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The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  406 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The new material for this revised edition offers an expanded case study of storytelling in action that focuses on one of Simmons’s success stories. Over one hundred stories drawn from the front lines of business and government, as well as myths, fables, and parables from around the world, illustrate how story can be used to persuade, motivate, and inspire in ways that cold ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Basic Books (first published November 2000)
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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieGood to Great by James C. CollinsGetting Things Done by David AllenThe Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
59th out of 214 books — 278 voters
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieThe HP Way by David PackardOnly the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. GroveThe Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
100 Best Business Books
56th out of 100 books — 5 voters


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Community Reviews

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Omar Halabieh
As the title indicates, this is a book about the power of storytelling as an influencing tool. As Annette best tells it: "People don't want more information. They are up to their eyeball in information. They want faith...Faith needs a story to sustain it - a meaningful story that inspires belief in you and renews hope that your ideas indeed offer what you promise...Story is your path to creating faith. Telling a meaningful story means inspiring your listeners...to reach the same conclusions you ...more
Will Jeffries
I absolutely enjoy storytelling and believe this ancient art-form to be the foundation of civilization. If you are interested in storytelling, I would recommend you visit Doug Lipman, which the author of this book recommends as well: http://storydynamics.com/

Also, a famous storyteller that I have grown to love over the years is Leo Sofer: http://www.palaceofstories.com/
He offers free downloads of his stories as podcasts before they make it to the "buy me" page - so, I would encourage you to hop
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Jocelyn Kelly
My favorite book written about storytelling and storytelling techniques. The six types of stories help anyone understand how useful stories can be in communicating with people who are you and what you stand for. A must-have for entrepreneurs, I can also recommend this to writers, artists and specifically for anyone who blogs.
Clare
Anyone who has an interest in how storytelling can be used for more effective communication (in business as well as personal situations) should read this book. It makes an incredibly compelling and clear case for the use of story and highlights a range of potential applications and benefits from using a story-based approach.

As I made my way through the book I was hoping for some more 'how to' information. The new chapter in the paperback edition, 'Story Thinking as a Skill', was certainly the c
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Mark Ruzomberka
If you are familiar with the movie Inception then you know the line "What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere."

A wise man once told me "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story." I think that applies here. It reminds me that people simply do not un
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Taka
Not very helpful--

I was very excited to start on this book after reading so many good reviews about it. I had my pen at the ready to underline valuable passages and take notes. I expected it to give me specific techniques and tips to improve my storytelling skills.

But alas, my expectations were too high and unreasonable. I came away with a little bit more of appreciation for story and what it can do, but that's about it. No specific techniques or tips that could improve my skills as a storytelle
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Wendy
What did I learn from this book? What do I want to remember? Story of 3 men - 1 laying bricks, 1 building a wall, 1 building a cahtedral . . . storytelling can help us see the cathedral. Ask a 5-year-old if she can draw and she will enthusiastically say ‘Yes!’ Ask a group of adults the same question and they will hesitate . . . our lives are a story and we are already telling that one perfectly. Jewish Teaching Story – naked truth is rejected at every door. Clothe the truth in parable and it is ...more
Laura
I did not find this book useful. Annette Simmons focuses on why story is important and its effectiveness as a tool of influence and persuasion, but not so much on how to construct and use story effectively. At one point she argues that one can't really tell another how to tell a story - it's too instinctive and individual a process. So not much help there. She also continually intertwines "telling stories' with "living our story." The result is confusing, abstract, and more philosophical than pr ...more
John Kaufmann
I didn't know what to expect, but this book kind of grabbed me. It was full of wise advice, a lot of it in pithy form. The book is about the importance of stories, including how to tell stories that influence. And, of course, it uses a lot of little stories and vignettes to make its points.

Facts appeal to the rational brain and often don't convince us. Stories appeal more to our emotions.Facts are one-dimensional, stories multi-dimensional. Where facts are direct, stories are more subtle and ind
...more
John Capecci
As others have pointed out, it's important to be clear about what Simmon's very good overview is focused upon - business communication, and where, why, and when to use stories to influence others in a business setting. As such, The Story Factor stands as a good summary of how stories can be part of your strategic communication plan. Its strength is that it is a compelling, expansive argument, one that can be given to business colleagues who still doubt that story can be persuasive.

However, if yo
...more
Ed
This book ran hot and cold for me. Some chapters I found boring and others inspiring. I think if it had some exercises or challenged me to think more about relating my personal experiences to the stories in the book it would have engaged me more. It did enlighten me to the power of storytelling and for that it was worth the read. This is not a 'read it and master it' type of book. It is a starting point and a good introduction.
Brett
A must read for salespeople, business owners, politicians, and anyone who needs to learn how to influence others (which is basically everyone on the planet).

This is an incredibly good book, explaining very clearly how to use the power of stories to help people see things your way.

As I said, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.
Nancy
Jun 27, 2007 Nancy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Business Leaders and Storytellers
A great tool to have in your library if you are part of leading a company or organization. Simmons does a marvelous job gathering stories that really truly get the point across. I use this book in my storytelling class and the students love it.
Linda Sands
Loved this book. The power of stories. Time to revisit & think about this oldest tool of influence.
Cathy Allen
I will put this on my list of top ten books on personal development. A how-to book on influencing others that begins with self-reflection and the integrity required to project authenticity and believability. This book is very well done, and I see how it earned its spot in the "100 Best Business Books of All Time."

