Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Lead With a Story by Paul Smith


"Paul Smith is scary smart, an amazing storyteller." --Chip Heath, Author Made to Stick
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 executives storytelling techniques. Some forward-thinking business schools have even added storytelling courses to their management curriculum.
The reason for this is simple: Stories have the ability to engage an audience the way logic and bullet points alone never could. Whether you are trying to communicate a vision, sell an idea, or inspire commitment, storytelling is a powerful business tool that can mean the difference between mediocre results and phenomenal success.
Lead with a Story contains both ready-to-use stories and how-to guidance for readers looking to craft their own. Designed for a wide variety of business challenges, the book shows how narrative can help: Define culture and values • Engender creativity and innovation • Foster collaboration and build relationships • Provide coaching and feedback • Lead change • And more.

Whether in a speech or a memo, communicated to one person or a thousand, storytelling is an essential skill for success. Complete with examples from companies like Kellogg's, Merrill-Lynch, Procter & Gamble, National Car Rental, Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, and more, this practical resource gives readers the guidance they need to deliver stories to stunning effect.


This is probably the first book I've reviewed that I wanted to buy and give to someone as an gift.

Lead with a Story is basically a guide on how to become a more effective storyteller and integrate it into your work.

This book is perfect for managers and those who want to get to that level in the future. That's because this is more than just about storytelling. It's about communicating, encouraging and inspiring others.

The stories featured in the book are very interesting and thought-provoking. They are the kind of stories you would want to share with others. I don't know if this would work in my company since it's a very traditional corporation, but the senior managers will probably make this work.

Thanks to NetGalley and AMACOM for the e-ARC. Publication date of Lead With a Story is on August 30, 2012.


  1. It's interesting and very useful.
  2. There are exercises at the end of each chapter.
  3. There's a workbook of sorts at the end.


  1. It can get boring by the end if you read it in one sitting.

Stories inspire. Slides don't.

  1. You're a manager or would like to be one someday.
  2. You want to be a more effective storyteller.
  3.  You like stories.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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