Plot/Idea: The Strategy of Story is an exploration of how and why a story works, offering shrewd tips on how to enhance storytelling abilities. While exploring the science of what makes a story work Barry manages to hold the reader's attention by using some of the very same techniques she is exposing. The text also manages to neatly weave tales from Barry's own life into the text, resulting in a more personal and effective effort.
Prose: Barry's text is written in an informative and scholarly style that is robustly reinforced with a series of compelling anecdotes. The book works as a great aid for budding writers keen to enhance their storytelling skills, allowing them to begin putting the building blocks in place for a successful narrative to take shape.
Originality: The Strategy of Story contains useful information for those interested in bolstering their creativity in regards to storytelling. Barry writes in a direct, gripping and personal way which elevates this book way above a standard scholarly assignment.
Character/Execution: Nora Barry is a convincing narrator and the text is well researched, with great real life examples of speeches from General Patton and Steve Jobs, for example. Barry's illustrative anecdotes and conversational style help enliven the subject matter and inspire potential writers in the process.
Blurb: A bright and compelling analysis of storytelling technique.
Date Submitted: December 06, 2023
No matter the era or medium, Barry argues, the essential structure of stories—and the urgency of an emotionally powerful hook—endures. She shares insights and anecdotes from renowned storytellers ranging from Plato to Patton to Groucho Marx, while also applying the principles behind their success to business and communication today, drawing on her experience as a consultant for top-shelf companies. Wide-ranging examples of business successes and even the speech Peggy Noonan wrote for Ronald Reagan after the Challenger tragedy persuasively demonstrate the power of establishing a narrative in challenging, inspiring, and forcing us to go deeper or see problems in a new light, something any goal-oriented business leader would desire.
In a direct, friendly style, Barry blends the conceptual and the pragmatic, boiling the heady stuff down into actionable tips like relying on graphics to reinforce one’s message, establishing clear beginnings, middles, and ends, understanding one’s audience to win its trust, and the power of gesturing, timing and humor. What resonates most powerfully is her conviction that, no matter how technology-reliant society becomes or how far we venture from traditional support structures, story will remain central to our lives. Why? Because it touches our humanity.
Takeaway: Potent, practical guide to the power of storytelling in business and life.
Comparable Titles: Philipp Humm’s The Storytelling Method, Janine Kurnoff’s Everyday Business Storytelling.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A