If you’re reading this, you and I have something in common — we want to become better storytellers.
And while we won’t become master storytellers overnight, these books are sure to get you started on your journey to telling better stories.
If you’re ready to become a better storyteller, start with these 6 books!
1. Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business by Kindra Hall
I knew this book was going to be good when I was hooked from the first couple pages in the Introduction alone!
Hall breaks down 4 unique story types you c̶a̶n̶ should incorporate into your content marketing and brand storytelling ASAP: The Value Story, The Founder Story, The Purpose Story, and The Customer Story.
Whether you’re an individual or organization, selling a product or service, you can draw on at least three of the four stories to captivate your customers, persuade your investors, and inspire your employees.
This was easily one of my favourite reads of 2020.
2. Storytelling With Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic
Storytelling With Data provides an excellent foundation to becoming a data storyteller. In fact, that’s why it was one of my favourite reads in 2019!
This book will transform your presentations, graphs, and charts. I immediately started to apply what I read to the design and layout of my documents, presentations, and graphic design!
I highly recommend this book if you need to make data-driven recommendations or strategies. You’ll also want to check out the official workbook “Storytelling With Data: Let’s Practice!“
3. DataStory: Explain Data and Inspire Action Through Story by Nancy Duarte
Duarte’s DataStory is a the perfect companion read to Storytelling With Data.
DataStory focuses on helping you share data insights using storytelling principles. You’ll learn how to communicate data to decision-makers, develop story structures that spark action, and craft clear business recommendations.
With this book, you’ll learn how to transform numbers into persuasive narratives — and that’s a skill you want to include on your LinkedIn profile!
4. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
You’ll find StoryBrand on most marketing and storytelling book recommendation lists. Miller presents a unique StoryBrand Framework where your customer is the hero, not your brand.
As you move through the book, you’ll create your own “BrandScript” and learn how to implement it on your website.
Here’s the thing — I’ve seen the StoryBrand framework implemented on a couple websites. And to me, it can come across as sales-y and insincere (Google “storybrand website examples” to see what I mean).
So if you have to take away one thing from this book to transform your marketing? Position your audience as the hero of their own story, and frame your brand as a guide. Your marketing should focus on helping your hero defeat their toughest challenges, meet their greatest needs, and obtain their deepest aspirations.
5. The Best Story Wins: How to Leverage Hollywood Storytelling in Business and Beyond by Matthew Luhn
Luhn tackles principles of storytelling in The Best Story Wins through the “Hero’s Journey” framework, and he uses movies like Monsters Inc., Cars, and Toy Story as examples.
And that’s because — surprise! — Luhn is former writer and Pixar storyteller.
In Best Story Wins, you’ll learn about universal story themes, story structures, and how to create relatable and authentic characters.
It’s a quick read, but hopefully you walk away with some new storytelling insights (or, at the very least, you’ll look at Pixar movies differently).
Luhn concludes with tips on how to create an innovative culture in the workplace, and shares some brief writing tips and techniques.
I also recommend following Luhn on Instagram @matthewluhnstory.
6. Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds, Get Results by Rob Bisenbach
This 3-part book provides lots of prompts, tips, and examples to help you incorporate stories into everyday life.
Part one is packed with “storytelling essentials.” Biesenbach offers six ingredients for powerful stories, a five-step process for creating stories, and a three-part story structure. He also provides five questions to test the strength of your stories, and some tips to ensure your story taps into a core human emotion.
In part two, Biesenbach covers “advanced storytelling” which includes how and where to find stories, mistakes to avoid in storytelling, and how to refine your stories.
Part three concludes with “applied storytelling” where you’ll learn how to use stories in presentations, toasts and eulogies, personal branding, and job interviews.
A highly practical read!
So there you have it — 6 books about storytelling to read!
BONUS: Right now, I’m in the middle of “Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling“, and I have “Storytelling Leadership: Creating Authentic Connections” by Charles Vogl in my "To Be Read" pile.
Will you be you adding any of these 8 storytelling books to your reading list?And if you know any must-read books about storytelling, share them below!