Have you ever wondered why we, as humans, are so drawn to hearing (or reading) great stories? And why is it that some stories easily captivate people while others fade into darkness?
How does one master the art and power of storytelling?
If you’ve stumbled upon this article, you’re probably looking to answer the same questions. That’s why we’ve gathered a collection of books from renowned writers to help you gain storytelling techniques.
Discover in this article, 18 of the best books on storytelling that will help you craft your stories and engage with your audience better.
Table of Contents
- 1. The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story - John Walsh
- 2. Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need - Blake Snyder
- 3. How to Tell a Story: 1 Book + 20 Story Blocks = A Million Adventures Daniel Nayeri, Brian Won
- 4. Master Lists for Writers: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More - Bryn Donovan
- 5. How to Write a Dynamite Scene Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing) - Randy Ingermanson
- 6. Understanding Show, Don't Tell: And Really Getting It - Janice Hardy
- 7. Putting Stories to Work - Shawn Callahan
- 8. TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking - Chris Anderson
- 9. Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire - Paul Smith
- 10. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Voices That Matter) - Garr Reynolds
- 11. Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence - Lisa Cron
- 12. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller - John Truby
- 13. Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age - Jonah Berger
- 14. Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need - Margot Leitman
- 15. Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success - Esther Choy
- 16. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die - Chip Heath, Dan Heath
- 17. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences - Nancy Duarte
- 18. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human - Jonathan Gottschall
Would you like to improve your presentations? Make them more captivating and glue the eyes of your audience on you? Or simply influence more the behavior of your loved ones? Then, this book is for you.
Learn how to craft beautiful stories that give more power to your message, opinion, and wishes.
Listening to others is not our greatest skill. Yet, we can’t resist a story. It’s like jumping in a train on a route of magnificent scenery.
This book is aimed to help screenwriters. However, it’s a great tool to learn how to:
- Build up a story
- Well design your characters
- Make people curious
- Intrigue your audience with a believable plot
If you’re not a screenwriter, perhaps you’re wondering why you should read this book?
First of all is entertaining, and second, gives you so much knowledge about creating stories that help you reach your outcome.
Some years ago one of my friends was sad because (in a few days) she was turning 40. So, to lift up her spirits, I made a video in which I presented to her the advantages of being 40 plus.
Her sadness transformed into delight, thinking about all those things she can do after 40 that wasn’t possible before it.
Read this book and craft your stories for any situation.
Discover in this book how you can structure fun games to share with your family (children) and improve your storytelling skills and creativity.
The book is a great educational tool to learn the basics of writing and have fun doing it.
Another positive aspect of this book is the fact that you can offer it as a gift; they’ll be delighted!
If you’re searching for inspiration and help to improve your writing skills, then this book is for you.
In the age of technology, most probably, you must write at least a few emails today, letters, and social media posts. Do you always know what to say?
Place this book on your desk, and you’ll never again run out of ideas.
Are you a wannabe fictional writer? Or maybe you’re tired of the same bedtime story and want a bit of diversity? Read this book and discover how you can become a skilled writer and storyteller.
This book is for a writer as a piano to a musician. It gives you the perfect platform on which you can start to stroke the notes and create beautiful symphonies.
When something exciting or funny happens in our life, we want to share with others those events. However, most times, what happens is that we start talking ending up with a tiny embarrassment smile. We say “You’ve got to have been there to understand“.
Certain things are hard to explain in words because it’s not an easy job to capture an event that created an intense emotion in you.
Learn from this book how to capture those emotions and put them into a story.
Isn’t it true that you have at least one co-worker that captivates the attention of everyone around? If you feel a bit envious, use that feeling and get curious about the secret of that person.
Most probably, the secret is their ability to tell stories and make people feel relaxed.
Discover in this book how you can share (with your co-workers, family, and friends) stories that inspire by eliciting strong emotions.
Did you know that our memory is influenced a great deal by our emotions? Therefore, the stronger the feeling you invoke in others, the more memorable you become.
One of the most prestigious places to be invited to talk, these days, is a TED conference. Is it not?
People invited to speak in one of those events always have something innovative to share. However, just having a brilliant idea doesn’t make you the right person to present that idea.
Discover in this book how to put your brilliant ideas in words so that your message it’s heard loud and clear by your audience.
Are you the proud owner of a small or big business? Or, are you the leader of a team? (bear in mind that your first team is your family)
If your answer to these questions is yes, then, this book is for you.
