Business books on the power of stories tend to fall into two categories – science-based perspectives on how narratives work in the brain; and business-driven case studies that show off the talents and oratory skills of some high-ego CEO. The new book, “Tell to Win,” is both, and neither – and one of the best ones yet.
Peter Guber, former Chairman of Sony Pictures and head of Mandalay Entertainment Group, is one of those big movie moguls. He personally produced or executive produced Rain Man, Batman, The Color Purple, Gorillas In The Mist, and Flashdance. His movies alone have earned him $3 billion (with a B) worldwide and more than 50 Academy Award nominations. In his downtime, he is also the owner and co-executive chairman of the Golden State Warriors.
First, he teaches you how to tell great stories. Instead of preaching, he gives you concrete skills to tell what he calls “purposeful stories.” These are emotionally resonant stories that can persuade, motivate, excite and incite others in the business world. To help you learn the skills, he includes some great examples from some of the best storytellers in the business. His friends include a remarkably diverse number of “voices” – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences including Bill Clinton, Tony Robbins, Steven Denning, Larry King and Mark Victor Hansen of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. There are no better teachers.
Secondly, Guber backs up the how-to with science. He cites actual studies that show how stories work in the brain. When engaged in a story, the brain produces something called “mirror neurons.” There’s a great TED talk on it. These allow us to virtually “see and feel” the same thing that the storyteller sees and feels. Great movies do it. And so do great stories. Imagine if you could get your employees, customers or investors to see and feel exactly what you wanted. You can – as Gruber shows, through stories worth spreading.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the book gives you permission to tell stories in the workplace. This is no small feat. There are still many reluctant leaders out there that need this kind of push. It kills me when a vibrant CEO can’t cut the tether of the PowerPoint when communicating.
WIN THIS BOOK. Stories work. But are you using them yet? Have you ever seen one win over an audience? Is there a time when stories are NOT appropriate? Leave a comment here and the best one will win a copy of the new book.”