15 Must-Read Books That Will Make You An Outstanding Storyteller

15 Must-Read Books That Will Make You An Outstanding Storyteller

What truly makes a story stick with people?

Imagine a Eurasian steppe with a few trees and a fire in between. You are sitting at the fire, looking into the bright light as you feel the heat of the fire on your face. As you look up, the sky is filled with tens of thousands of stars.

Image for post(Not the actual campfire on the Eurasian steppe)

Your fellow tribesmen and women are sitting around the fire with you. There?s a small child on your left, playing with sticks trying to kill the little bug on your left leg. Your tribe?s leader is on your right, making noises that we wouldn?t understand today.

The leader of your tribe tells you a story of the god that he once saw in his dream. How the god spoke to him about the war between you and the tribe near you. How the god told him that you were going to win the war.

He speaks of stories his father has told him. Of dangers in the caves, of monsters who killed entire villages.

Storytelling has been the best way humans can share information with each other. Stories are easy to understand since we can visualize what somebody is talking about. And when you?re telling a story, it?s important to know how to actually tell a great story.

Plus, great storytelling can make you pretty well known on the internet. It helped me to reach millions of people through sites like Reddit, Quora, blogs and other media.

Telling great stories will also make it easier to:

  • become an inspirational leader (both offline as online)
  • get the attention of people around you
  • get your message across in an easy way
  • publish your own book
  • (shut the other guy/gal up who tells terrible stories when you go out for drinks with your friends or colleagues)

And to tell a great story, you need to read great books. Over the years, I?ve read hundreds of books, with dozens of them covering storytelling.

Below I have attached a list of 15 great books that you should read if you want to be a better storyteller.

[This story contains random dots below the description of the books ? sorry to mobile readers. The desktop layout of the article just looks awful if I don?t add that.]

1. Wired for Story: The Writer?s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence

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Author: Lisa Cron

Description: Great stories start with an ultimate captivating first sentence. You need to immediately grab your audience?s attention. Wired for Story gives a ton of useful advice to do exactly that and to turn your regular story into a captivating from the first words that come out of your mouth.

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2. Contagious: Why Things Catch On

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Author: Jonah Berger

Description: What makes something so interesting that people will love listening to a story? And how can you make people move from the story you are telling? Contagious gives a great insight on why things catch on and how you can use that for your own storytelling. A fantastic read if you want to spread your message quickly.

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3. Start with Why

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Author: Simon Sinek

Description: This book was once personally recommended to me by Joe Gebbia (co-founder of Airbnb) when I asked him what book he recommends on storytelling. Simon Sinek does a great job at using storytelling to explain how the ?Golden Circle? helps people and companies to do better.

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4. The Storyteller?s Secret: Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don?t

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Author: Carmine Gallo

Description: Personally I highly recommend this book. The author uses storytelling to explain, well.. storytelling. Every chapter starts out with a fantastic story and clearly outlines how people like Oprah, Sting and others have used storytelling to build a following.

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5. Ego is the Enemy

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Author: Ryan Holiday

Description: This is the one book I highly recommend to anyone, even outside of storytelling. But it?s great for storytelling as well, since Ryan Holiday is great at explaining the concepts in his book by telling historical stories about people we all know and the lessons we can learn from them.

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6. Made to Stick

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Author: Chip Heath

Description: In a world with a ton of information, how do you truly stick with people? This book outlines why some ideas work and others don?t, but also greatly shows why some stories stick and others don?t.

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7. The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human

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Author: Jonathan Gottschall

Description: We have the power to change the world one story at a time. This book describes the process of telling great stories perfectly, whether you?re writing or telling stories.

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8. Influence: the science of persuasion

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Author: Robert Cialdini

Description: Want to use your stories in a business sense as well? Influence describes the science of persuasion. Reading this book will help you understand how you can tell your stories in a persuasive way, so others will take action.

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9. The Hero?s Journey

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Author: Joseph Campbell

Description: This author was one of the greatest storytellers that have ever lived. This book will give you a better insight in yourself, which will ultimately help you shape your stories in a better way to better bring across the message you want to spread in this world.

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10. Meditations

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Author: Marcus Aurelius

Description: Marcus Aurelius was a Roman leader who was the mightiest man on the planet 2300 years ago. This book is mainly on being physically well during hard times, and how to be a good person, but the way he tells stories is fantastic.

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11. Delivering Happiness: A path to profits, passion and purpose

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Author: Tony Hsieh

Description: Starting a company is one thing. Starting a company and selling it for $1.2 billion to Amazon is another. The way Tony tells this story is incredible and the book is full of advice on life, business and ultimately helps you write better stories when looking at how Tony wrote it.

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12. Letters from a Self-made Merchant to his son

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Author: George Horace Lorimer

Description: This book covers letters that a self-made merchant wrote to his son and is both interesting in a storytelling way as it is inspirational to write great stories. Comes with a bunch of great life lessons as well.

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13. Art of Seduction

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Author: Robert Greene

Description: Some of the most well-known people in the world learned how they could seduce the audience. And if you want to tell great stories, you need to learn how to seduce your own audience. Bonus: this book is actually written very well and Robert Greene tells stories in a unique way.

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14. Talk Like Ted: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World?s Top Minds

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Author: Carmine Gallo

Description: Storytelling is a big asset in great Ted Talks, they have to entertain the audience for 10 to 25 minutes. Great stories keep people focused on what you?re telling them. This book explains this concept perfectly and helps you to reshape your stories.

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15. Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation

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Author: Sally Hogshead

Description: Telling great stories means you need to be able to be influential, persuasive and captive. In the end, your stories really need to mean something to the people that are listening to them ? both personally and in business. This book explains this concept perfectly.

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Got other books? Feel free to leave a comment!

I?m always on the lookout to find new books myself. So if you?ve recently read a book (or even have written a book) about storytelling or that contains great stories, feel free to leave it in the comments!

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