Stories, connections, impact: 15 books on storytelling for innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders
To celebrate National Startup Day, YourStory offers a valuable resource for founders: reviews of 15 useful books on storytelling. Start, scale, succeed!
Launched in 2012, YourStory’s Book Review section features over 355 titles on innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and digital media. This selection of 15 Books on Storytelling offers a wealth of advice for innovators and leaders on the fundamentals of storytelling, storycrafting, data storytelling, and insights from outstanding storytellers.
See also our pick of Top Quotes of 2022 on Entrepreneurship, Motivation, Investments, Women Changemakers, Social Entrepreneurs, Environmental Change, Pandemic Resilience, Digital Transformation, India Opportunities, Design, Art, Failure Lessons, and Storytelling.
Check out these storytelling titles below, and click through to see our full book reviews. Browse through our author interview section as well, for more in-depth insights into entrepreneurship and storytelling.
See YourStory’s Changemaker Story Canvas as a visual guide for founder stories, and our Pitch Deck Tips for startups.
We look forward to your comments as well as your suggestions for books to review in 2023. Happy reading, happy leading!
What's Your Story? The Essential Business Storytelling Handbook, by Adri Bruckner, Anjana Menon, and Marybeth Sandell
This handbook guides communicators on the components, channels, and uses of business storytelling. It is packed with good (and bad) examples of storytelling in practice in the corporate and startup worlds; there are activities and exercises as well. See our book review here.
Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great, by Carmine Gallo
This bestselling book spells out an effective framework for persuasion, and shows how entrepreneurs, scientists, and professionals have become five-star players in their fields. The era of average or good enough communication is over; everyone needs to find that extra edge to rise to five-star quality. See our book review here.
Once Upon an Innovation: Business Storytelling Techniques for Creative Problem Solving, by Jean Storlie and Mimi Sherlock
Business communication and creativity come together in this handy book for innovators. Storytelling is an influence skill that can be used to engage with detractors in the innovation journey, and mitigate their negativity or convert them to advocates, the authors explain. See our book review here.
Story 10x: Turn the Impossible into the Inevitable, by Michael Margolis
Set the context, inject emotion, and show evidence – these are three steps to craft a compelling narrative about an emerging innovation, as explained in this book. While data and logical arguments are important, it is the story and narrative that really brings onboard investors, employees, and business partners. See our book review here.
True North: Leading Authentically in Today's Workplace (Emerging Leader Edition), by Bill George and Zach Clayton
This book charts the growth of leadership in three phases: preparation (reading, experience), peak (learning from adversity), and generativity (mentorship, teaching, service). “By processing our stories, we find meaning in the setbacks and craft narratives about our story that shape our leadership,” the authors advise. See our book review here.
Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds, Get Results, by Rob Biesenbach
In a wide range of professional and personal contexts, stories can be used to inspire, teach, clarify, and mobilise. This book covers company origin stories, the use of stories during presentations, and personal brand stories. Examples are drawn from startups and corporates, and from a wide range of sectors. See our book review here.
The Storyteller’s Secret: How TED Speakers and Inspirational Leaders Turn their Passion into Performance, by Carmine Gallo
This book is divided into five categories of storytellers, with each profile describing tools and techniques used for effective impact. The book ends with a useful checklist of action items for speakers. Carmine Gallo is author of the bestseller Talk Like TED and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. See our book review here.
Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, by Annette Simmons
Management consultant Annette Simmons describes six kinds of stories that lead to influence, imagination and innovation. They are Who-I-Am, Why-I-Am-Here, Educational, Vision, Value-in-Action and I-Know-What-You-Are-Thinking stories. See our book review here.
Stories at Work: Unlock the Secret to Business Storytelling, by Indranil Chakraborty
This useful book explains why storytelling is important in the world of business, what kinds of stories can be crafted, and how to use them effectively on a regular basis. Stories assist in verbalisation, visualisation and discussion of key messages. In the business context, stories can connect, engage, align and inspire. See our book review here.
Stories for Work: The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling, by Gabrielle Dolan
It is not just business logic that works effectively for startups and large enterprises, but the emotional power of storytelling. This author shares eight uses of business stories, classified into four types. Storytelling gives the narrator an edge in a wide range of work contexts: group settings, one-on-one interactions, and in the online medium. See our book review here.
Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success, by Esther Choy
“At the heart of leadership lies persuasion. At the heart of persuasion lies storytelling,” this book affirms. The author describes five types of business stories, and shows how storytelling can convert business communication from ‘auto-pilot exchanges’ to authentic, persuasive and action-oriented conversations. See our book review here.
Data Story: Explain Data and Inspire Action through Story, Nancy Duarte
From startup founders to corporate managers, the data story is a powerful way to communicate a point of view. This book explains how to use analytical structure, compelling visuals, and relatable data. Data storytelling can influence action through story arcs and meaningful insights. See our book review here.
The Power of Data Storytelling, by Sejal Vora
This book shows how the art of storytelling can be effectively used with the science of data so that organisations can make better decisions. In data storytelling, the characters are not raw data points but measures (eg. growth rates, composition of market share), and events are the trends or relationships between these characters (eg. growing gaps, dominance of one factor). See our book review here.
Putting Stories to Work: Mastering Business Storytelling, by Shawn Callahan
Storytelling, listening and triggering are a core competency for a business, as this book explains. “Stories are data, wrapped in context, and delivered with meaning.” Shawn writes. The book also has a five-page story index which effectively illustrates the principles of story tagging and taxonomy. See our book review here.
First-Time Leader: Foundational Tools for Inspiring and Enabling Your New Team, by George Bradt and Gillian Davis
Starting up is more than a company creating a new product – it is a new leader creating a winning team. Becoming a leader for the first time is a critical career-defining and indeed life-defining moment, as startup founders are discovering. This book locates storytelling and communication within the context of leadership. See our book review here.
YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).
Edited by Megha Reddy