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Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need
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Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  926 ratings  ·  148 reviews
This is a practical storytelling guide from comedian, winner of multiple Moth storytelling competitions, and founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade storytelling program, Margot Leitman. Did you ever wish you could tell a story that leaves others spellbound? Storytelling teacher and champion Margot Leitman will show you how! With a fun, irreverent, and infographic approach ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Sasquatch Books
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
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stormin
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-theory
I thought that this book would be about telling stories as in writing them: short stories, novels, maybe even screenplays. Instead, it's a book that is literally about telling stories in the old-fashioned sense of standing up in front of a bunch of people and regaling them with a true story from your life. Apparently this is a big deal these days, and you might have heard The Moth on NPR or something. I had caught a couple of stories that way, and I was always impressed with them. The most famou ...more
Nate Dern
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to take Margot's storytelling course in person at UCB and it was fantastic. Margot knows what she is talking about when it comes to crafting a story. I still think of many of the lessons from that class and use it in my own writing. Very excited to have her wisdom in book form!
Wendy Bunnell
3 1/2, and I recommend the audiobook format. Picked this up in an Audible 2 for 1 credit sale and was glad with the performance. It was really an instructional piece on how to write and then deliver a short story to an audience. This is a useful skill for public speakers and professional story tellers. There are such things as professional oral story tellers, you ask? Why yes, apparently, but it's a bit of a hustle.

First, she wants all these stories to be based on your own life. As a fiction wr
...more
Jenny Leiva
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband got this for his birthday to learn to write inspiring stories for his business. I decided to pick it up because I tried to tell my son the story “Jack and the Beanstalk” and felt like I butchered it. Well, it turns out this isn’t about learning to tell fictional stories better, but I did find it very interesting nevertheless and ended up reading the whole book fairly quickly. The focus is on learning to tell your own, true stories. I could have gotten a lot more out of it if I had don ...more
Carrie Poppy
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good!
Kartik Gulati
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most useful books I've read so far. If you're someone who struggles with the conflict that arises with sharing your life then this book will help. I always struggled with the doubt that I live a boring life and therefore have nothing to say when people ask me what I'm up to, or I'm worried that if I DO have something to say, people will think that I'm self obsessed.
This book offers excellent strategies to think about and evaluate your life from a story telling perspective and offers
...more
Märt
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for books to learn how to become a better storyteller, an important craft in private and professional life. This one seemed good, and it is! Very much straight to the point (below 4 hours), humorous (author is a comedian), and with great examples (so you can practice right away). To tell better stories, you’ll of course have to practice not just read, and this book gets you started nicely on this journey!

Some things I picked up:
* There are hundreds of stories already within us. All
...more
kelly
Once upon a time, I hated a book.

Just kidding. But I don’t like this book partly because it made me realize a sad truth: I am an utterly boring person. At least when it comes to storytelling.

The book started with Leitman reassuring me again and again that I only think I don’t have any stories but actually I do have loads of stories and I better hold on because when she’s done with me, boy, people won’t be able to help themselves falling at my feet and begging me to tell my many tear-jerking, sid
...more
Scott Wozniak
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is not about writing stories, it's about telling stories in person to other people. I read a lot of books about story craft. This is the best one on live storytelling I've read. It has great advice especially about telling true stories. Plus the author is really funny.
Barbara
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great little fun book on telling stories and giving talks.
Eric Moon
Storytelling is a truly incredible skill undervalued by many in today's world. If done correctly, it can be a tremendously useful tool in both social and business contexts.

Of the many pitches I have had to make to date, the inclusion of a storytelling element has often meant the difference between the pitch being a meaningless, forgettable presentation and the audience pitching my idea FOR me in their own minds. It goes without saying that I needed little convincing from Leitman why storytelling
...more
Ralph
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
4.0 out of 5
Great book, narrated perfectly by the author; filled with practical tips, do's and don'ts, and advice on telling great stories. Although focused on oral story telling, the information is also relevant for other media such as blogging or telling stories social social situations. A nice find.
Deborah Bancroft
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very engaging and well designed intro to storytelling. Recommended.
Ben
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Lots of helpful suggestions and prompts to think about and to extract stories from your life. Looking forward to telling stories of my own.
KT
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic introduction to storytelling - both the why and the how. If more people read this book, I think we could be saved a lot of boring interactions.
Alex Piatek
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story telling has become increasingly popular recently. If you have been wanting to improve your story telling, get the audiobook and do the exercises she lays out throughout the book.
Jerzy
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
Definitely focused on telling a personal story, not on the talk types I need to prepare right now (thesis defense, job talks---although she does recommend preparing an "origin story" for job talks and business presentations to help you appear relatable and memorable)...
BUT it does seem like a great resource for personal storytelling. The book has a ton of exercises to help you evoke memories of funny/interesting/personally-important life events, then craft them into good stories.

Best piece of ad
...more
Donna
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It gave great insight into storytelling. It was interesting and helpful to work on my writing skills and for presenting, but it has great concepts for presentation, that I will use if I am presenting for one of my businesses. I got it from the library but thinking of getting a copy for myself to have on-hand in my office.
(a)lyss(a)
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
"When you were young, I bet you used to take more chances."

This is a tricky book to rate.

On the one hand it has some helpful advice. The book is designed so each chapter has an exercise for you to do as you read and the structure is built to help you craft multiple moth-esque stories. This isn't a how-to-tell-a-story-at-a-party book, this is a book that's geared toward story telling competitions and other public storytelling with strangers. Which is fine if that's what you're looking for but it'
...more
Jeff
Jun 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I should have done more research before buying this book. I thought this would be a wide-ranging manual for writing fiction. Instead, it's a narrowly-focused book on how to perform stand-up story-telling, which is apparently a recent fad in some big cities. I'd never heard of that type of performance, and frankly, I wasn't terribly interested in it.

Leitman does try to generalize her book in a few places -- she suggests that the same tips apply to the corporate boardroom or the job interview. But
...more
Kashifpasta
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really, really great start to learning about how to tell an engaging story. I had the audiobook, which was great because the author reads it herself and really brings her content and stories to life. But I may have to get the physical version too, just to highlight sections and do the exercises she discusses. They're all incredibly useful, but I mostly listened to this book while driving and couldn't participate.
Aubrey
If you have a blog you need to read this book. Even though it's aimed at oral storytellers, each page contains invaluable advice for writing in the informal voice of a blog. I borrowed my copy from the library but I'm going straight out to buy one I can make notes in. And I love that each chapter includes writing "exercises!" I'm already noticing an improvement in my posts, more coherent themes and much better opening and closing paragraphs!
Lauren
A helpful guide for anyone regularly engaging with an audience, whether in a board room or on a stage. The book has several workbook sections that didn't translate well to audio, but I did do some (while not writing them down).

Some sections felt a little too "high school theater" or "drama camp" for me - but I did appreciate the cue to think outside of the box.

3.5 stars
Rachael Stewart
This book was a good overview of the importance of storytelling, but I would have liked to hear more of the practical use in non-storytelling or non-comedy worlds. I know the techniques are important, but the application to every day life could have been a little stronger. I'd recommend this book to someone looking for the basics or an overview of storytelling techniques.
Lori Neff
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical, funny, helpful exercises. Margot provided such good guidance - I feel like I could confidently prepare a story by following her guidelines. This was an enjoyable and practical read.
Amy Hunter
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book. A "how to" book that was both inspirational and entertaining. It made me want to go write!
Scott
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Long Story Short” is both written and narrated by Margot Leitman; an American comedic storyteller, humor writer, and teacher. The book is subtitled “The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need”, and the question many may have is if the book stands up to its high claim. I, like most, enjoy both telling and hearing a good story because they are more memorable and draw us into a subject. However, this book is more geared towards the individual who is looking for exercises, methods, and ways of ta ...more
GateGypsy
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, first off: the audiobook has a little forward that basically says "Listen to this book with a notebook handy. Write down the exercises and do them!" DON'T IGNORE THAT ADVICE. Really. You'll enjoy this book and get so much more out of it if you do just that. Heck, even if you just write down the exercises and go back to do them after you've listened to the book once through you'll still be doing yourself a favour by having them written down.

This was different from what I had expected, but it
...more
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, I was reading this book.

I don't know. This was missing something for me. I'll try to summarize my impressions and what I got out of it.

This seemed like the other side of Daring Greatly, converging on the same point from the direction opposite direction. So many times Margot was clearly talking about vulnerability without saying it. She even says the same thing about not sharing things you're not over yet because you'll bomb. The time of me reading this book was also pretty good, considerin
...more
Emily
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I picked out this book because I’ve always wanted to become a better storyteller in everyday situations - socially, at work, etc. and I hoped this book would give me insight on how to make that happen.

The book isn’t exactly what I hoped it would be, but I still think I got out of it what I wanted to get out of it.

This book is definitely geared more toward “serious” storytellers — like having a 6-minute story prepared to present on stage at a storytelling night. So it goes into detail on some
...more
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