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Back into the archives for today’s book review. Believe Me by Michael Margolis is his 2009 storytelling manifesto. I know – 2009, and it’s now the end of 2014. I’m very slow getting to this. I even got it in May. Holidays are a great time for catching up, and luckily stories have been around a lot longer than brands have been using storytelling as a tactic. See, I’m hundreds of years late.
What’s Believe Me About?
This book is Michael’s 88-page overview on why storytelling is important for your brand. It’s divided into three parts, starting with How Ideas Become Reality, and then Engaging the Status Quo and ending with Finding Relevance. Michael says it’s a book that can be read directly through or pick and choose the chapters, as needed. Since it’s only 88 pages, you can read it through. I’m also not sure how you could find the bits you want; Prophesy and Evolution aren’t really intuitive chapter headings.
What I found Believe Me most useful for is presenting the case for storytelling in your content. It’s full of quotes, examples and stats reinforcing the argument. The end of each chapter has a call-out box with questions to help you apply the information immediately to your brand; very useful. The Love counts poked their head in during this book. They were just little snippets of brilliance (that sounds bad; it’s a good book). My favorite “love” is “Every experience is stored in the mind with a story attached to it.” Yes, that means our customers are applying storytelling to their interactions with us, so we need to join the party.
One issue that I had (intentional past tense) was that Believe Me is a tad bitsy and skims the surface of topics. I wanted to know more about why telling stories of the status quo is effective and how to orient others into the story. In the epilogue, Michael explains that Believe Me is the first of several books on storytelling. Oh, yes there is a manifesto.
Who Is Believe Me For?
This was a tad tricky to define, but not in a bad way. This just has something for everyone, be it a stat or anecdote to help you build a case for storytelling. I just can’t segment the audience any tighter than “marketers”. Michael even says it in the dedication: “To the change-makers and innovators with the courage to swim in the deep end of the pool.” I suppose that’s even more broad than my marketers.
Believe Me is a quick, cheap buy on Kindle, and definitely recommended as a starting point.
Extra note: I just found it free via Michael’s website.
What’s your favorite storytelling book?