Learn from this book how to use storytelling so that you can:
“Today, we’ll talk about the four rage stages, and how easy it can be to make people enraged,” says a university professor before starting the lecture.
“Stage one: surprise.” The professor makes a diagram on the board; “Do you understand?“
“No“, the students reply.
“Then, let me show you stage one in practice.” The professor picks up the phone and dials a random number; “Hello, I want to speak to Johnny.” “There is no Johnny here,” the person at the end of the line replies surprised.
“Stage two – irritation.” The professor makes a diagram on the board; “Do you understand?“
“No“, the students reply.
“Then, let me show you stage two in practice.” The professor picks up the phone and dials the same number; “Hello, I want to speak to Johnny.” “As I told you last time, there is no Johnny here. Stop calling!” the person replies irritated.
“Stage three – anger.” The professor makes a diagram on the board; “Do you understand?“
“No“, the students reply.
“Then, let me show you stage three in practice.” The professor picks up the phone and dials the same number; “Hello, I want to speak to Johnny.” “Are you insane? I told you there is no Johnny here! You are [intelligibly name calling]. There is no Johnny here. Stop calling this number,” the person replies in an angry voice.
“Stage four – rage.” The professor makes a diagram on the board; “Do you understand?“
“No“, the students reply.
“Then, let me show you stage four in practice.” The professor picks up the phone and dials the same number; “Hello, I want to speak to Johnny.” The person at the end of the line says nothing for a split second, but then, start shouting and swearing, threatening to call the police “If you call this number one more time I’ll find you and paint Johnny on your face.“
“It’s so easy to make people feel enraged,” says the professor to conclude the lecture.
“I know another stage,” says a student. “After rage, comes stupefaction.”
“And how is that?” the professor asked.
The student makes a diagram on the board; “Do you understand?“
“No“, the students reply.
“Then, let me show you the last stage in practice.” The student picks up the phone and dials the same number; “Hello, I’m Johnny. Has anyone called me?” The person at the end of the line is speechless…
Yes, that’s a joke. However, there is something valuable to take from it. Most people get easily bored or angry or stupefied. Therefore, if you want your audience (of one or many) engage and listen to your message, you must learn how to use stories and give a brilliant presentation.
Is your brain wired to write or tell stories?
Many of us have preconceived ideas about what we can do and what we can learn. Writing a good story is like learning to play chess. It sounds a bit mystical and intimidating. Yet, once you start, you cannot stop.
Discover in this book how you can craft and deliver stories that make the brain of your listener unable to shift the focus from you to something else.
You don’t have to be a writer, as a profession, to need the skill of hooking people on your message. You must learn how to be a good storyteller no matter what you do because that gives you the slight edge to get on top.
We are born only with two fears, all the rest we learn. One of those fears we learn and petrifies most people is the fear to feel embarrassed.
Many years ago, I was to a chess tournament. There were 100 plus players in the room. You could hear only the muffled sound of ticking clocks. What can I say? Almost dead silence… until an old gentleman (in the middle of the room) slipped a loud and long fart.
At least half of the players turn their heads and looked at the “guilty” person and started laughing.
About a year later I met that gentleman at another tournament and we had a chat. In the middle of the conversation, he looked me straight in the eyes and said: “Do you remember me farting and how people laughed at me?” I didn’t know what to reply; should I pretend that never happened? Or that I haven’t noticed? Should I lie?
Before me having the chance to answer, he started a dissertation about all that happened to him that day (to have the full picture of the things that led to that monumental fart). When he finished the story, he laughed “I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life; now I’m more precautious about what I eat before a game.“
He told the story of that day to all of the players that witnessed the ‘big event’; he laughed with all of us (100 plus), and we laughed with him, not at him.
I was very young back then, but I learned a valuable lesson (for life) from that experience:
Any embarrassing moment in your life, put in the context of a story, becomes a funny story to tell.
Discover in this book the anatomy of story, how to become a master storyteller and overcome whatever holds you back.
From the beginning of the humankind, we learned to value two things above almost anything else. Those two things are:
- First, being viewed (by those around) as a good person,
- And second, we value being seen (not being invisible and left behind).
Those around you live through an overload of information. Therefore, never before you’ve been challenged (to this extent) to show who you are and what you stand for.
Discover in this book how you can present yourself and your ideas in the most visible light. Learn how you can stand out from the crowd by building a compelling story behind what you’re offering to this world.
