4 Must-Read Books on Storytelling

4 Must-Read Books on Storytelling


Stories are the way in which we teach moral lessons, keep an audience engaged in what we’re saying, and convince others to pursue a course of action. In the business world, where time is short, and you need to make a point quickly the favorite device is the anecdote. These short stories help others see your point of view. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a meeting where all of the evidence is pointing towards a clear path when someone, usually someone in a senior position, offers up and anecdotal counter-example. You want to quit smoking? Why? My grandfather smoked a pack a day and he lived till 92. And that’s all it takes. The meeting is over. All the evidence in the world doesn’t matter anymore. This simple anecdote now has everyone ignoring the evidence and statistical distribution and focusing on the grandfather. The problem is stories don’t really encourage us to think. They make it easy to overlook evidence, fall prey to cognitive biases, and generally encourage bad decisions. Stories are an important weapon to have in our arsenal. As someone trying to persuade others, you can have all the facts you want but if you can’t tell a story people won’t listen. In response to a question recently, Demian Farnworth, a writer at copyblogger, offered up four books copywriters should read to improve their ability to tell a good story. He spends his day writing stories and highly recommends you read these four books if you want to learn how to tell better stories.

The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, by Noah Lukeman.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling, by James N. Frey.

Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maas.

“As you’ll notice,” he writes, “these have nothing to do with copywriting. That’s okay. The discipline of storytelling translates exceptionally well over industries. What you learn in these books you can use in your sales copy.” And sales copy is just a fancy way of persuading people to come around to your point of view. Just make sure you’ve done the work.

Life is Too Short to Work with Assholes; Non assholes care. They want people around them to succeed. They are obsessed with the joy customers experience with their work. But above all else, when they finally trust you, they will make themselves vulnerable to you. Something assholes will never do

JUNE 25, 2013

Life is Too Short to Work with Assholes

MARC BARROS, Entrepreneur. Creator. Builder. Co-Founded Contour Cameras.

Just thinking about the last one you worked with makes your stomach turn. The negative energy you felt in their presence is enough to make you want to throw up and remembering the damage they caused is something you shove so far back into your subconscious, you just hope it goes away. Unfortunately there are assholes all around you. Enough of them that they find their way into companies, marriages, families, and friendships. A trait everyone can recognize that often goes unchecked for a long time until someone is willing to stand up and say enough, no more assholes. Dealing with them in the start-up world sucks. They can tear a team apart and if they happen to invest, an entire company. Their quest for power is a zero sum game where their winning means someone else is losing. A game that works in the short term, but never in the long term. Asshole is a subject so popular there are 154 million results on Google and in the business world interesting enough that Robert Sutton’s book, “The No Asshole Rule” became a best seller, everywhere. Read more of this post

FHA Swamped By Defaults; Congressional Report Shows FHA Could Suffer Losses as High as $115 Billion

FHA Swamped By Defaults; Congressional Report Shows FHA Could Suffer Losses as High as $115 Billion; Shut Down Fannie, Freddie, FHA

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 11:21 PM PDT

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

An alleged “worst case scenario” shows the FHA could lose as much as $115 Billion. Since these worst case scenarios are always famously optimistic, the best course of action would be to shut the agency down.
I was quoted as saying just that by the Heartland in Congressional Report Raises Spectre of FHA Bailout. Read more of this post

Senior Vatican cleric arrested in money smuggling case; Trio accused of trying to bring 20 million euros from Switzerland

Senior Vatican cleric arrested in money smuggling case

Fri, Jun 28 2013

* Trio accused of trying to bring 20 million euros from Switzerland

* Vatican prelate was already subject of another investigation

* Arrests come after Pope set up commission to look into bank

* Private plane was to have collected cash; cell phones burned (Adds more quotes, Scarano’s background)

By Philip Pullella

ROME, June 28 (Reuters) – A senior Catholic cleric with connections to the Vatican bank was arrested on Friday for plotting to help rich friends smuggle tens of millions of euros in cash into Italy from Switzerland, in the latest blow to the Vatican’s image. Read more of this post

Bob Mankoff picks his 11 favorite New Yorker cartoons ever

Bob Mankoff picks his 11 favorite New Yorker cartoons ever

Posted by: Helen Walters
June 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm EDT
Bob Mankoff: Anatomy of a New Yorker cartoonBob Mankoff lives and breathes cartoons. He’s drawn many himself — he’s had a contract with The New Yorker for more than 30 years and, in 1997, he became the magazine’s cartoon editor. It’s now his job to sift through the 1,000 or so “idea drawings” (as they’re called within The New Yorker‘s walls) that are submitted each week — and decide upon the 17 or so that will make it into print. As Mankoff explains in great detail in today’s TED Talk, he has a keen idea of what works within the context of the cerebral pages of his magazine. And he’s built up a stable of his own favorite drawings over the years. We asked Mankoff to do the unthinkable and reveal in public some of the cartoons he finds perennially delightful. With typical good humor, he not only did so, but added his own wry commentary on why exactly he deems these cartoons perfectly New Yorker-worthy. Here, in chronological order, his top eleven. Enjoy.


“This is a simply perfect cartoon; it’s perfectly constructed,” says Mankoff. “We have no empathy or sympathy for the pain-in-the-ass old biddy. Then there’s this guy, this shoe salesman, bringing out hundreds of shoes. We think he’s reaching for another black shoe and it turns out he’s reaching for a gun. But this is important: we know he’s not going to kill her. If he shot her, it’d be horrible. This is fantasy, not reality.”Chon Day, December 14, 1946.

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World’s Most Respected Companies: And the winner is … Berkshire Hathaway, knocking the crown off three-time winner Apple. Market history is rife with costly examples, from Enron and WorldCom back to John Law’s Mississippi Bubble in France 300 years ago. For both companies and investors, it pays to remember that the ways to fall down the ranking are myriad, but the ways up, few.


Most Respected


And the winner is … Berkshire Hathaway, knocking the crown off three-time winner Apple. Who’s up, who’s down, who’s on, and who’s off.

Apple‘s reign is over.

Its remarkable three-year hold on the throne of Barron’s annual ranking of the world’s most respected companies is history. No longer the apple of the market’s eye, the immensely successful maker of iPads, iPhones, and Mac computers slipped to third place in the 2013 survey (ticker: AAPL). And proving that comebacks are possible even for an 82-year-old CEO, Warren Buffett’sBerkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK/A) came out on top this year, up from a No. 15 finish in 2012 — the only time in this ranking’s nine-year history that it finished out of the top five.

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Reframe failure as intention; Better Place and Tesla prove there’s an art out to turning sub-optimal outcomes into success

Reframe failure as intention

June 28, 2013: 11:21 AM ET

Better Place and Tesla prove there’s an art out to turning sub-optimal outcomes into success.

By Saul Kaplan

FORTUNE — The key to unlocking the next wave of economic growth may be as simple as enabling more people to try more stuff. The industrial era was all about scale and squeezing out the possibility of mistakes. As a result we are too afraid to fail. Companies only take on projects with highly predictable results. Employees fall in line for fear of making career-limiting moves. How will we get better if the fear of failure prevents us from trying anything new? How will we make progress on the big system challenges of our time, if every time someone tries something transformational and fails, we vilify them? What if we reframed failure as intentional iteration? Read more of this post

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