best practices

Books that made me better at storytelling and communications

The other day someone asked me about my favorite books as a professional. Here is a short list of my favorites of the moment. I would love to know yours!

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Writing is hard. Write for one person. Adverbs are lame. Edit your butt off. Part memoir, part manifesto. If you need a reminder that even the best of the best struggle, give this book a whirl. He really is the king.

Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need by Margot Leitman
A charming account by a pro who teaches storytelling via improv. It is a workbook of fun anecdotes and exercises to spark your memory. The book focuses on everyday storytelling rather than story for strategy’s sake. Use it to start your rusty wheels spinning. If you’re scared of telling stories or don’t know how to start, this is a nice ease into it.

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
I have a major crush on Ms. Duarte. She gave a mesmerizing presentation at a conference a few years ago in Portland. She diagrams the structure of powerful speeches and shows the push and pull of emotion in presentation. If you avoid emotion in your presentations and find audiences have a hard time attaching to your work, this is for you.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Sneaking this one in. I wouldn’t say this is about the technical side of storytelling but it tells you how to keep your eye on the point, which is easy to lose in a story, especially as a professional juggling messages. And it is a quick read. If you are responsible for all kinds of communications, not just stories, this is a handy reference brimming with examples.
What are your favorite books on storytelling or persuasive communication? Please share below.

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  • Reply
    joe symons
    May 26, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs. My only problem with this book is that I realize I’m not clever enough to follow the yellow brick road. His mentor is Joseph Cambell, so the back story is Hero with a 1000 Faces.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I will check it out. Thank you for the recommendation!

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