The 12 best books on storytelling for 2024

Many people think of storytelling as purely entertainment. But if you've ever seen a great presentation, you know storytelling can make a huge difference in the professional world. 

At its core, storytelling is about connecting with others, conveying ideas and inspiring action. 

These are valuable skills no matter what work you do. Storytelling humanizes your experiences, making them more relatable and easier to remember. 

As we go through our list of books, you’ll see how storytelling can make you more persuasive. That can hugely impact your conversations with colleagues, managers, customers and potential employers. 

Let’s get into the best books on storytelling to guide you through this vital skill.

12 must-read books to become an outstanding storyteller

Now you know why storytelling is valuable for your career, how do you tell a story that will change hearts and minds? How do you craft a narrative that makes an audience cling to your every word? 

Thankfully, there are many books on the topic. We've assembled a dozen of the best in random order, with takeaways for each:

1. Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence

In this book, Lisa Cron examines how our brains naturally respond to certain story elements. 

Rather than simply learning to create good dialog or well-articulated prose, Wired for Story aims to penetrate the audience's psyche. Cron explains how understanding an audience's expectations can guide a storyteller's craft. 

This book tells you what story elements best stimulate the audience's desire to know more. You can use these techniques to create a story that immediately engages the audience and holds their attention until the end.

2. Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Wharton Professor Jonah Berger uses his human decision-making and marketing degrees to show readers why certain things become popular. 

This New York Times Bestseller outlines the key principles that impact the shareability of information and stories.

You can use its lessons on creating engaging content to craft a story for many purposes, from social media content to one-on-one daily conversations. 

3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Author Simon Sinek says there are two ways to get people to take action: Inspiration and manipulation.

Throughout the book, he argues that inspiration is more effective. When people deeply care about their actions, they're more likely to stick with it and give it their all. 

In Start with Why, Sinek lays out his Golden Circle framework. He examines how the world's greatest leaders have inspired people and how their actions differ from most people's attempts. 

4. Pip Decks Storyteller Tactics Card Deck

This isn't a book; it’s a set of cards that can turn boring presentations into exciting stories

Each card contains a structure, prompt, framework or piece of information that guides you toward the perfect story. 

This innovative tool transforms the daunting task of presentation design into a creative, engaging process. Each card is a standalone guide, and the set inspires better storytelling. 

Regardless of your starting point, you can use Storyteller Tactics to weave complex and compelling tales that capture your audience's attention.

5. The Storyteller's Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don't

Some ideas catch on while others flop. If you're a storyteller, you've likely written a story that didn't quite land as you expected. 

Author Carmine Gallo examines successful TED speakers and business legends’ tactics to understand why some things resonate with audiences and others don't.

Gallo distills those ideas into The Storyteller's Secret, sharing insights into storytelling techniques that make messages captivating and memorable. 

Whether you're writing to entertain or inform, this book can help you hit the mark and ensure a memorable story.

6. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Having an idea catch on is half the battle: Many stories start with enormous success and still fizzle out. 

Storytellers aim to be the next Homer and craft works that survive the test of time. Instead, they’re architects of a short-lived fad.

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath present the reader with six principles for creating understandable, memorable and effective ideas. If you use these principles, your ideas will captivate and stick with the audience.

7. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

In The Storytelling Animal, author Jonathan Gottschall lays out how deeply rooted storytelling is in the human experience. He explains how you can use it to connect with audiences more profoundly.

This book draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology to provide a solid foundation for how storytelling impacts our lives. 

8. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

In this well-known New York Times bestseller, Robert Cialdini explores the psychology behind why people say ‘yes’ and how to apply these principles in various contexts.

Cialdini identifies six key principles of influence: 

  • reciprocity
  • commitment and consistency
  • social proof
  • authority
  • liking
  • scarcity

Influence examines research and real-world examples to provide a comprehensive guide to using these persuasive tactics.

9. The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey is a well-known story structure, forming the basis for many of our most enduring myths and legends. 

Joseph Campbell first popularized the structure's analysis in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 

The Hero's Journey is an in-depth look at the life and work of Campbell, providing a deeper insight into this powerful storytelling structure. 

Storytellers looking to create memorable tales will benefit from understanding this time-tested recipe. 

10. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose 

Delivering Happiness is the story of how online shoe seller Zappos became a beloved brand. This book is ideal for those hoping to grow a brand through storytelling. 

Written by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, the book shares how focusing on corporate culture and customer service is a recipe for success.

In the book, you'll learn how Zappos created compelling company narratives that engage employees and customers. You can adapt these ideas to your brand and its stakeholders. 

11. Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

Rather than a story of romance, Robert Greene's Art of Seduction presents seduction as the ultimate form of persuasion and power. 

The book breaks seduction into various archetypes and strategies, using historical figures and famous fictional characters to drive the point. 

Greene illustrates how we can use these tactics throughout life, from personal relationships to business and social interactions. 

Storytellers can use the book’s lessons to create more narrative depth. Characters will be more compelling, and you’ll maximize tension and intrigue to engage the audience. 

12. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds

Carmine Gallo makes his second appearance on our list with his book Talk Like TED.

This book focuses on lessons from the most successful TED speakers. It contains interviews with speakers and scientists from various fields to help the reader understand how certain techniques drive a successful story.

Like its sibling, The Storyteller’s Secret, Talk Like TED will provide readers with tools to make their stories more convincing.

The Art of Storytelling

Mastering storytelling means easily persuading, inspiring and connecting with your audience. 

You can use storytelling in all areas of your life, from office meetings to casual conversations. 

Anyone can become a great storyteller with these books.
If you want to get started with a fun and easy way of storytelling, check out Storytelling Tactics and start crafting your story today.

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