Tell to Win (Peter Guber) book review

Tell to Win illustrates the powerful way stories can catapult your message over the walls of indifference and resistance. But if you are looking for a how-to manual on how to craft your own stories, this is not the book.

Guber has lived an interesting life as head honcho at entertainment giants like Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures and Mandalay Entertainment. And so, he is full of stories from famous names like Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, Sidney Poitier, Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Mandela and others. These are first-hand accounts, not things he’s heard through the grapevine. If you could claim you were involved in a single one of these stories, you would use it to open a talk on storytelling. Guber has been involved in dozens of these stories.

An example: Bill Clinton called Guber in a bit of a panic. He needed $90,000 by the end of that day to keep his presidential campaign alive. How did he convince Guber to help? By asking him if he’s ever seen High Noon, the movie about a sheriff who faces four bad guys while the rest of the town cowers in fear, except for one brave girl who makes the difference. Guber says he’s seen the movie. “Well,” says Clinton, “It’s high noon.”

What a powerful example. And it’s one of many.

Tell to Win sets a new bar for books on storytelling in business. Where it misses the mark is on defining a story, how to craft a story and when to not use stories. In this regard, the book is a bit like a coffee table book, heavy on beautiful examples but light on practical advice.

Nevertheless, if the book makes you rethink how you use storytelling to sell your most important ideas, the time and money you invest in Tell to Win will pay you back with interest.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

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