Much like Stephen R. Covey (who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, among other things) Annette Simmons is not a fan of technique. That is to say, she believes that only basi
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Graham
A friend had given me Made to Stick and this book, The Story Factor to read. While I enjoyed Made to Stick, I confess that I really enjoyed reading this book by Annette Simmons. The Story Factor explains more of why we all love a good story and that story is a way to do many, many things. Do you want to sell something? Great - tell a story. Do you need to convince your board of directors to lean a particular way? Okay, tell a story. Having difficulty teaching your children a certain life-lesson? ...more
Renee shi yan Liu
This book is a little bit longer-than-it-is-supposed-to-be. There are huge bulks devoted to explain why story telling is beneficial. I was more expecting for how to tell a good story. Maybe I should resort to novelist memoirs... However, this book indeed points out a new way of thinking-- thinking in story, which is non-linear, perspective-flexible, instead of fixated fact-based thinking mode. Story simultaneously created mind space for listeners. Stories, even those ordinary ones that only tell ...more
Amanda
I don't recall why I placed this on my list of books to read, but there it sat for six and half years.

Now that I have partnered with the world's foremost storytelling experts to deliver their Storytelling for Leaders program in the United States, I rescued this book from my "to read shelf" and read it on their recommendation. The author's work certainly informed and educated the workshop creators, who tip their hat to Annette Simmons' expertise, but the entities are separate. That being said, t
...more
Richard
This book was not what I expected but I found it really useful. A bit of a must for a CEO or pastor.
T Huang
Quotes:

A story is the narrative account of events with emotional content and sensory details.

Good stories always have an element of Truth.

Any influential story mined deep enough will reveal a vein of Truth.
Aaron Bolin
Several high points worth noting include: solid writing, interesting stories to illustrate points, and a few useful pointers for people who want to tell better stories.

These high points were balanced by several low points such as: gets rather boring halfway through (takes a long time to get to major points), pointers are offered with inadequate structure to make them useful, and a focus on what a story does instead of how to.

I liked the book, but I didn't love it. I would recommend it for genera
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Ahmed Munaz
Aug 24, 2014 Ahmed Munaz is currently reading it
I did not even see the book yet!
Lamec Mariita
The book is very well written and so full of useful information that you tend to slow down your reading speed to make sure that you don't miss anything important. covers the most important story types to tell in order to exercise influence over others. If you are studying storytelling, how to inspire others, how to influence others, how to change corporate culture, or any other aspect of change on a personal or organizational level then your education will be lacking if it does not include the i ...more
Mills College Library
808.54302 S5922 2006
Jesse
Sep 30, 2007 Jesse rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who have to do persuasive speaking
My boss gave this book to me earlier in the year with the goal to get me a bit more up to spead on persuasive speaking - the art of getting someone to do what you want them to do. The book on many levels is something I've heard before - illustrate your points with stories because it's more engaging - but it also contains many practical tips on connecting with an audience. This book is definitely worth the read.
Tamara Suttle
Sep 11, 2014 Tamara Suttle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the use of story to augment, business, education, or work in social justice.
Shelves: story, persuasion
This is such a great book! So happy to have stumbled acrtoss Annette Simmons and The Story Factor! I've been a student of storytelling and the intersection of storytelling and change. This is one of the first books I've read that speaks to this intersection and offers concrete "to-do's." Thank you, thank you, Annette! I am a new fan of yours!
Lisa Murray
This started off strong and ultimately became a soft-gloved version of Dale Carnegie's how to win friends and influence people (using story instead). This has some valuable, specific instruction I was just left feeling a little manipulative if I implemented them.
Ryan
Sep 18, 2007 Ryan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in writing or public speaking
Although the metaphors in this instructional text are mainly centered around the business world, I feel that the understanding and mastery of storytelling enriches the human experience in all walks of life. If you love a good story now and then, and you work or live with other human beings, this book is worth a look-see.
Mike Welsh
This book was required reading for Leadership Communication at business school at Haas. Too over the top. I strongly believe in the power of story telling at work. However this book lost the touch with authenticity. I strongly recommend watching Andrew Stanton's TED Talk "The clues to a great story" instead.
Jill Strykowski
I try to read a "business book" at the same time as a pleasure book. This is the current biz book I am reading. It talks about how to use story to gain influence. I imagine that our friends in sales have this concept nailed but for science folks...its a little harder and the reason for the book!
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Annette Simmons is a vibrant keynote speaker, consultant and author of four books: The Story Factor named as one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins , A Safe Place for Dangerous Truth (AMACOM, 1998), and Territorial Games: Understanding and Ending Turf Wars at Work.

Annette started with a business degree from Louisiana State University in 1983, spent ten ye
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More about Annette Simmons...
Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact Territorial Games The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) A Safe Place for Dangerous Truths: Using Dialogue to Overcome Fear & Distrust at Work Quantum Skills For Coaches: A Handbook For Working With Energy And The Body Mind In Coaching

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“It is safe to assume that any individual or group you wish to influence has access to more wisdom than they currently use. It is also safe to assume that they also have considerably more facts than they can process effectively. Giving them even more facts adds to the wrong pile. They don't need more facts. They need help finding their wisdom. Contrary to popular belief, bad decisions are rarely made because people don't have all the facts.” 7 likes
“The telling and hearing of stories is a bonding ritual that breaks through illusions of separateness and activates a deep sense of our collective interdependence.” 4 likes
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