- Paperback: 284 pages
- Publisher: Idea Champions (October 27, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0996912207
- ISBN-13: 978-0996912204
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,347,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Storytelling at Work: How Moments of Truth on the Job Reveal the Real Business of Life Paperback – October 27, 2015
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About the Author
Mitch Ditkoff, author of Stoytelling at Work, is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company headquartered in Woodstock, NY. His previous book, Awake at the Wheel, won a much coveted Silver Medal in the Axiom Book Award competition. In 2010 and 2011, Mitch was voted "Best Innovation Blogger in the World" and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. He is the father of two (Jesse and Mimi) and the husband of one (Evelyne Pouget), renowned peace artist and humanitarian. He wants you to tell your story. Will you?
Top customer reviews
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At its heart, this book relays thirty eight of Mr. Ditkoff’s selected stories. Thirty eight moments in the author’s life that moved him or profoundly shifted his thinking. The stories stem from events that took place while he was doing things like running an innovation workshop at Pfizer, working as a night watchman, catching a cab or dressing up as Santa. They are just a few pages each and they’re all relatable – an example is the moment when he relayed his cab driver’s story to a distracted group of workshop participants and suddenly they stopped texting, picked up their heads and sat in rapt attention. Moments like those elevate the purpose of the work. We’ve all had to compete with people’s phones for attention and we all know the sense of relief when whatever we’re saying manages to cut through it all. Cue the story.
Human beings traffic in stories. It’s an ancient dynamic between hominids dating back as far as anthropologists could tell us what those fossilized molars were saying or what those cave drawings were all about. Storytelling is so ingrained that we’re often unaware of the potent role it plays in our lives. Mr. Ditkoff provides an inviting guide for us to examine how stories star in our own lives and how we might become more mindful of embracing, adopting, refining and ultimately telling our own stories. I must confess, his sense of humor is a fabulous bonus.
But he doesn’t just tell us his stories. He plays Socrates by asking, “So What?” and “Now What?” The “so what” is the message – what the story meant for him. He takes a step back from each experience and considers the significance, “This is the choice each of us needs to make every day of our lives. Do we play it safe and do the expected or do we take a risk and try something new?” The “now what” challenges us to apply the underlying questions to our own lives and work, “What message have you been trying to deliver that might be better communicated in a totally different way – a way that more successfully engages people and leads to the kind of extraordinary results you’re looking for?”
And the “now what” questions are facilitated by the second section of the book, “The Art and Science of Storytelling.” The book, including the final “how to” section, is delivered in bite-size chunks. Each chapter provides a digestible nugget of direction. As an example, he lays out the classic story structure. It’s fun to see stories broken into what Hollywood producers know by heart:
Setting (what was the organization, department where it happened)
Character (who is trying to prevail with improvement)
Plot (Events that unfold or what happens to the character and the process improvement effort)
Conflict (what were the obstacle encountered by the character)
Theme (the resolution of the conflict and what’s been learned along the way)
He asks the reader to “acknowledge the stories you already tell.” He maintains, “the skillful storyteller doesn’t tell too much, doesn’t clutter the tale with his telling. Instead, he provides just enough detail for the listener to enter his world and participate. That’s the goal of any work of art – to create a space for people to explore new realms.”
Process improvement isn’t the only arena that could benefit from the telling of stories. Mr. Ditkoff makes a great case for how organizations can prevent the loss of “tacit knowledge.” As job tenures become shorter and turnover more constant, this issue only grows in consequence. This book lays the groundwork for Knowledge Management professionals to engage workers in telling and codifying their stories before walking out the door. This book is rich with ways to hone your storytelling skills. Find a new way to make the case for change and, in the process, elevate your life’s work, make life more interesting and have a good time doing it!
But it doesn't stop there. Mitch asks readers to reflect on the story, and recall similar situations from their own lives and what they can glean from it. This is where I am supposed to stop reading, and in fact I want to. I want to take the time for reflection. But I give into the temptation to read more. Each story packs equal parts humor and heart and is as interesting as the next one. So I keep reading and loving it.
Mitch has created something more than a collection of stories and prompts for reflecting. The last section of the book is devoted to "The Art and Science of Storytelling" includes a series of short essays on the power of stories, how to find stories of our own and bring them to life. Finally, he lays his cards on the table and reveals his grand scheme: to involve us in creating a storytelling culture. After reading this book, and knowing that I will read it again to take time for reflection, I'm game.
GREAT "palate cleanser" that I enjoy picking up after intellectually challenging days. After implementing the MariKondo method of tidying, there are not many books that fit in my "Hall of Fame". This is one, exactly for it's ability to refresh my mind and encourage the abiding faith I need in humanity to "keep my candle trimmed and burning brightly".
Thanks to the author, so grateful souls like his continue to be inspired to write!