Book Review: The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell

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When my copy of The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell by Paul Smith, I wasn’t impressed. It’s a small book with a little over a hundred pages and lots of white space. It will only take you an hour to read the book. But after you read it, you’ll want to keep it handy and return to it.

The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell is unique. Sure, there are half a gazillion books about storytelling and leadership. Most of them are about how to tell stories. Paul Smith’s book is about what stories to tell.

That makes sense. You won’t get much flak if you tell an appropriate story poorly. But if you tell an irrelevant story, people stop listening. They check their email and text. They gaze into space and plan what to do when you’re done. You’ve lost them and squandered an opportunity to communicate.

As you might guess, there are ten types of relevant stories in the book. Here’s a list.

  • A founding story
  • A case-for-change story
  • A vision story
  • A strategy story
  • A corporate values story
  • A customer story
  • A sales story
  • A marketing story
  • A leadership philosophy story
  • A recruiting story

Paul Smith briefly describes each type of story. He follows up with an example and an analysis of why the story works. Then he offers tips for telling each kind of story yourself.

You’ll return to this book because just understanding the different types of stories won’t do the trick. You must use the guidelines in the book to figure out what stories to tell. Then you must tell them.

In a Nutshell

The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell by Paul Smith will show you how to pick the best stories to enhance your leadership.

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