Jeremy Pettitt on Communication and Culture

Exploring Stories

Posted on June 14, 2021

10 Book Recommendations on Storytelling:

1. The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps To Presenting An Unforgettable Story by John Walsh

A fantastic resource on live storytelling with practical lessons and suggestions for beginner and advanced storytellers alike.

2. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

One of the best books on presenting crucial ideas using the power of story I have ever read. If you speak to groups of people in any size or context, you MUST READ this book!

3. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

The renown screenwriting guru teaches his deep and comprehensive process for creating powerful stories that will captivate your audience no matter which medium in which you choose to create.

4. The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

While I would challenge Campbell's notions about the unity of all religions and myths, his description of The Hero's Journey has influenced decades of storytellers (especially movie screenwriters and directors). Unless you enjoy Freudian and Jungian psychology, I would recommend reading through the description of The Hero's Journey in the first third of the book and skip the rest.

5. Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Glyer and James A. Owen

The legendary Inklings created some of the most important and well known stories of the last century. This book describes their engagement and collaboration as a group of creatives and storytellers that will encourage and challenge you to find others who will bring out your best work (and vice versa).

6. The Strategic Storyteller: Content Marketing in the Age of the Educated Consumer by Alexander Jutkowitz

For anyone working in organizational communication (marketing, communications, public relations, etc.), this comprehensive guide provides both the strategic theory and the practical tactics to help your organization tap into its most valuable resource: the unique stories that will reach and connect with your audience in this digital age.

7. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall

While the atheist Gottschall wrestles with where the storytelling impulse arises in us, he provides some fantastic research and insights on the universality and importance of stories and storytelling in human history and culture.

8. The Complete Fables by Aesop

One of the most difficult challenges is to tell a story briefly and still have meaning and depth. Aesop's Fables provide classic stories that do both in delightful and insightful ways. From their story structure to their ease of comprehension, these stories deserve to be read and studied by all storytellers everywhere.

9. Tree and Leaf by J.R.R. Tolkien

The well known author and professor discusses the power of imagination, fantasy, and fairy tales in his essay "On Fairy-stories" and then demonstrates his point with the short story "Leaf by Niggle". This book will make you rethink many of your adult assumptions about storytelling and hopefully recapture some the wonder of childlike imagination.

10. Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

While many people read these stories as children, rereading these fairy tales as an adult storyteller offers the opportunity to see how stories evolve as you change small details that affect their meanings and outcomes. They also provide fantastic illustrative stories for a variety of mediums, topics and settings.

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