A review of a talk I held at The Big Green Bookshop in December 2012:
Back in 1979 whilst I was at Warwick University, I went along to see a very much younger Jon Snow give a brilliant expose of what was happening behind the headlines in Nicaragua. That was a memorable experience that has stayed with me to this day.
I dared to hope that Esler might offer another memorable experience at The Big Green Bookshop tonight. I wasn't disappointed.
The evening's conversation and the Q&A that followed was around Mr Esler's latest book, "Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead - And Stay There"
The book explores how leaders use stories to persuade and educate, and how sometimes they spectacularly fail to do so. It's based on decades of first-hand experience of interviewing world famous figures from Bill Clinton to Angelina Jolie.
Esler make his narrative against twenty-first century phenomena such the "confessional culture" and 24 hour news. He offered some insights on how leaders weave their stories, "We all tell stories, but I believe leaders who communicate well organise their stories into three parts: Who am I? Who are we? What is our common purpose? It's a rough guide to how just about everybody does it."
Apparently the book as written to offer lessons as much to you and me as to aspiring leaders of the future. It's a fascinating set of insights with some great lessons for us all.
I noticed one local aspiring leader in the audience and I'm genuinely interested to hear what he thought. Whilst I'll save him his blushes at this point, I'll drop him a note and ask him to share his reflections on the evening.
A fascinating evening - and an intriguing book, well worth getting your hands on - in stock at a Big Green Bookshop near you!
Some takeaway quotes from tonight for me were:
"It's really important for leaders (and everybody) to confront the things people are thinking about you".
On Gordon Brown: "Never one to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity".
"Politicians submit to today's confessional culture because they feel it humanises them".
On journalists: "You're entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts".