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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 10!
I will put this on my list of top ten books on personal development. A how-to book on influencing others that begins with self-reflection and the integrity required to project authenticity and believability. This book is very well done, and I see how it earned its spot in the "100 Best Business Books of All Time."

Much like Michael Jeffreys (who wrote Success...
Published 13 months ago by Terry MacDonald

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You MUST Read This Book - Well, the First 100 Pages That is...
I gave this book three stars - five stars for being an absolutely incredible, perspective-changing work, and one star for being utterly repetitive, boring and atrociously tedious to wade through.

Let me start by saying that if you are like me - you often butt heads with people in an attempt to change their viewpoint or behavior, only to experience complete...
Published on September 3, 2009 by P. A. Segal


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 10!, January 16, 2014
This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
I will put this on my list of top ten books on personal development. A how-to book on influencing others that begins with self-reflection and the integrity required to project authenticity and believability. This book is very well done, and I see how it earned its spot in the "100 Best Business Books of All Time."

Much like Michael Jeffreys (who wrote Success Secrets of the Motivational Superstars: America's Greatest Speakers Reveal Their Secrets) Annette Simmons is not a fan of technique. That is to say, she believes that only basic goodness, honesty, and strong character can produce influence. This book is not exactly a how-to book in the sense that it directs the reader on specific tips for becoming a better storyteller, but rather, encourages a new way of thinking - which is thinking non-linearly, from multiple perspectives, and away from facts.

As author Annette Simmons notes, "People don't want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith--faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell."

Stories get past the rational, critical mind and mines deep down into our emotions at an unconscious level. A good story induces a state of trance whereby the critical conscious mind becomes engaged in the narrative, allowing the moral/meaning of the story to sink into the unconscious unchallenged. It then influences their perception, thoughts, feelings and behavior.

I've had friends tell me they think storytelling is a strength of mine. After reading The Story Factor, I hope they are right. I know what I have to do to improve, anyway... and that is always a good thing.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be More Effective at Persuasion, November 25, 2010
This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
If you've ever wondered why you have a hard time getting others to see your point of view, you may be using too many facts and not enough relevant stories. Annette Simmons explains why giving more facts will not only turn people off, but can hurt your chances for ever being able to influence them.

I had a major insight on page 50 when I read, "A subtle yet powerful shift occurs when you seek to influence people to make wise decisions rather than `right' decisions. When you decide to awaken sleeping wisdom rather than convince others you are right, you will produce a much more powerful experience for both of you."

Most of us have a cause we're concerned about and would like to see a better world for people, animals or the environment. Annette shares stories throughout the book that will get you thinking about personal stories you can share that will make a difference. When people are faced with too many facts and information (which most of us are) they'll become confused and cling to status quo. A story helps them draw out their inner wisdom and connect with Truth.

Whether it's to one person or many, if you're trying to influence the unwilling, unconcerned or unmotivated, the information in this book will help you achieve it with less effort and better results.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influence through Storytelling, May 12, 2012
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This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
As the title indicates, this is a book about the power of storytelling as an influencing tool. As Annette best tells it: "People don't want more information. They are up to their eyeball in information. They want faith...Faith needs a story to sustain it - a meaningful story that inspires belief in you and renews hope that your ideas indeed offer what you promise...Story is your path to creating faith. Telling a meaningful story means inspiring your listeners...to reach the same conclusions you have reached and decide for themselves to believe what you say and do what you want them to do. People value their own conclusions more highly than yours. They will only have faith in a story that has become real for them personally. Once people make your story, their story, you have tapped into the powerful force of faith. Future influence will require very little follow-up energy from you and may even expand as people recall and retell your story to others."

The author then goes to summarize what the remainder of the book is about: "The rest of this book is dedicated to proving to you the things you already know about storytelling and filling in whatever gaps might be missing. Storytelling is not rocket science. It is very easy and incredibly rewarding to practice."

A very enlightening, practical and applicable book - no matter what it is that you do in life. You will find inspiration and learn numerous techniques to improve your storytelling abilities and consequently your influence. Highly recommended read!

Below are key excerpts from the book, that I found particularly insightful:

1- "There are six types of stories that will serve you well in your efforts to influence others. 1) "Who I Am" Stories, 2) "Why I Am Here" Stories, 3) "The Vision" Story, 4) "Teaching" Stories, 5) "Values-in-Action" Stories, 6) "I Know What You Are Thinking" Stories. "

2- "Other methods of influence - persuasion, bribery, or charismatic appeals - are push strategies. Story is a pull strategy. If your story is good enough, people - of their own free will - come to the conclusion they can trust and the message you bring."

3- "People need story to organize their thoughts and make sense of things. In fact, anyone you attempt to influence already has a story...If you tell them a story that makes better sense to them you can reframe the way they organize their thoughts, the meanings they draw, and thus the actions they take."

4- "Policy can't adapt, but a story can give guidance, make sense, and without ruling on either side of an unresolvable conflict, invite someone to think through her own creative solution to a tough problem."

5- "A good story helps you influence the interpretation people give to facts. Facts aren't influential until they mean something to someone. A story delivers a context so that your facts slide into new slots in your listener's brains."

6- "However, if you tell sustaining, guiding stories like this one, people will feel empowered to stop asking you for answers and to think for themselves. An answer only gives them a fish, whereas a story teaches them how to fish for themselves."

7- "Influence is a function of grabbing attention, connecting to what they already feel is important, and linking that feeling to whatever you want them to see, do,or feel. It is easier to let your story land first, and then draw the circle of meaning/connection around it using what you see and hear in the responses of your listeners. Influencing is a real-time activity."

8- "Traditional models of influence are linear and focus on power that is first gained, then exercised, and in the end either reinforced or list. Story favors a circular model of power where influence is passed back and forth and where beginning are endings and endings are beginnings."

9- "A wonderful way to find influential stories is to review the personal experiences that brought you to the place where you now want to influence others."

10- "True influence changes behavior without relying on constant reminders. Any agreement that depends on policing future behavior is not addressing some force or dynamic still working against your desired goal."

11- "No builder would start building without first understanding the foundations of the terrain. Neither would a successful influencer build a new story without first understanding the old stories. Influence will require either a new foundation that can coexist with the old stories or excavation and removal of the old outdated stories."

12- "Storytelling tracks vital deviations that inspire growth - meaningful personal experiences, creative solutions to conflict, and paradoxial truths."

13- "After all, organizational values form behavior. Stories about your values in action create and sustain the organizational culture (for better or for worse). When you live the vision and values you profess, you need only tell people what happened last week or last moth. If you aren't living your vision and values daily, well, you can't dress a pig in a ball gown and expect people to call her princess. Story telling operates as a litmus test of accountability that simultaneously inspires and reminds us to stay true to our values."

14- "Storytelling is the most valuable skill you can develop to help influence others. It is your birthright to be a good storyteller. In a sense, your life is a story and you are already telling that one perfectly. "
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to use "once upon a time" all of the time, December 11, 2006
This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
Annette Simmons is thoroughly convincing in her assertion that the best way to influence and inspire others is to tell stories. Unfortunately, she is a bit heavy-handed on the "why" of storytelling, which she explains in depth in every chapter, and a shade light regarding "how" to accomplish her lofty goals. Simmons explains that telling people an engaging story is far more persuasive than reciting facts and figures, or showing a PowerPoint presentation. To illustrate her position, Simmons uses good stories and parables as examples. She describes the six categories of stories you can use to connect with and influence people, and she offers suggestions on how to become a prolific, entertaining storyteller. This is not a typical "how-to" book with lists of things to do, but it is instructive and useful. We recommend it to anyone who is interested in the art of persuasion or who loves a good yarn.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book can start your story, October 7, 2012
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Couple of days ago I have ended reading this little book. I am a software craftsman and most of the time I am in logic and technical things. But you know what? After this book I can see the whole world from new perspective.

What I remember from the past - stories. What I do all my life is now connected in my thoughts as a story. Stories were the cultural foundation for many years. It is a pleasure to reinvent them through this book.

This book is not a manual. It is a story of a woman who lives her life and does things that she founds important. Don't take it is a 100% truth. Just give it a try and you would find some precious ideas.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and insightful, January 11, 2007
By 
Jonathan Hey (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
If you think back to the last compelling presentation or conversation you had chances are what you remember are the stories. Annette Simmons provides a very readable account of why storytelling is so compelling and how it really can help reframe issues, defuse conflicts and, most importantly, make a personal connection with people. It's packed full of stories that can be adapted for you to use, but of course its best to find your own stories.

Annette provides plenty of reasons and logic behind why stories are good, but really her stories speak for themselves.

This is the only storytelling book I've read but I recommend it highly. I even bought a copy for a friend half way through reading it. If you're in a half mind whether to get it then I say just buy it. You won't regret it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fabulous Power of Story Telling, May 24, 2012
This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
More than 20 years ago, a wise elderly uncle gave me his impression of "how-to" books. He said you almost have to be the author himself to do what he prescribes. I wondered about that as I picked up and began reading The Story Factor by Annette Simmons. Would I have to be her to get it, do it? No, I concluded. Through the careful uncovering and expression of our personal stories and those of our associates, she, in a very imaginative way shows us how we can achieve personal freedom and optimal performance on and off the job. I can do what she instructs and so can you. This book is about life lived fully and naturally.

