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Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story Hardcover – March 1, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Guest Reviewer: Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh is the author of the New York Times bestseller Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.

In less than 10 years, Zappos has grown from no sales in 1999 to over a billion dollars in gross merchandise sales annually. Our philosophy is to take most of the money that we would have otherwise spent on paid advertising or paid marketing and instead invest it into customer service and the customer experience, and let our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.

In other words, we're really just in the stories and memories business.

From an early age, Peter Guber seems to have intuitively grasped what I slowly learned over my entrepreneurial adventures, which is that the most profitable companies are those that form personal, emotional connections (which we internally refer to as "PEC" at Zappos) with customers. In Tell to Win, Guber shows how the stories we tell -- about our companies, our products, and ourselves -- are what elicit people's emotional reactions and drive word of mouth.

The book includes plenty of examples and guidance for breaking down how a story gets created and delivered. As I read through the book, I repeatedly had to put the book down to think for awhile, because so many stories in the book sparked new ideas on how to improve our business at Zappos.

I hope this book inspires you to create your own "never-ending story" to help take your business to the next level.

From Publishers Weekly

Former chairman of Sony Pictures and current CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, Guber illustrates how powerful storytelling—about yourself or your product—can be the ultimate tool to get the meeting, engage the listener, and close the deal. With brisk and readable anecdotes, the author relates what he's seen and learned in Hollywood, and how his celebrated friends—Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Arianna Huffington, Nelson Mandela, and Frank Sinatra—impressed upon him the power of a well-crafted story or appeal. The celebrity name-dropping lends some glitter to Guber's very reasonable precepts: as he urges the reader to harness the power of metaphor in crafting the core narrative of a pitch or advertising campaign, he refers to how Michael Jackson taught him about drama by making him watch a python slowly stalk a helpless mouse, and how KISS frontman Gene Simmons, son of Holocaust survivors, used his backstory to fuel his ambition and his business strategy. This valuable and inspiring book will help readers deliver an authentic and meaningful story to customers, colleagues, or prospective clients. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307587959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307587954
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Guber is Chairman and CEO of the multimedia Mandalay Entertainment Group.

Prior to Mandalay, Guber was Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Chairman and CEO of Polygram Entertainment, Co-Founder of Casablanca Record & Filmworks and President of Columbia Pictures.

Guber produced or executive produced (personally or through his companies) films that garnered five Best Picture Academy Award nominations (winning for Rain Man) and box office hits that include The Color Purple, Midnight Express, Batman, Flashdance and The Kids Are All Right.

Peter Guber is the Owner and Co-executive Chairman of the NBA franchise, the Golden State Warriors. He is the Owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the storied Major League Baseball franchise, together with Guggenheim and Magic Johnson.

He serves as Chairman of the Board for Mandalay Baseball Properties which includes a national array of professional minor league affiliated baseball franchises and venues.

Peter Guber is a weekly entertainment and media analyst for Fox Business News and a full professor at UCLA.

He is a pre-IPO investor and serves on the board of directors of Demand Media.

He was Co-Founder of Geek Chic Daily, a multi-platform creator of genre and popular-culture content which merged with Nerdist Industries and was acquired by Legendary Pictures.

Peter Guber is a noted author with works including Inside The Deep and Shootout: Surviving Fame and (Mis)Fortune in Hollywood. Guber wrote the cover article for the Harvard Business Review titled, The Four Truths of the Storyteller, and has also authored op-ed pieces for the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Guber's most recent business book, Tell To Win - Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller.


Twitter: @PeterGuber


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lately, I have been reading about the power of persuasion, and some experts believe stories can be used to induce a trance-like state. I like telling stories, and have found that as a teacher, students remember the personal stories I tell long after they have forgotten basic facts. However, I don't think I am always a great storyteller, and I have rarely tried to craft a good story. I hoped this book would shed light on the power of a story, and show me how to tell an effective one.

Guber highlights the times he failed to connect with a client, and most of the time, it was because he failed to tell a story. This may sound counter-intuitive to many in the business world. After all, isn't business about being sober and logical? Where do stories fit in? According to Guber, most people in business forget that they are dealing with humans, and in order to reach people, a sales pitch has to have an emotional component. Stories not only add an emotional dimension to business interactions, but also appeal to our natural love of good stories (which contain a challenge, struggle, and resolution). This love of the challenge-struggle-resolution story is, according to research in the book, hard-wired into our brains. Thus, stories are not just entertaining: they are powerful tools that help us connect with others, and persuade them to see our point of view.

I have to respectfully disagree with other reviewers that suggest the author doesn't explain how to tell good stories. It is true that this is not a book you would use in a creative writing class. You won't learn about the elements of a short story, or what personification is. However, the book explains how to use a certain type of story to become more successful. Guber does clearly explain how to tell an effective story.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Stories have power. They can be used to motivate, pursuade, entertain, educate, train, coach, communicate, etc. And the instant book being reviewed reminds the reader that stories often play a significant role in the rise of a person not yet successful who ultimately becomes successful.

How do you hear about someone if you don't hear their story or a story that they tell you? You're correct - you don't. And if you don't hear about someone, then how likely is it that they are going to become successful? You're right - it's unlikely. The author in this book has strung together a bunch of stories, dropped a lot of names of famous people, and told us that telling stories is where it is at. I thought many of the stories were pretty good, but few were all that compelling.

I found the book to be an easy and quick read. There really wasn't anything earth-shattering between its covers. The message was quite simple, and you'd get it just by reading the title on the cover. So I don't really recommend someone waste their money on this tome.

I have read or skimmed a number of other books on storytelling. I think the following books are pretty good reads and probably would prove to be a better way to spend your money if you would buy one of them instead "Tell to Win." 3 stars!

>>Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising
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5 Comments 94 of 105 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Everybody in business shares one universal problem: To succeed you have to persuade others to support your vision, dream or cause. ... you have to deliver a clarion call that will get your listeners' attention, emotionalize your goals as theirs, and move them to act in your favor. You have to reach their hearts as well as their minds - and this is just what story telling does."

I would go one step further and say that the above statement applies to all of life, not just business. We are all constantly trying to sell our ideas and points of view. We are constantly trying to convince others to see things our way - no matter if it is to buy our products/services, become our friends, join our club/organization or cause. Yet most of the time we rely on logical reasons to try and convince others.

Humans make decisions based on emotions and then use logic to justify those decisions. So if we are going to be successful we need a way to engage others emotionally. And from the earliest of history, the most successful way to engage others emotionally is with stories.

So Tell to Win is the story of the importance of stories in whatever we do. Stories have the ability to touch our hearts - to make the connection between our minds and our hearts. Stories are much easier to remember than a set of data or historical facts. Therefore we can retain, remember and retell the stories.

Peter Guber has spent his life in the entertainment industry and draws on his wealth of experience to make Tell to Win come to life. The book is filled with interesting stories about how his success was totally dependent on telling the right story. He also shares some failures which were primarily because he failed to craft a good story.
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