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Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire
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Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,099 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Storytelling has come of age in the business world. Today, many of the most successful companies use storytelling as a leadership tool. At Nike, all senior executives are designated "corporate storytellers." 3M banned bullet points years ago and replaced them with a process of writing "strategic narratives." Procter & Gamble hired Hollywood directors to teach its executive ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 10th 2012 by AMACOM (first published August 8th 2012)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  1,099 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Not inspiring. Not memorable. Already spoken about in lenghth in various media and self-help and business courses and... pretty much anywhere else.

And here goes my rant:
I wish people would consider being consise in whatever they say (and write!), since the other side of storytelling is WASTING MY AWESOME TIME blabbering about some story I don't give a rat's ass about and which I've already heard and read, like a bunch of times!!! People, have you ever really considered that other people might re
Amelia C
Aug 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
Tedious, repetitive and dull (maybe this guy needs better stories).
I hate books that could frankly be a flyer and this is one of them. Perhaps there will be some gem of knowledge in there after I slog through 300 pages which could have been put in one bullet point
* A story is more interesting than powerpoint. the END

Finished the book and never found that gem.
Shubham Bansal
May 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ironically, The way this book is written shows how not to tell a story itself. Boring at times, I actually did not finish this book because I got better books in the similar field.
1) Influence by Robert Cialdini
2) Never split the difference by Chris Voss
3) A tool learned in a course by Landmark.

This book is good if you are starting with story telling learning but it does not give you the idea of the fundamental things why a certain way of communication works. I would have given it a much bette
Bob Selden
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As I read this book, it put me in mind of so many stories I've heard and experienced in my own management career. In short, I was hooked with the stories penned by Paul Smith, which led me to think about my own stories. It also started me thinking about how I could use more stories in my own work. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

In "Lead With a Story", Smith sets out with the aim of having the reader "start crafting, collecting, and telling stories today". All the stories are about particu
Jay Hennessey
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
This book was super close to earning a 5 star rating - I am just trying to be a bit more discerning with my ratings. Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this book. I did the Kindle / Audio combo - for anyone who has not done this, it is a great way to move through content. Additionally, this was a great book to listen to - super easy to follow, even at 1.5 speed.

The author does a great job of demonstrating the power of telling stories for leaders at all levels. He also provides prescriptive structure for
James Perkins
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I bought this book thinking it would help and inspire me with my work in copywriting. That was my mistake, as I hadn't noticed that the title was a play on words - "lead" as in "begin a piece of text", or "lead" as in "head an organisation". But I didn't let that bother me. As somebody who writes corporate narratives for part of my living, perhaps I could get some inspiration on how to tell them better. Some of it even covers writing, although in general, it's angled more towards speaking.

Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Paul Smith’s book is full of business stories. If you’ve ever wondered how to turn 3Q results dross into storytelling gold, this book will help you get the idea. It’s organized into nearly 30 chapters, each packed with examples and showing how to tell stories for certain situations, like setting a vision for the future, setting goals and building commitment, establishing values, setting policy, building courage, appealing to emotion, teaching important lessons, demonstrating problem solving, del ...more
Sue Cartwright
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must not only for leaders in a corporate environment but for anyone who manages, trains or coaches people. It is also a must for business owners and blog writers who want to 'move' people through 'strategic narratives'.

Organised into 5 leadership themes: Envision Success, Create an Environment for Winning, Energise the Team, Educate People and Empower Others, Paul is not only a master storyteller but also a master coach and expert in how to find stories, metaphors and analogies fr
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
You can do a lot with stories. You can build better teams, relations, drive home a point, reinforce values and achieve many more things.

This book does well to tell you how you can use stories. It does not burden you with a whole lot of theory and procedure and gets straight to examples and impact. While the stories in the book can also be used, it goes further with outlining how you can build a story repository and how you can put it to good use.

A recommended read..
Trung Nguyen Dang
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is about how well-told stories (with actual stories) in the right context/settings can be magic to lead, to motivate, to gain respect, to communicate an idea or to inspire. A lot of those stories can be used by us/retold ... easily.
A quick/easy inspiring and educational read.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I consider storytelling to be a critical business / job skill. This book does a great job of describing story elements and providing examples of compelling (business) stories.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
Hoped to pick up a few tips to help with program marketing. This book did talk about stories, but also seemed like it was written to be partially in the business strategy realm (in addition to the stories). I didn't find the business strategies to be especially helpful. Did pick up a few tips. I understood the importance of using a story before I read the book, but this book reinforced that. The author suggests opening meetings with, "What's on your mind?" I wrote that down, but in writing this ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great leadership book that provides multiple lessons for the reader, but most importantly techniques for how to develop and tell a great story.