Well, what's the story business? Simply this: we have to learn how to find stories and tell them in such a way that leaves our listeners profoundly moved--sometimes even speechless. The late incomparable mime, Marcel Marceau, once asked in effect, "Aren't the most significant and moving experiences in our lives the ones that leave us speechless?" The answer is yes, and Simmons asks us to remember some of these times and learn how to share them skillfully with others. The best way to begin any presentation or discussion where you're at the front of the room or the table is to forget those facts, figures and the powerpoint bit for a time and simply share "This is who I am and why I'm here."

Studies have shown that some people would prefer death to giving a speech. Mastering the skill--storytelling--that Simmons teaches can turn any avid learner not only into a good communicator, but a person who wields influence for good--all kinds of it, anywhere. This book is for you. I've had the experience of speaking often, and it's clear to me, reading this book, that the difference between success and failure in my presentations was determined by whether or not I told stories effectively to move the listeners. I'm going to recount just one story out of the dozens that Simmons shares to do her extraordinary teaching, only because it's fairly long and for me, is the most compelling for our consideration in this space. This from a head of sales to his people at a company's annual sales conference:

It was a slow economy my first year with the company, 2002, I was way under quota, and you know how you get. I would have typed a formal proposal and delivered it personally to a mom-and-pop grocery for a $500 sale. I was calling on everyone. I looked at my territory, and right in the middle is Megastore X.

I thought what the hell. I called five or six times. I couldn't get through, but I kept calling. Then one day out of the blue--it's Megastore X on the line. The purchasing agent tells me she wants a price. So-o-o I asked, "Help me understand what the--" and she cut in, "I just want the price." I tried again, "Okay, but describe the problem your current supp--" and she cut me off again, "are you going to give me a price or not?" I said, "Yes ma'am. I will be there tomorrow."

So the next day I drive up to the Megastore X headquarters . . . have you seen it? It is hu-u-ge. It is this great beehive of activity--the mothership. All of us drones buzzing in and out. I went up to the desk, gave my name, and sat down in a row of other drones in suits waiting our turn. She comes and gets me. Back in her office, I ask one more time, "Help me understand why you want to change suppliers?" She finally breaks down. "They aren't listening. We want an adaptation, and they keep giving us what they have off the shelf." I asked, "Who is your current supplier?" She told me, and I said, "That just doesn't sound like them. I know the CEO because I used to work for them. If he knew your problem, he would fix it. Let me give you his direct phone number. Call him. If he doesn't fix it, I will. But I have to tell you the truth: I think you have the right supplier for what you need. I don't think you need to change horses midstream. Call him. I trust him. I think you can too." It was the right thing to do. I believe any one of you would have done the same thing. She called me the next day to say the problem was solved and to say thank you. Nice. It didn't fill my quota, but it was nice of her to call.

Two weeks later she called back and asked me to look through their catalogue to see if there were any gaps I thought we could fill. I delivered a proposal, and we won the business. It was a small job. That year we billed Megastore for $20,000, but the next year it was $200,000 . . . and I think you what we billed them this year. Over $2 million worth of business and that's how it started.

Think about it: All the sales training and policy manuals in the world could not make the subject of integrity and--and its indelible imprint on this company's people--as well as this forthright six-minute story. Not to mention the results.

My work for many years is with CEOs and their top teams, helping them any way I can to increase their effectiveness and meaningfulness in their work. Given that executives have the core competence in hand that the company hired them for, I can't imagine passing on any more significant lesson to them than the one that underpins this book. There's much more here than I've written about.

Allan Cox, author of "WHOA! Are They Glad You're In Their Lives?" to be published June 5, 2012
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a breeze, October 4, 2012
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Although the set-up of the book is rather conversational - or probably, because it is rather conversational, it reads delightfully easy. I especially enjoyed al the story examples. One of my favorite stories from the book is quoted by almost every author I've read on story telling. To me, Simmons is one of the most authentic and unassuming authors in this field. Pleasure to read, I would certainly recommend it if you're interested in the topic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the book of the year for me, July 29, 2013
This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
As a public speaker, understanding the story factor helped me to understand what I was doing unconsciously. It helped me to bring power into my speech, but most of all, it help me to understand the power of the story I was telling myself. I am an NLP Practitioner, I know the power of the words over our life. But I never made the link between these words that we are using over our life and the story we are telling ourselves. This book is a must have in any public speaker library. I strongly recommend it. Thanks Annette for the time you took to write it. This has been the highlight of my year. God bless.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've read a number of books on storytelling..., January 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) (Paperback)
I've been reading up on storytelling lately from various perspectives; reaching audiences, getting them to remember points, overcoming dry fact-based or compliance-based content, inspiring others to take action, etc. Annette Simmons book has a unique and refreshing slant. She is very compelling in her examples of stories and equally so about the rationale to use them. The book is a delight to read: fluid, personal and down to earth. I highly recommend it.
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The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition)
The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition) by Annette Simmons (Paperback - April 4, 2006)
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