don'ts. She concludes her book with insights which have their greatest value only if considered within the context created by the previous chapters.

For whom will this book be of greatest value? Certainly to those who must regularly communicate with others and currently lack the skills to do so effectively. Also to those who are required to make a major presentation of some kind such as when attempting to persuade a supervisor to approve a significant course of action or persuading a customer to make a major purchase. In fact, there are countless other situations in which the skills which Simmons explains and the tools which she provides can also give those who master them a decisive advantage.

Keep in mind, however, that "story" is but one of several factors in communication. Long ago, John Wiley Hill (founder of Hill & Knowlton) defined public relations worthy of the name as "truth well-told." Simmons leaves absolutely no doubt whatsoever about the importance of a truthful "message" communicated by a trusted "messenger." Credibility is absolutely essential and can only be earned by a combination of trust and expertise. What I also appreciate about Simmons' approach throughout this book is the conversational tone she establishes and then sustains. There is a refreshing absence of preaching. She is convinced (and I totally agree) that each person has her or his own "story" to tell. It remains for each person to select the most appropriate style was well as the most effective tools to tell that story well. Who are you? Why are you here? What do you REALLY care about? It remains for each reader to answer questions such as these and, obviously, the answers will vary significantly. Whatever the answers may be at any given time, Simmons urges that they be celebrated...and cherished.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check others such as Doug Lipman's Improving Your Storytelling (he wrote the Foreword to The Story Factor), Stephen Denning's The Leader's Guide to Storytelling, and Storytelling in Organizations co-authored by John Seely Brown, Denning, Katarina Groh, and Laurence Prusak.
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