Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire

Paul Smith, Author
Paul Smith. Amacom, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8144-2030-0
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-0-8144-2031-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-283-57205-7
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Smith, director of Consumer & Communications Research at Proctor & Gamble, offers a comprehensive collection of business lessons on the popular concept of storytelling in the workplace. Unfortunately, while this work is timely and filled with numerous entertaining “ready to tell” stories, it misses the mark by attempting to tackle too much under one cover. Smith has interviewed more than 75 individuals, addresses 21 leadership challenges (with multiple stories to help tackle each challenge), intersperses “how-to” chapters within sections arranged around leadership themes, reviews some structural frameworks, and includes summaries and exercises at the end of each chapter. The result is a dizzying and disjointed amount of information for the reader to absorb. Taken individually, the stories are useful and have impact, such as when GE’s Jack Welch gives his leaders a “reality check” or Morgan Stanley’s John Mack makes a point about time and money when scolding a trader for keeping a delivery boy waiting, but as a whole, the book is overly ambitious. Additionally, the disproportionate number of examples from P&G make the book feel like a prolonged homage to the company. Though the book will be valuable when taken in small chunks, by failing to keep it simple, Smith has violated one of the basic rules of storytelling. Agent: The Rudy Agency. (Aug.)
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