Cover Image: The Art of the Tale

The Art of the Tale

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Member Reviews

This is a fine book on storytelling, storytelling with a focus on business presentations and speeches. That said, this is a topic for which the market is glutted. There are many books available about storytelling, and while this one doesn’t distinguish itself by being exceptionally bad, neither does it distinguish itself as exceptionally good. It’s a decent book on storytelling, and if you’re interested in stories for work presentations or speeches and haven’t read other books on the subject, you might as well try this one. However, if you’ve studied up on the subject, I wouldn’t expect to discover anything profound or novel in this book.

The book does focus on some subjects more than do others. One of my favorite parts was chapter 11, “Warts and All…,” because it addresses an issue that books tend to overlook or gloss over, and that’s how to deal with the skeletons in one’s closet (or in the company’s closet.) It offers an intriguing look at the dark side of Henry Ford.

One of the strengths of this book is that it summarizes key lessons and repeatedly revisits core concepts (e.g. the StoryCube, which is these authors’ outline for presenting the fundamental elements of a story.) The book’s greatest weakness is probably oversimplifications and banal statements, particularly given that the authors critique the simplifying statements of others. For example, they offer a criticism of the common distinction between plot- and character-driven literature that misses that there is something fundamentally different between Joyce’s “Ulysses” and “The Hunger Games” that is worth understanding, and – to the degree their criticism is true – much of this book could be similarly criticized as oversimplification or false dichotomization / categorization.

Reading this book helped me think about the subject of storytelling, particularly the non-written variety of story, but I can’t say there was anything groundbreaking or of unmatched profundity.

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An inspiring and entertaining read that’s a must-read for those who talk to audiences, whether you run meetings, do formal business presentations, teach classes, tell stories to tourists, or address large audiences as the keynote speaker.
It made me determined to try and take my storytelling and presentations to new heights. Authors Tom and Steven give great advice with clarity and humour. Their enthusiasm and passion for storytelling is contagious. The book is packed with memorable tips and formulae as well as bite-sized information.
Each chapter focuses on an aspect of story-telling, and ends with a summary, together with key points to remember. It certainly doesn’t read like a textbook, though. It’s engaging and sparkling and fun. Tom takes a “deep dive into the intricacies of giving speeches that transform audiences” while Steven focuses more on the “nuts and bolts of telling stories that truly connect with listeners.”
The book covers four major categories: the story, listeners, context and storyteller.
I learnt about the four crucial elements of stories as well as two other elements that make stories more memorable, poignant and meaningful. All this is presented in fresh ways, with an abundance of stories, both personal as well as age-old ones that have been passed on down the years. I also learnt a whole lot about oxytocin, which I found fascinating!
The overall message: “Strive for connection [with your audience] rather than perfection.”

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Early on in The Art of the Tale, Steven James' and Tom Morrisey's book on effective storytelling, the authors (James in particular) offer the following advice: "Never tell people what they already know in a way they already expect."

Quite appropriately, that nugget perhaps best describes the book itself. In truth, there isn't much completely original in The Art of the Tale. It's a book that recognizes how important effective storytelling has become to personal and professional success, and seeks to deconstruct various aspects of the process to help readers become better storytellers themselves. Much of the insight they have to offer in that regard is old hat; in fact, they even cite a number of established names in the field to help get their points across.

Yet here's the thing: a book on the finer aspects of storytelling doesn't have to be original. What more needs to be said, after all? Rather, it just has to be good, particularly at framing the matter in a way that is helpful to readers who aspire to be better storytellers.

In that sense, The Art of the Tale is good (or perhaps good enough, depending on your persuasion). James and Morrisey have extensive writing experience, and the book is peppered with many storytelling examples to get their various points across. Hence, the book serves a practical guide to storytelling for both novices and veterans, something to help the former put matters into context and for the latter to be reminded of the things that matter presented in new or different ways.

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A great book if you are looking to refine your speaking skills! Using the idea that a story is much more powerful than telling people what to do, the authors walk you through several tips and tricks to figure out how and when to tell a story (real or fiction, anecdote or actual "Story")

Pick this up and practice (except when they tell you it's better NOT to practice!) and I do believe it will help you reach your audiences a lot better.

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With THE ART OF THE TALE, Steven James and Tom Morrisey combine years of experience and vast expertise in storytelling and speechmaking in a highly engaging, memorable, and powerful book. I enjoyed every minute of it and will never forget the examples and clear instruction on how to tell stories that engage and entertain while educating, motivating, and inspiring listeners to act. Throughout this thoroughly delightful book, the authors take turns telling stories from the road, what's worked and what bombed so that the rest of us don't have to muddle through the same swamps or devise makeshift strategies and processes to deliver the best we have to give. Having been the fortunate audience member for several of Steven James' talks, I can avow to how generously and well this talented person walks his talk. A must read for anyone who tells stories in any format: speeches, written communications, anywhere and everywhere a story is told. I received an advance copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.