Albeit the examples are heavily P&G related, if you look past that, which is the authors experience, you get to the centre of the key messages for each chapter; all valuable for any employee and leader.

Thoroughly recommend this book and will be one I read again and again.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book!

I always knew that stories are the best means to win people, but what I learned from this book is that stories can be well integrated into business practices and its daily operations, for example when giving employees feedback during performance reviews, when communicating policies & procedures, and when trying to create stronger relations amongst colleagues/team members

The book was an eye-opener for me!

May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the set-up of this book; starting each chapter with a story illustrative of the chapter's topic. And the closing pages that index type of story (sometimes including examples, where they have been provided) matched with the intent of its use. This is a good resource for any leader or communicator, which means anyone who EVER has to engage with others and get them to see, appreciate, or adopt a particular point of view. ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The principles in this book is really a good place to start to learn about story telling. As a person who job requires me to speak in front of people about a topic most don't find interesting stories are a God send. This book puts the parameters around how to form the story and the structure of time tested, tried and true methods to get ones point across. The formula is spelled out and the details of how to execute the process is clear enough to understand and apply. ...more
Edmond Geanta
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite some of the negative reviews written on this platform (or others), I still found some of the stories interesting, with the overall goal of keeping in mind to construct any dull presentation in a more appealing way. While teaching management for an MBA class, I cannot begin to tell you how many uninteresting presentation I had to sit through. I wish some of my students would read this.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I'd recommend starting with "The Leaders Guide to Storytelling" by Steve Denning before reading this book. This makes for a great follow-up. It will give you ideas and stories that you can borrow/use in your own situations. ...more
Ankita Chaudhari
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very good book to read. It clearly shows the impact of stories on our life. How story can motivate to change the behavior of person. The stories used in the book are also good.
I find this book very motivating and useful if you are working in the people management area.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked this up and put it down a few times, but I appreciate the examples of story telling. I tend to be a poor story teller in real life. Writing it down helps, but still... I picked up a few techniques for how to share stories- something to work on!
Steve Garvin
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: storytelling
While this book had good information and some good stories for different business situations, it seemed more like a storytelling handbook for P&G employees than a book for the general public.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inspiring stories! Great way to learn how to make meetings interesting and energize the people you work with. Must-read!
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book for managers and leaders to obtain tools for improved communication with teams.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very general with a lot of stories which feel bloated and made-up. Not very inspirational
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, leadership
Good book that reinforces what we already know, that stories are a powerful tool for communication and motivation.
Todd McQueen
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Using stories in business. Overall pretty good.
Paiman Chen
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Experience is the best teacher. A compelling story is a close second.
Daniel Blankenship
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Good premise to this book which contains methods of story telling and the benefits of storytelling. However, it is very repetitive.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership, how-to
I have a slight bias against the prominent "easy-steps-to-success" literature in the US, as it often feels cheap and costumed tailored to maintain the extremely short-attention span of most Americans by only being just long enough to get their point across. It is almost a science now, that if you want people to read your book and you aren't already a best-selling author your best chance is to keep it to 200 pages or less.

That aside I think the author is obviously touching on something extremely
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015-2016
Read this book for work as I am involved in implementing communications plans and have suspected for a while that the most effective way of getting messages across on my particular topic is with relevant stories that people can relate to. I took this book out of the library looking for some tips that might help me to write effective blog posts at work, but I got a lot more out of it than that.

The book is geared towards business leaders but really it can be applied to anyone that needs to communi
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PAUL SMITH is director of Consumer & Communications Research at The Procter & Gamble Company and a highly rated leadership and communications trainer for P&G’s management training colleges. He is the author of Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire.

News & Interviews

Twists, turns, red herrings, the usual suspects: These books have it all...and more. If you love mysteries and thrillers, get ready for dozens...
136 likes · 32 comments
“While CEO of P&G, John Pepper was once asked in an interview which skill or characteristic was most important to look for when hiring new employees. Was it leadership? Analytical ability? Problem solving? Collaboration? Strategic thinking? Or something else? His answer was integrity. He explained, “All the rest, we can teach them after they get here.” 2 likes
“We generally don’t tell our personal stories at work because we work with strangers. They remain strangers because we don’t tell our personal stories. You have to break the cycle.” 1 likes
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