Book Review (Book 8) - The Elements of Persuasion

Book Review (Book 8) - The Elements of Persuasion

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This is a continuation of the books I challenged myself to read to help my career - one a month, for year. You can read my first book review here. The book I chose for January 2012 was: The Elements of Persuasion by Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman.

Why I chose this Book:

As I mentioned in a previous review, I think good storytelling is an essential part of any career. Communication is basic in not only our professional but personal lives, and everyone I’ve met responds well to stories, from children to executive audiences. Not only that, learning to tell a story helps you formulate concepts about the topic, which is yet another way of learning.

I heard about this book from a couple of folks, and it landed within search of “storytelling” and “business”. Whenever I just search for “Storytelling” I either end up with lists of stories (which is fine) or lists of children’s books on storytelling (which is also fine) but neither of these are quite what I’m looking for.

A quick search on Amazon and I located the book, and then a quick check of my various e-library offerings and I downloaded it to my laptop for reading.

What I learned:

This is a “selling” book, but not like you might think. It’s not a book of a quick sale like at a car-lot or a “quick-sale” environment. It’s more along the lines at the executive level and longer-term sales - those involve stories as well.

Sadly, this is another “business book” - the kind I normally don’t like much. There are typical case-study layouts with lots of examples, but in my mind not enough didactic information to actually help you develop a good story-telling mantra. 

Even so, I learned some interesting things about the process these authors use. Some of the case studies are interesting, and I did pull out that a story should work towards a single, defining sentence. This isn’t unique to this book, but it is a reinforcement of what I’ve learned elsewhere. Although nothing to do with storytelling, I did like the reference to Lockheed’s “14 Rules”, which I hadn’t read before. They also break down the storytelling process into five elements, which is actually covered better (in my mind) in a book called “20 Master Plots” , which may actually be the storytelling book I’ve been searching for.

Or perhaps I should just write the one I’m looking for. Smile 

At any rate, not sure I would recommend this book to others - perhaps as a check-out, but not a purchase, at least if this is for the same reason I looked it up. 

Raw Notes:

As I read, I take notes - it’s called “reading with a pencil”. These are the notes I made to myself, in no particular order and with no context other than the book itself:

  • Stories are interesting to us all.
  • Describes five elements in a story, but in fact this is for only one type of story. Other books describes more story types.
  • Very standard business book, but there are good tips in some of the chapters.
  • Explained how to connect with the audience, good points Spends a lot of time referring to other books The book of five rings Work towards a single, memorable sentence.
  • Changes partway through into stories about stories. This is better.
  • A mix of storytelling and sales, although this was touted for sales, feels much more like selling than storytelling, advertisements.
  • Interesting story about memory championships, where contestants memorize cards. They use unusual stories.
  • Look up Lockheed and the 14 rules
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  • Hey Buck, wouldn't Jerry Weissman be the father of them all, when coming to actual storytelling? Just my two cents - what I found it that storrytelling and presentation are two different hats to fit the same head.

  • Thank You

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