Believe Me: Why Your Vision, Brand, and Leadership Need a Bigger Story

Religious leaders, teachers, grandparents, politicians, and advertisers have long understood the power of storytelling. In recent years business and organizational leaders have caught on, thanks, in part, to the work of people like Michael Margolis, Annette Simmons, Lori Silverman, Steven Denning, Seth Kahan, Shawn Callahan, and Rick Davies.

Now Michael Margolis offers the gift of a free download of his insightful small gem, Believe Me: a storytelling manifesto for change-makers and innovators.  In the introduction he sets the stage for his premise that our “vision, brand, and leadership need a bigger story.” He writes, “If you learn how to change the story, you can change anything.”

Margolis structures Believe Me as a story in three acts: How ideas become reality; Engaging the status quo; and Finding relevance. Each “act” begins with a story that provides an over-arching metaphor for the chapter’s content. As he builds the case for story as an essential business tool, the author makes an equally strong case that narrative is the primary building block of all change.

I wish I had had this poetic little guide to organizational storytelling when I began my career in community development. What I came to understand through direct experience, Margolis articulates so clearly I would have re-read Believe Me every time I began a new project.

Every section of the book is filled with gems. While Believe Me is short enough to read in an hour, it is meaty enough I found myself slowing down to reflect. Much of my professional life has been about working with groups to move beyond a broken or limiting story. Both my successes and my failures have taught me the truth of Margolis’s statement, “We cannot force our beliefs onto anyone. We must create a story worth believing. The future rests in our ability to tell these kinds of stories.”

Margolis has plans for guides that will add the practical side to this philosophical treatise. Those planned are: “1) what stories every entrepreneur must master, 2) how to use stories to effect large-scale change, and 3) the powerful elements that can transform any brand into a cultural flashpoint.”

The initial taste offered in Believe Me will have readers returning for the full story.

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