Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There by Gavin Esler

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Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There by Gavin Esler

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Buy Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There by Gavin Esler at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A storytime with a difference, this is a series of clever and well put together anecdotes that showcase the world's leaders and explain how they've managed to get to the top and stay there.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: August 2012
Publisher: Profile Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1846684999

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As a journalist and broadcaster, Gavin Esler has interviewed everyone from Bill Clinton to Angelina Jolie, and now he’s taking what he’s learned from those chats to bring us Lessons from the top…how successful leaders tell stories to get ahead – and stay there.

I wasn’t sure whether this book would turn out to be a fun collection of stories or an academic dissection of what makes stories work, and in fact it is a mixture of both. It has snippets of first and second hand anecdotes from Greats, past and present, and mixes these with a more in depth look at the impact these stories have on shaping public perceptions and influencing the results of everything from elections to Olympic host cities.

There are some great stories to be told, and their sources are wonderfully diverse, so whether you’re into the Iron Lady or Lady Gaga, Julius Caesar or Jesus, Schwarzenegger or Sarah Palin, you’ll find something for you in this book. Common themes are identified, like STAR moments (Something They Always Remember) or the three key questions of winners (Who am I? Who are we? What is our common purpose?), as are trends which influence how leaders behave and how we treat them, such as the globalization of gossip.

The book places great emphasis on the importance of telling stories and telling them well, and in addition to being entertaining (which so many of the snippets are), it also has a clear message on what you need to adopt if you too are going to be a successful storyteller, segueing in to a successful leader.

These are the sort of stories you want to share, making out that they are anecdotes passed on by a friend or parent or grandparent who knew the individual intimately. Despite being common enough knowledge to appear in a book like this (well known now at least, if not pre-publication), these stories somehow seem much more intimate and personal than the sort of thing you might read in a magazine or newspaper. The reader feels they are truly getting an insight into the individual, which is essentially the point of story telling in this way.

I was worried that there might not be enough stories in the book, or that the filler bits in between might be a bit dry, but that wasn’t the case, and I read it with much more interest than a lot of non fiction that comes my way. At no point does the author gloat about having met so many of these special, famous people, and in any case a key sentiment of the book is that beneath it all, such people are just like you or me anyway. Whether you’re already a leader or aiming to be one, or simply their speech writer in the shadows behind them, this is a worthy read.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

If you're inspired by these small insights into the lives featured here, why not have a look at our Biography shelves to see if any of them have more or longer stories to be told.

Buy Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There by Gavin Esler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There by Gavin Esler at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There by Gavin Esler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There by Gavin Esler at Amazon.com.


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