July 25, 2023

13 Best Books on Storytelling You Should Read

Storytelling is a great tool for inspiring, informing, and entertaining people. These are the 13 best books on storytelling to help you become a better narrator.

Why is Storytelling Valuable for Your Career

Stories are invaluable tools in today’s world of instant gratification, where we are continually barraged with information. Storytelling helps people cut through the noise and connect with the target audience on a deeper level. Creative and interesting stories help communicate ideas more effectively, build and strengthen relationships, and inspire action.
Storytelling can make your brand stand out from the crowd while giving you a significant edge over the competition. When you write a compelling story, you’re inviting people to share and understand your journey as they get a true sense of your emotions. This will connect you more deeply with your audience, enabling you to build invaluable relationships with customers, partners, and colleagues. Reading books on the art of storytelling boosts your creative knack and can benefit you in many ways.
  • Storytelling books for business help you become a leader that motivates. Telling a story resonates with your audience and inspires them to take action, enabling you to drive change.
  • Stories tend to make your messages and presentations more impressive and interesting. With stories, you can build trust and rapport while making your message more cogent.
  • The greatest storytellers of all time have used stories as tools to communicate their knowledge of a subject and make complex ideas easier to comprehend and remember.
  • Stories have a way of capturing people’s attention more easily and efficiently. A creatively written story with bits of fun content can cut through the noisy world to capture your readers’ attention. This is why many businesses are using stories as a way to advertise and market their businesses.
  • Stories foster more meaningful and long-lasting connections. Stories give an account of our lives and experiences, which enables us to create strong bonds and rapport with our audience.