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I was really exited about this book before reading it but unfortunately it wasn't for me. It didn't really feal relevant for me and it was hard to connect any of the presented material to the challenges in my personal or professional life.

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It's an okay read! This book focuses a lot on speeches and business related things, which wasn't really relevant to me at the moment, but might be of use at some point in my life. I'll give it four stars because I think it can still be useful for others who are more interested in public speaking.

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I requested this book mainly to help me with branding my own business and telling a story. While this is geared more towards speakers, this still makes a great read for anybody wanting to learn why speakers like Brene Brown or other TED talkers are so compelling to listen to.

The Art of the Tale has lots of personal stories from the author as well as a plethora of tips, explanations and information. This is great for if you wanted to tell better stories at parties or events or it could help if you have a business or an important work event. At each chapter end there is a key points to remember part, which nicely summarizes important information.

I can recommend this to anybody that would like a compact book about how to tell a story. It's not dry at all, promise.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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One thing for sure, there’s nothing like a good story to make you perk up your ears. Master storytellers in the form of Steven James and Tom Morrisey use their skills to write an extremely readable and even enjoyable tome to show you how to capture and make an impact on your audience. They’ve also given very useful quick outlines at the end of every chapter.

Of particular interest for these times is a chapter on diversity and inclusion.

A keeper for anyone who wants to bring life to any format of presentation. Lots of practical tips and techniques and essential do’s and don’ts.

A hearty 5 stars from me.

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A writer who also reads books to others, I'm woefully inadequate as raconteur, speechifier and improviser. Hence I was immediately drawn to "The Art of the Tale: Engage Your Audience, Elevate Your Organization, and Share Your Message Through Storytelling," written by Steven James, prolific thriller novelist, writing teacher, and speechmaking consultant, coequally with Tom Morrisey, a similarly prolific writer in nonfiction genres, plus a teacher/consultant. In this book, they address how to "tell a story," which mostly means standing in front of an audience to recount a tale or present something to sell or entertain. As such, the "tale" they instruct upon is less the grand narrative and more the quick or shaggy dog story. The two authors write alternate chapters, interposing with asides on each others' teachings, and both are, as one would hope, wonderfully intelligent and focused instructors. They move from the basics of "story" through to the nuts and bolts of preparing, administering, and excelling at the nine-minute (or whatever length) spoken address. I found every chapter to be strangely apposite for my own long-form writing. Peppered with dozens of apt case studies, The Art of the Tale should be required reading for anyone wishing to communicate via story or needing to speak in public.

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This book has good information—3 stars means it is worth reading. If you’re starting out in public speaking, you’ll gain practical knowledge in choosing stories, telling them well, avoiding traps, considering your venue and audience. But it also skims through a lot of topics that are important, such as speaking to diverse audiences. There simply isn’t enough there to help a new speaker really understand what to do—and the book is long enough already! The examples are great. So, examine the table of contents. Check what you most need to learn. Concentrate on those chapters, realize that you can fast-forward through some of the chapters that aren’t very meaty, and start trying out your stories with anyone that will humor you as you use the book’s advice to become a good storyteller.

Thanks, NetGalley, for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Solid, practical info and advice here. Since we're wired for stories, and some of us are not natural story tellers, this offers some great tips. Recommended.

Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!

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This is one of those 5-star reads that gets you hooked on a topic, makes you invest much more time on developing a skill than you initially intended, so that at the end of the day you can stand proud and say “I feel that I mastered this skill!” This is the feeling that I got after finishing Steven James & Tom Morrisey’s book on storytelling entitled “The Art of the Tale”.

Through its 368, readers will discover that the authors went the extra mile to put together this great work which combines examples of his personal experience as a writer with advice on crafting stories. Another aspect that I personally like is that the authors emphasize the idea that we, as human beings, are storytellers by nature:

“You may not get paid to write novels, perform plays, or direct movies - and you may have never thought about it this way before - but as a member of the human race you are already a storyteller.”

I look forward to putting into practice some of the new techniques I learned by reading this book!

Special thanks to NetGalley, HarperCollins Leadership, and the editorial team for giving me the opportunity to review the ARC in audiobook format and to you, my reader, for taking the time to read this honest personal book review.

If you are interested in other of my book reviews, make sure to follow me on GoodReads!

#LifeLongLearning #TheArtoftheTale #NetGalley

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I am recalling how lost I felt in my first public presentations like three or four hundred years ago. It's good to know that if I were preparing those same speeches today with the help of this book, I am sure that my performance would be much more enjoyable and memorable.

