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The Elements of Persuasion: Use Storytelling to Pitch Better, Sell Faster Win More Business

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"Every great leader is a great storyteller," says Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner. According to master storytellers Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman, storytelling is a lot like running. Everyone knows how to do it, but few of us ever break the four-minute mile. What separates the great runners from the rest? The greats know not only how to hit every stride, "Every great leader is a great storyteller," says Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner. According to master storytellers Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman, storytelling is a lot like running. Everyone knows how to do it, but few of us ever break the four-minute mile. What separates the great runners from the rest? The greats know not only how to hit every stride, but how every muscle fits together in that stride so that no effort is wasted and their goals are achieved. World-class runners know how to run from the inside out. World-class leaders know how to tell a story from the inside out. In The Elements of Persuasion, Maxwell and Dickman teach you how to tell stories too. They show you how storytelling relates to every industry and how anyone can benefit from its power. Maxwell and Dickman use their experiences—both in the entertainment industry and as corporate consultants—to deliver a formula for winning stories. All successful stories have five basic components: the passion with which the story is told, a hero who leads us through the story and allows us to see it through his or her eyes, an antagonist or obstacle that the hero must overcome, a moment of awareness that allows the hero to prevail, and the transformation in the hero and in the world that naturally results. Let's face it: leading is a lot more fun than following. Even if you never want to be a CEO or to change the world, you do want to have control over your own work and your own ideas. Ultimately, that is what the power of storytelling can give you.


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"Every great leader is a great storyteller," says Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner. According to master storytellers Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman, storytelling is a lot like running. Everyone knows how to do it, but few of us ever break the four-minute mile. What separates the great runners from the rest? The greats know not only how to hit every stride, "Every great leader is a great storyteller," says Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner. According to master storytellers Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman, storytelling is a lot like running. Everyone knows how to do it, but few of us ever break the four-minute mile. What separates the great runners from the rest? The greats know not only how to hit every stride, but how every muscle fits together in that stride so that no effort is wasted and their goals are achieved. World-class runners know how to run from the inside out. World-class leaders know how to tell a story from the inside out. In The Elements of Persuasion, Maxwell and Dickman teach you how to tell stories too. They show you how storytelling relates to every industry and how anyone can benefit from its power. Maxwell and Dickman use their experiences—both in the entertainment industry and as corporate consultants—to deliver a formula for winning stories. All successful stories have five basic components: the passion with which the story is told, a hero who leads us through the story and allows us to see it through his or her eyes, an antagonist or obstacle that the hero must overcome, a moment of awareness that allows the hero to prevail, and the transformation in the hero and in the world that naturally results. Let's face it: leading is a lot more fun than following. Even if you never want to be a CEO or to change the world, you do want to have control over your own work and your own ideas. Ultimately, that is what the power of storytelling can give you.

30 review for The Elements of Persuasion: Use Storytelling to Pitch Better, Sell Faster Win More Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Milton Moon Louie

    Was interested in storytelling. Good start and some helpful suggestions. But it was missing something.

  2. 4 out of 5

    JP

    This is a concise and thoughtful introduction to communicating through storytelling. I found their framework and supporting examples - ok, stories - instructive. The authors also shared a lot of interesting insights. For example, memories are much more likely to be created when there is stress or other high emotion. There is biological evidence for this effect and we can use it to our advantage. They summarize stories as "facts wrapped in emotions" and successfully demonstrate the effectiveness This is a concise and thoughtful introduction to communicating through storytelling. I found their framework and supporting examples - ok, stories - instructive. The authors also shared a lot of interesting insights. For example, memories are much more likely to be created when there is stress or other high emotion. There is biological evidence for this effect and we can use it to our advantage. They summarize stories as "facts wrapped in emotions" and successfully demonstrate the effectiveness of communicating through that type of support. There were points with which I didn't agree, and the attempts to tie their framework to Eastern philosophy (the 5 elements) only succeeded halfway for me. They open with a claim that previous generations didn't need to be storytellers to succeed as much as we do today, yet every single transaction then was a direct story, often involving trading and barter. The skills are different, but not new.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)

    I'm not really done with this book yet... but I want it off my shelf. It's got some interesting principles and has opened my eyes to the idea that storytelling is an integral part of advertising, pitching, marketing, etc. I do now see that in almost everything I do. However, the book has a pretty blatant gender bias. I'm a few chapters in and, in the many, many instances where CEOs (both real and theoretical) are referred to with pronouns, not once has the pronoun been feminine. Any interest I h I'm not really done with this book yet... but I want it off my shelf. It's got some interesting principles and has opened my eyes to the idea that storytelling is an integral part of advertising, pitching, marketing, etc. I do now see that in almost everything I do. However, the book has a pretty blatant gender bias. I'm a few chapters in and, in the many, many instances where CEOs (both real and theoretical) are referred to with pronouns, not once has the pronoun been feminine. Any interest I had in finishing this book evaporated once I realized this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    The first part of the book follows an outline well, but somewhere in the middle I get lost and then find my way again near the end. Interesting read and concepts are presented about how presentations are best done in a story format, but I'm not sure how helpful they are for those who are in a more traditional business setting. If you're in a creative field or in the nonprofit world, I would check it out. The concepts are a great way to tell a story to a donor or for for PR.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James

    another good book with a lot of interesting and sometimes inspiring anecdotes, but not a lot of guidance as far as practical application of its ideas.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Víctor

    Interesting overview of the narrative structure influence on the persuasive power of commercial discourse. Just a little buffed up, the authors could got to the chase a lot faster.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    an engaging read about hijacking storytelling to sell stuff.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    Read first Dec 30 2007 2nd Jan 7 2008

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrice

    Starts off a bit slow but all in all a very interesting read. Particularly important material for anyone in business.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Delhi Irc

    Location: PTI IRC Accession No: DL027383

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

  12. 4 out of 5

    Günter Soydanbay

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yes & Not Yes

  14. 5 out of 5

    JC Espiritu

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melody Lindqvist

  16. 5 out of 5

    Clamor

  17. 4 out of 5

    John

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roel

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jamie B Starling

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dfhenry610

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Magee

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sten Uena

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sam Witteveen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Ruiz

  26. 4 out of 5

    Muheeb Tarawneh

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve Moyer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Randy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tayfun Yaman

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