13 Books to Boost Your Storytelling Techniques

Contagious: Why Things Catch On
This creative book by Jonah Berger teaches you how to tell a captivating story following a simple but punchy drift. Jonah is a renowned professor at the Wharton School of Marketing of the University of Pennsylvania. In this book, he clearly and effectively outlines the six core principles that make products, behaviors, and ideas contagious. The principles are;
  • Social currency
  • Triggers
  • Emotion
  • Practical value
  • Public
  • Stories
As one of the greatest storytellers of all time, Jonah Berger enlightens readers on the value of making stories worth sharing by adding features that improve their social currency. He will teach you the fundamentals of making a story relevant to everyday people’s lives and using techniques such as humor and stories to evoke strong emotions. Similarly, the book gives deep insights into telling more memorable and interesting stories, providing practical value, and publishing the stories.
The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story
Written by John Walsh, this is another great book teaching you how to be a better storyteller in conversation. Reading this book will increase your creative knack while making you quite good at writing content-packed stories that your readers will find persuasive and interesting. It’s one of the best books on storytelling, divided into three key parts; the power of storytelling, the elements of storytelling, and presenting your story.
Reading this book equips you with the knowledge to choose the right story for your audience and effectively use storytelling to communicate and build relationships. It highlights important elements of storytelling, including resolution, character, conflict, setting, and plot. You will also learn how to use vivid language and create suspense.
Wired for Story
Wired for Story is one of the top books on the art of storytelling by Lisa Cron, which emphasizes the importance of stories for awakening our deep-seated cognitive biases. In her book, Lisa argues that a book has to comprise five key elements to effectively and strongly pass a test, including theme, character, climax, conflict, and goal.
She also discusses other crucial aspects of storytelling, such as delivering emotional impact, creating suspense, and using vivid language. This is the best book to read if you want to start writing books that solve problems, entertain, and deliver valuable lessons.
Start With Why
This is another of the most-read storytelling books for business. Simon Sinek wrote this book with business moguls and start entrepreneurs in mind. He argues that for an organization or business leader to inspire their audience, they have to keep the "why in mind, which means they should tackle the purpose, cause, and belief issues. A principle he calls the Golden Circle is the opposite of how people think, communicate, and act.
The book will give you insights into the main differences between inspiration and manipulation. You’ll learn the significance of setting and maintaining a clear purpose. Other basic concepts and ideas enlisted in this book are the importance of maintaining your authenticity and the power of effective storytelling.
The Storyteller's Secret
Learn how to tell a captivating story by reading The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani. Being among the books on the art of storytelling, it tells the story of Jaya, a New York journalist exploring his family’s past, only to uncover the unique story of her grandmother, Amisha, who, despite being a woman, managed to become one of India’s best storytellers and businesswomen.
The book gives deep insights into the importance of using stories to inspire, connect, and heal. Similarly, the book teaches the significance of perseverance and resilience when facing challenges. You will likewise learn about the prominence of family and tradition and the power of the human spirit in overcoming adversity.
Putting Stories to Work
Putting Stories to Work by Shawn Callahan is a 2016 book that provides insights into how you can use storytelling in the workplace. The book offers a detailed guide to finding, telling, and sharing stories with a long-lasting impact. If you are struggling to start and maintain conversations in the workplace, this book will train you on how to be a better storyteller in conversation.
It is among the great books on the art of storytelling that emphasize that there is a science to storytelling and that well-written stories are vital for changing minds, inspiring actions, and strengthening relations. Additionally, the book touches on the natural part of stories in facilitating effective human communication. You will learn the art of storytelling and how to integrate stories into leadership, sales, customer service, and marketing.
Ego is the Enemy
The self-help book by Ryan Holiday teaches the consequences of ego sabotaging success and progress. He draws his book ideas from historical, philosophical, and personal anecdotes to effectively illustrate the different ways ego makes one unable to attain their goals, grow, and learn.
The book uncovers hidden secrets about the blinding force of ego, which makes people insensitive, arrogant, and unable to make informed decisions. The ego has a way of preventing you from learning and growing, which ultimately sabotages your success and delays achieving your goals.
Made to Stick
Authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath wrote this book to give insights into why some ideas materialize while others fail. They came up with six principles that make ideas effective, which are simple, concrete, emotional, unexpected, credible, and stories.
Using these six stories, people can create punchy story ideas that will be understood, remembered, and adopted. Rated top among the greatest storytelling books for business, you will learn the logical and hands-on strategies to help you create sticky ideas.
The Storytelling Animal
The Storytelling Animal is a 2012 publication authored by Jonathan Gottschall, exploring the emotional and evolutionary roots of storytelling. Stories have proven to be a great source of entertainment and a crucial part of human life. Jonathan gives examples of how stories have been used in neuroscience, anthropology, and psychology to help people learn, navigate the social world, and cooperate.
As one of the best books on storytelling, Storytelling Animal argues that stories are universal human phenomena and are vital for cooperation and learning. The book will teach you how to use stories to make sense of the world, shape your behaviors and beliefs, and spearhead positive growth in your company.
Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking is a storytelling book by Chris Anderson that helps you to give effective public speaking presentations. With this book, you’ll understand how and why curating a clear message when giving a public speaking presentation is important. You will essentially learn how to integrate stories into your presentation to make it unforgettable and engaging.
Chris Anderson teaches us that to make your public speaking presentations successful, you have to practice thoroughly to build your confidence. Many business owners choose it because it stands out among top storytelling books for business that teach the best techniques to use to connect with your audience when giving a public speaking presentation.
Influence: The Science of Persuasion
Robert Cialdini is the brain behind the novel ‘The Science of Persuasion. this book uncovers the six universal principles of persuasion, which are:
  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Authority
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Liking
  • Social proof
In his book, Cialdini gives clear examples of the effective use of these principles in business settings to ease negotiations, increase marketing efforts, and increase sales. He offers guidance to help people protect themselves against unscrupulous inducement attempts. Realize that these principles are tools you can use to influence buying decisions and increase sales. You can use them ethically to move your business forward and optimize your storytelling efforts.
Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age
Jonah Berger, one of the greatest storytellers of all time, also wrote ‘Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age.’ The book documents the six key elements essential for making your products and ideas contagious. You’ll learn about emotion, triggers, practical value, social currency, stories, and the public.
He teaches the practicality of using word-of-mouth to spread products and ideas. Furthermore, Berger offers examples and guides to help you create valuable and sharable ideas and products. Get to know how to be a better storyteller in conversation by mastering these six crucial ingredients.
The Hero’s Journey
The last book on our list is The Hero’s Journey, written by Joseph Campbell, outlining all stages a hero passes through. In his book, Campbell lists the 12 stages of heroism, including the ordinary world, the call to adventure, refusal of the call, meeting the mentor, crossing the first threshold, test, allies and enemies, approach to the innermost cave, the ordeal, reward, the road back, resurrection, and return with the Elixir.
This powerful story structure offers guidelines to help you develop more compelling and interesting narratives. The story is also important to help understand human experiences, thanks to its common themes and challenges faced by humans in everyday life. Joseph Campbell was a renowned American lecturer, mythologist, and writer.

Master The Art of Storytelling

Mastering the art of storytelling is important if you want to easily persuade, connect with, and inspire people using your stories. Anyone with a knack for writing can become a great storyteller by reading and implementing the storytelling books we recommended above. If you want a more hands-on learning experience, consider enrolling in the Maven’s Storyteller-related courses.
One of the courses is Success through persuasive storytelling by Bikash Chowdhury and Sri Srikrishna, which trains people in the use of stories to persuade the target audience. Personal Storytelling for Career Confidence Al by Liz Morrison teaches you how to use personal stories to boost your career confidence. The last course we recommend for you to up your storytelling game is the Storytelling with Al course which teaches you how to use artificial intelligence to create storytelling books.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

What are the 5 C's of storytelling?
When telling a story, you must keep in mind the five C’s, which are circumstance, curiosity, characters, conversations, and conflict. These are mandatory to keep the flow of your story going and trigger conversations.
What are the 4 types of storytelling?
We have four primary types of storytelling, which are oral, written, visual, and performative, all of which are presented differently and require different storytelling skills.
What are the 4 P's of storytelling?
The four key P’s of storytelling you must know and use are people, place, plot, and purpose.
What are the 6 steps in storytelling?
When telling a story, you have to follow the six main steps, which include knowing your audience, defining your core message, deciding the type of story you are telling, establishing a call-to-action, choosing your medium, and planning and structuring your story. Understanding and following these steps will teach you how to tell a captivating story that is sharable.
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