The Storytelling Edge Book Summary - The Storytelling Edge Book explained in key points
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The Storytelling Edge summary

Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas

How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming into the Void, and Make People Love You

4.4 (355 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

The Storytelling Edge by Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas is a guide to the power of storytelling in marketing and business. It provides examples, techniques and advice on how to create compelling stories that engage and connect with audiences.

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    The Storytelling Edge
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    Key idea 1 of 6

    The human brain is wired to find stories more engaging and memorable than simple statements. 

    Many years ago, a French poet named Jacques Prévert happened to meet a blind beggar in the street. Jacques asked him how things were going. Bad, the beggar replied – he hadn’t heard a single coin land in his hat all day. Jacques, a poor writer, didn’t have cash to spare, but he offered to rewrite the sign that explained the beggar’s situation. Two weeks later, the men met again. Things had improved. Folks were generous these days, the beggar said, and his hat was always full. 

    So what did Jacques write on the beggar’s sign? “Spring is coming, but I won’t see it.” Why did this help make people more generous toward the beggar? 

    The answer is also the key message in this blink: The human brain is wired to find stories more engaging and memorable than simple statements. 

    Imagine a high school health class. The teacher cites statistics about drug-related deaths and concludes that drugs are dangerous. Next door, his colleague takes a different approach. She puts up a slide of a handsome teenager and introduces the class to Johnny. He was a good kid, she says, but he had problems at home and started taking drugs to make himself feel better. She then shows an image of a sickly looking man with missing teeth – it’s Johnny ten years later. Drugs, she concludes, are dangerous.

    Which class is more memorable? The second one, right? Here’s why. 

    Neuroscientists have a saying that “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” What they mean is that when multiple parts of the brain are working together, we’re much more likely to remember due to that cognitive work. 

    Logical statements like “drugs are dangerous,” for example, engage just two parts of the brain – those responsible for language processing and comprehension. When we hear stories, by contrast, our brains light up like switchboards. Suddenly, we’re also processing emotions and images, imagining sensations, and using the part of the brain that’s responsible for cognitive planning. 

    Now think back to our high school example. In the first class, students processed abstract statements and numbers – tasks the human brain can complete without breaking a sweat but often struggles to recall. In the second class, though, students were giving their gray cells a real workout. They were busy picturing the details of Johnny’s life, wondering how his problems compared to their own, and asking themselves whether they would also take drugs if they were in his shoes.

    This barrage of neurons makes the second lesson much more “sticky.” Whatever their choices, these students will likely think back to poor Johnny if they’re ever offered drugs. 

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    What is The Storytelling Edge about?

    The Storytelling Edge (2018) is a study of communication by two content strategists who’ve taken an old Native American proverb to heart – “those who tell the stories run the world.” As Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas assert, it doesn’t much matter if you’re an individual, a business, or a government: if you want to thrive in today’s world, you need to be able to tell your story as convincingly and fluently as possible.

    The Storytelling Edge Review

    The Storytelling Edge (2018) is a captivating exploration of the power of storytelling in business. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical strategies and techniques for using storytelling to engage customers, inspire employees, and stand out in a crowded market.
    • With its real-world examples and case studies, the book demonstrates how storytelling can create emotional connections and drive business results.
    • Packed with insights from the world's top brands and storytellers, it provides a comprehensive guide that is both informative and inspirational.

    Best quote from The Storytelling Edge

    When we get information through stories, we engage more neurons. As a result, the story is wired into our memory much more reliably. 

    —Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas
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    Who should read The Storytelling Edge?

    • Marketing and advertising pros   
    • Brand managers and copywriters
    • Entrepreneurs looking for new ideas

    About the Author

    Joe Lazauskas is the director of content strategy and editor-in-chief of Contently, a global tech company that helps Fortune 500 companies create compelling stories. Contently was founded by Lazauskas’ co-author, Shane Snow. Both are trained wordsmiths with backgrounds in journalism.

     

    © Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas: The Storytelling Edge copyright 2018, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    The Storytelling Edge FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Storytelling Edge?

    The main message of The Storytelling Edge is that storytelling is a powerful tool for communication and can be used in various areas of life.

    How long does it take to read The Storytelling Edge?

    The reading time for The Storytelling Edge varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Storytelling Edge a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Storytelling Edge is a valuable read for anyone interested in enhancing their communication skills. It offers practical insights on the power of storytelling.

    Who is the author of The Storytelling Edge?

    The authors of The Storytelling Edge are Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas.

    What to read after The Storytelling Edge?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Storytelling Edge, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr
    • Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling by Jonathan Shapiro
    • Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
    • Money by Rob Moore
    • Lead with a Story by Paul Smith
    • The Storytelling Animal by Jonathan Gottschall
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • Quirkology by Richard Wiseman
    • Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo
    • The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic