Storytelling library

This is the book slide representing a set of thoughts wrapped around concepts

This is a series of books, slides and thoughts around how you can build up the story telling muscle.

The book list. I love audiobooks and compiled a couple hundred that I have listened to and use in my work.

The books…

Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell

Great book about the fears baked in to talking to people we don’t know. I always enjoy a Gladwell book, and during this time (April 2020) of COVID -19 it seems more poignant. Virtual meeting with actual strangers is a little stranger than normal.

This illustrates my sense of how anxious I feel as my familiarity intersects when I talk to strangers.
I feel like my own anxiety goes down as familiarity increases.

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African American of the 19th century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era….

The arc of Fredrick Douglass's life
The complex arc of Fredrick Douglass

Reading this, listening to this history was amazing. Fredrick Douglass was complex, brilliant, driven and engaged in the life and time he lived in a way not many are these days. From early on he was a sponge and figured out ways to be free and through his life, free others. While his pen and oratory skills developed the book chronicled in a deliberate and detailed way what a life lived to it’s fullest looked like in 19th century American South.

Through the civil war and the reconstruction period you get a sense of how difficult it was for blacks in this country in a way I could never have imagined.

The lessons and history in this biography and others like it have not been learned. Marches, movements and causes struggle to break through. Fredrick Douglass for all his struggles. Was ultimately proven right in his summary judgements of the people and times in which he lived. We need more Fredrick Douglasses. #keeplearning and #keepmoving.


Although Thomas Alva Edison was the most famous American of his time, and remains an international name today, he is mostly remembered only for the gift of universal electric light….

This was an amazing book, it makes you feel lazy and complacent when you understand the amount of work, working inventing reimagining of all the things we take for granted today. Light, phonograph, movies, battery tech and 1800 more patents and inventions.

Not the best personality or personal life smoothness. Not a great father or spouse. His professional life was a near obsessive compulsive addiction. He and the people around him thought of him as near godlike. Henry Ford was such a fan and contemporary who was amazingly rapt by the things he would come up with.

He was compulsive well in to his 60s and 70s with bought of furious invention, protection of inventions and constantly evolving his ideas. He created an early movies with sound. A bit smoke and mirrors and he was profoundly deaf through much of his adult life.

Solid book, I am a history nerd and getting a real inside look at Edison was awesome. The chronology of the book was a bit weird jumping forward and back in time seemed odd.

Cant Hurt Me:Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.

This is a good story of how we can overcome. I about half way through at the time of this writing and learned two things about myself. Mind-wise the reality no one can ever hurt me again unless I let them. Also my life experiences, while not as horrendous as the author’s, there are many parallels that was a little validation for me that the struggle to overcome obstacles is valuable.

Confidence moment, when uncertainty goes down and knowledge and experience increases.
Confidence moment, when uncertainty goes down and knowledge and experience increases.

What is affirming in the book is the following (so far):

  • We operate as humans at about 40% of our capacity… we are lazy
  • Bullies at times are the most hurtful truth tellers… at times
  • Self discipline is crucial in nearly all things… make your bed
  • Self talk that is negative is your own effing problem… reframe spirals
  • You are your own worst enemy… go to work on this enemy
  • Excuses and whining is waste… find your grind.
  • Accountability to your self is the first order of business
  • Impossible tasks are meant to push you past comforts… pain gain
  • Set backs are opportunities, period. Learn what they teach.

I’ll add to this post after I finish.