Behind every person, there is a story. What is yours?
Your story is not finished yet (luckily)… You are writing it as you go through life and build on it your legacy.
Whenever you want to inspire others and help them, two ways of doing it stand out the most:
- First, your personal example – the story of how you overcome obstacles,
- And second, stories about other people coming out victorious from similar situations.
I’m not a fictional writer and yet, I often use stories in my books and courses. There is no better way to make your point than a story. There is no better way to influence your audience (of one or many) than a story.
Tell your children to eat broccoli, and they run to the freezer for the ice cream. Tell a story about how their favorite characters became powerful by eating broccoli, and you’ll not have enough money to by as much as they want.
Implore your husband not to leave his clothes on the floor, and the next day you can see there is a floor in the room. Tell him a story about a husband showing his love by folding his clothes; and, how in return, his wife stopped collecting and filling up the kitchen cabinets with bags and bags.
Ask (nicely) your co-workers to return the stapler, and you’ll be waiting a very long time for that to happen. Tell them a story (if possible a funny story), about a person that always forgot to give back what he borrowed; and how that person lost his job as a result.
Discover in this book how you can craft a story for whatever situation you’re in… What is your story? Can you tell it? Can you talk about the multitude of positive character traits you have without sounding pretentious? Can you convince those around that your way of doing things is the best?
Have you ever wondered how come we could be so insensitive about the misfortune of others? How can we be so cold and unmoved reading calamities or disasters facts and figures?
Facts and figures don’t have faces. It’s information that (most likely) we forget in a matter of minutes.
Discover in this book how to use the characteristics of your offer, product, and business to build a compelling story. Listen, many people have brilliant ideas, but only a handful know how to put those ideas into words, into infectious messages.
Give your business that’s slight edge that needs to stand out from your competitors.
Made to Stick is concrete, useful, memorable, understandable, and to the point. Chip and Dan Heath explain the anatomy of ideas that stick and reveal ways to make them even stickier.
How? To make an idea sticky, it has to be simple yet concrete, credible, emotional, unexpected, and tells a story.
This book will transform the way you communicate. Add this to your reading list to learn more about effective and persuasive communication.
Nancy Duarte masterfully draws the connection between story and presentation. With meticulous care, she brought about undeniable proof of how a well-crafted speech works.
The author explains, step by step, how to change the minds of an audience.
This book also emphasizes the importance of telling a story; to deliver a memorable experience and produce an emotional response from audiences.
For centuries, humans have enjoyed making up stories, reading novels, watching plays, and living in the land of make-believe.
We are wired for story. But why is that?
In The Storytelling Animal, Gottschall aims to unravel some of the mystery of storytelling. He seeks to better understand how stories determine so much of the human experience.
Understanding the role storytelling has played throughout history is vital; it will challenge you to tell stories that matter.
No matter what’s your profession, your job and interests, you cannot escape from telling stories. From the astute business owner to teachers and parents, from co-workers to siblings, we all need to know how to:
- Write/ tell
- And make interesting our stories
I hope you found these 18 best books on storytelling helpful, so that you can captivate your audience (of one or many) and excel in whatever you do.
Take as an example physics. The most captivating branch of physics is mechanics. That’s because mechanics tell a story that we can easily understand and see it in practice.
10 more great books on storytelling:
1. The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t by Carmine Gallo
2. The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human and How to Tell Them Better by Will Storr
3. Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds, Get Results by Rob Biesenbach
4. The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
5. Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling by Matthew Dicks
6. Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story by John Yorke
7. Ted Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best Ted Talks by Akash Karia
8. Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling by Eric Nuzum
9. Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business by Kindra Hall
10. The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
6 best film storytelling books:
1. Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
2. Pixar Storytelling: Rules for Effective Storytelling Based on Pixar’s Greatest Films by Dean Movshovitz
3. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
4. Storytelling in Film and Television by Kristin Thompson
5. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler
6. Storytelling for Film and Television: From First Word to Last Frame by Ken Dancyger
4 best brand storytelling books:
1. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
2. The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio
3. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald A. Miller
4. Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story by Miri Rodriguez
6 best books on writing fiction novels:
1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
3. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
4. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
5. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
6. Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron
6 best books on novel structure:
1. Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James
2. Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K. M. Weiland
3. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K. M. Weiland
4. Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure by K. M. Weiland
5. Plot & Structure : Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell
6. Structuring Your Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Building Strong and Successful Stories (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 4) by K. M. Weiland