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The Best Books for Business Storytelling

By Ed Gabrys | February 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Looking to get promoted and want to show your value without being a showoff? Trying to frame a business proposal without sounding like you’re selling? Feeling uncertain of how to approach your next presentation. It looks like you need a story to tell. You should know by now that I’m happy to point you to the tips, techniques, and advice I’ve written for Gartner (links are included below). Or, if you don’t have access to Gartner research (and even if you do), you should check out my latest storytelling webinar.

But if you love storytelling the way I do and you want to go deeper into the subject, here are a few resources that I have found helpful.

If you want to be a better storyteller

  • Story Genius, Lisa Cron. Lisa Cron is an authority on the topic of storytelling. In this book, she dispels storytelling myths and teaches you how to craft a story that is strong in narrative and persuasion.
  • Wired for Story  Lisa Cron. I told you that Lisa was a master on the craft, didn’t I? In Wired for Story, Lisa goes deeper into how to make your stories more compelling by tapping into what brain science can tell us about how we receive, interpret and consume stories.
  • Building a Story Brand, Donald Miller. I wasn’t sure what to make from Donald Miller’s book at first because it felt a bit too focused on selling, marketing, and branding for my needs. However, I found his framework and writing style easy to read and easy to translate into business presentations and stories. If you want a simple and straightforward approach, this is a good place to start.
  • The Anatomy of Story, John Truby. If you want to explore the constructs and frameworks of story, then this is the book. The author walks you through 22 steps to become a master storyteller.

If you want to be a better writer

  • Writing to Persuade, Trish Hall. Trish Hall was responsible for The New York Time’s Op-Ed for almost five years and learned what it takes to write a compelling piece. Her book can help anyone be a better writer and a better editor.
  • Writing Without Bullshit, Josh Bernoff. I found Josh Bernoff’s book refreshing because he practices what the title promises. I recommend this book to anyone who needs to write professionally but wants to be understood. Professional writing and understanding are regrettably not synonymous. Bernoff’s book will help you not only be a better writer, but his approach may change the way you write, what you write, and how you produce.

If you want to give better presentations

  • Slide:ology, Resonate, and Illuminate, Nancy Duarte.  If you are not already familiar with Nancy Duarte and her work, then I am pleased to introduce you. Nancy has written at least five books on the topic and is a preeminent authority. Her books provide visual examples and clear advice on how to create high-quality presentations.
  • The Truthful Art, and The Functional Art, Alberto Cairo. If you need to produce visualizations or to represent data, Alberto Cairo’s work should be high on your list. Roll up your sleeves, get ready to take notes, and go to school. Cario is a highly acclaimed author and university professor. His work is detailed and comprehensive.

You can find my Gartner research on presentations and storytelling linked below.


What did I miss? If you didn’t see your favorite resource(s) listed here, please post and share.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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