Steven James and Tom Morrisey provide not only the tools to structure and shape the message, but also hints of the staging. It’s an enlightening, and practical book where the theory about storytelling and public speaking is supported by inspiring stories and technical clues to connect with your audience (check for the oxytocin). The two voices are delivering complementary perspective, so they enrich the experience even though some repetitive information could look redundant.

With thanks to NetGalley, HarperCollins Leadership and the authors for a free copy to review in exchange for an honest opinion

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Reviewing: The Art of the Tale by Steven James and Tom Morrisey

Spinning yarns is as American as apple pie and ancient as the creation of the worlds. Storytelling is a fabric of every society and is an effective way of communicating knowledge from one generation to another. The Art of the Tale gives back to our generation what is lost in translation, from gathering around a campfire to telling tales handed down from our parents and grandparents to the modern shorthand of texting or social media. The best stories told are those that are remembered for generations, not one day. Steven James and Tom Morrisey take this thought much further and make this book a valuable resource for public speakers and anyone wanting to hone their storytelling skills, whether verbal or written.

James and Morrisey keep their readers on the edge of their seats by practicing what they preach telling their readers stories throughout their book. Reading their book is not work as they keep your attention with their stories (some happy and some not so much) while giving readers valuable lessons on how to be an effective yarn spinner. This is one that I will likely read over a few more times in my lifetime and refer to often as needed. I plan to share this with my colleagues and friends very soon!

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Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Leadership for this ARC. I was attracted immediately to this book for many reasons. As a cofounder of a small nonprofit and making many pitches to a variety of audiences I've always struggled with the right combination of telling a story and sharing facts and figures to make a presentation most effective. This book helped me realize that sharing personal stories can in fact be very powerful and it all depends on how you do so. I've altered my presentations to take in some of the great tips these authors offer. Many thanks!

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Excellent book on the art and performance of storytelling! If you plan to do any public speaking at all, this is your book. The authors cover every single possible aspect of public speaking, including posture, how to deal with microphones, how to speak during online meetings, lighting, you name it. I learned a lot and will refer back to this book.

As a writer, I also learned a lot about storytelling. Even as a published fiction writer, there was much for me to chew on. The authors present their tips in a succinct, highly readable format. Highly recommended for writers who spend most of their time in front of the computer but know they will need to speak in public eventually.

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In this book tells experience from the authors itself Steven James and Tom Morrisey.

This book focus on how to take your past experiences and turn it into a story. Not everyone is born with the ability to entertain people or good with audience while telling a story but with practice everything can be archived.

In this book, you’ll learn:
* there is no right way to tell a story.
* How to gain confidence as a storyteller.
* connecting with your audience.
* understanding what makes a good story.
* drawing truth out of stories you wish to tell.
I like it when it teach how to tell stories more effectively because my biggest obstacle is to connect with audience.

l will try the technique and hopefully it will works to me too.

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“While not widely realized, the main reason people gather in an auditorium to sit through a presentation and listen to a speaker is not communication,” according to Steven James and Tom Morrisey. Effective speakers understand their objective and how best to achieve it. In their latest book from HarperCollins Leadership entitled The Art of the Tale, 2022, James and Morrisey bring the experience of a speechwriter and professional storyteller to their writing to help their readers master the art of storytelling.

The book’s foundational premise is that “stories reach the heart, change perspectives, inform listeners on a deep level, and have the ability to transform lives.” Every type of speaking can benefit from better storytelling, regardless of the size of the audience or the formalness of the setting. A strength of the book is found in the practical insights, at times given in lists, ready-made for the reader to implement. The book considers the importance of the story from the perspective of the listener to that of the storyteller. Points overlap a little, but this does not detract from the book.

I have spent much time as a public speaker and found this book to be helpful. It contains many practical insights. For example, you start speaking the moment your first audience member arrives, so make certain your appearance and demeanor match your message. The Art of the Tale will remain on my shelf to look at periodically before presentations. For anyone desiring to improve their ability as a communicator, buy this book.

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This book is a thoughtful, well-reasoned approach to why stories are effective, and breaking down what elements comprise an effective tale. As the two writers mention, the obvious audience for this book are leaders in a corporate setting, but in truth can be applied to a lot of different careers. In my work at non-profits, storytelling is a key skill needed to help connect with potential donors, and I found this book incredibly helpful. It clarified for me why certain approaches work better than others, and how I can approach building an effective delivery every time I know there's a story that I want to share.

The book alternates between it's two authors, and I did find it disconcerting when Steven James inserted boxed asides in the middle of Tom Morrisey's examples. It's almost as if they didn't trust the effectiveness of what Morrisey said alone, which is both not true- Morrisey, if anything, is more naturally engaging writer- and tended to abruptly pull me 'out' of the story that he was building. But this isn't enough to stop me from recommending this book to anyone who relies on connecting with an audience at some point.

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