Book Review - The 8 Stories for Businesses & Professionals

 Title - The 8 Stories for Businesses & Professionals
Author - Dr Michael Burns
Genre - Self Help / Personality Development
Publisher - White Falcon Publishing
ISBN - 978-1-7355349-0-9

Dr Michael Burns is the founder of Tall Tales, India's longest running live non fiction storytelling series, which conducts performances, workshops, retreats and corporate training on story design and brand enhancements.He holds a Doctorate in Documentary Film History. 

I had an opportunity to go through hi latest book " The 8 Stories for Businesses & Professionals" and found it interesting and appealing. I initially thought it would be another conventional type but I realized that my assumption was not correct.

This book, I felt had served dual purposes.

Firstly, it has recorded each and every aspect in great detail which would make even a novice, a professional writer.

Secondly, this book, as the title says would also help professionals and businesses to realize their potential by unlocking the aspects which was very much present before them but wasn't explored to its fullest potential.

The book is for serious readers because though the language that was used in this book is simple, the concepts that were mentioned/discussed were sophisticated. I tarted taking notes(which is what I usually do to recollect the important pointers as it is difficult to remember and recollect all of them).

I liked the way, the content was presented and concepts that were explained. I also opined that it would be completely stories and expected it from the beginning but these stories appeared only after the first half. So you could understand the seriousness of the topics that were discussed.

The book starts with a concept called BASE which is the "Foundation of the Book". 

When I saw the mention about the Characteristics of a story which said that it needs to have the elements including sub-elements. If they are missing, it may not be a story, I could not disagree.

Then comes The Arc:

Exposition- is the first universal story structure element.

The usage of What, When, Where & Setting coupled with how & why and its importance was mentioned in a detailed manner..

Upfront exposition delivery - providing extra exposition in the beginning(Read to book to understand the concepts that I do not discuss here in details)

As an author, one must know the Importance of a twist. Wouldn't you agree?

(The above are elements of a story. It is not about making the story interesting) 

Then comes a detailed explanation on Action which includes Inciting incident  which does not appear in same order other than children’s stories

This is followed by The Revelation which covered the aspects of Introduction of Conflict or Perspectives 

There was a Story about a meteor in this chapter where author did not use the terms “Win” or “Lose”. Read the book to know why?

Then comes The Call and The Refusal Of The Call.

The mention of Super Mario game in The Quest shouldn't be missed.

Do you know the importance of Complications?

Character or Plot are threads that connect them and that make them part of the same fabric. At this juncture, author talks about a story having a minimum of 3 obstacles. Do you know why this is the case?

The need of Catastrophe was discussed next. Here we also get to read about "needy ghost".

Lastly, as we all know, it is about Climax.

William Goldman “give the audience what they want but not what they expect” was quoted in the Resolution. Author also talks about the difference between Open vs Closed resolution 

Finally, author talks about Denouement. Though I have heard about it, I came to know about the actual usage of it only after reading this book which is given below:

Everything that happens after the climax is denouement. This element (5th) isn’t Universal. It may or may not be present.

Now comes the much awaited 8 Stories which includes 

  1. The Base
  2. The Maker - let your audience know who you truly are
  3. The Vision - Not a personal story.
  4. The Product - stories are more than information. (3&4 are unfinished and hence similar to each other)
  5. The Springboard - story format proposed by Stephen Denning, one of the business story telling field’s most prominent voices  (someone else’s story from the past as an illustration of a change that a specific audience should implement in their work) 

    Inspire people to get into action 

    Chances of someone feeling that the story is theirs, willingness to attempt to change is more likely. Springboard combining with Vision is more powerful

  6. The Morale Builder - strong antidote to financial crisis, viral pandemics, terrorist aftermath & military turmoil. Concentrate on the reaction rather than the cause.

  7. The Capsule - aka Elevator Pitch. Most unique among all the 8 stories. Use highlights from The Base to tell a story in a minute or less. Improve efficiency & remove frustration. Capsule needs Universal Theme & a Change Moment

  8. The Talk - not all TED- style talks are stories. Many are demonstrations or even performances with explanation. 

Finally it is Harvesting. Let us see what this discusses in the book:

Come up with a list of several stories before you could pick one 

Look for the stories where stakes are High

Don’t tell someone else’s story except for The Springboard (as we saw earlier)

Key considerations when you’re shaping the story

Ensure that you’re not leaving out a huge piece of context

Ensure it’s a one way presentation. Save interactivity for a different time.

Practicing is a part of Harvest process

This book is a MUST READ if you're seriously considering about writing a book or want to see how you can approach business in a way that you have not done it before. A perfect book for Professionals.

This book is available on Amazon(World - except India), Amazon India  in both eBook and Paperback formats.