1The Power of Story

Pretend that the world decided to elect a queen. The candidates have been whittled down to two well-known British women: Queen Elizabeth and J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.

You have been asked to vote in this election based on who you trust more. Who would you vote for, and why?

A couple of years ago we were curious about this, so we took the geeky route and asked 3,000 Americans this question.

The results of our election might surprise you.

Figure depicting the photographs of Queen Elizabeth (left) and J. K. Rowling (right). A pie chart in the middle of these photographs depicting the vote shares: Queen Elizabeth (37.2%); J. K. Rowling (62.8).

Rowling, the children's book author, beat Elizabeth, the monarch, by what pollsters call a landslide.

But why?

Why would we be more likely to trust the author over the queen? Why would we choose the storyteller over the woman with a lifetime of leadership experience? And what does this have to do with the business world?

In this book, we're going to answer those questions. First, we'll dig into the science of story and what stories do to our brains. Then we'll get into how we can become powerful storytellers ourselves and how to use storytelling as a strategy to persuade and present more effectively at work, grow our businesses, and make a difference in the world.

And, as you might have guessed, we're going to start with a couple of stories.

Jacques and the Beggar

Many years ago, a French poet named Jacques Prévert was walking down the street. He passed a beggar asking for money. For whatever reason, ...

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