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  • Story or Die

  • How to Use Brain Science to Engage, Persuade, and Change Minds in Business and in Life
  • Written by: Lisa Cron
  • Narrated by: Katie Koster
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Story or Die

Written by: Lisa Cron
Narrated by: Katie Koster
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Publisher's Summary

“A practical, heartfelt manual for anyone who needs to change minds and actions. Lisa Cron shares the art of practical empathy with leaders who care enough to make a difference.” (Seth Godin, author of The Practice)

A step-by-step guide to using the brain’s hardwired need for story to achieve any goal, from the author of Wired for Story 

Whether you’re pitching a product, saving the planet, or convincing your kids not to text and drive, story isn’t just one way to persuade. It’s the way. It’s built into the architecture of the brain, and has been since early humans gathered around the camp fire, trying to figure out how to outsmart the lion next door.

In Story or Die, story coach Lisa Cron sets out to decode the power of story, first by examining how the brain processes information, translates it into narrative, and then guards it as if your life depends on it. Armed with that insight, she focuses on how to find your real target audience and then pinpoint their hidden resistance. Finally, she takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of your own story, one that allows your audience to overcome their resistance and take up your call to action, not because you told them to, but because they want to.

That is the power of story. Use it wisely.

©2021 Lisa Cron (P)2021 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“Since ancient times (and childhood bedtime, for that matter), we’ve known that stories are humans’ most compelling force. Now, in Story or Die, Lisa Cron masterfully shows you how to turn your stories into an unstoppable force of persuasion.” (Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing)

“Lisa Cron is authoritative, compelling, and always worth listening to. If storytelling is important to your work in any way, Story or Die is essential reading.” (Andy Goodman, director, The Goodman Center)

“Lisa Cron has studied the science and architecture of powerful stories for decades. In Story or Die, she translates her knowledge into a compelling storytelling guide for anyone with an idea to spread or a cause to advance. If you want to change how others see the world, then this book will show you how.” (Bernadette Jiwa, creator of The Story Skills Workshop) 

What listeners say about Story or Die

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another out-of-the-ballpark home run/must read

Cron packs the perfect blend of instruction, anecdote, humor and neuroscience evidence to allow the reader to walk away IMMENSELY satisfied and savvy. Another must-read by this remarkable author.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic narration! One of my favorites this year

Wow! my favorite from Lisa Cron. An in depth look at what a story is, why stories are the only way to make your point, change minds and inspire action . Great examples and breakdowns of what's really happening when we are under the spell of a story, and what is happening in our brains when we hear a story that 'works'. hint it has nothing to do with events, plot, or story structure at all. I loved the case studies, mainly from branding and advertising. This book is incredible, (with engaging and at time hilarious narration). perfect narrating! This books shows you how to compel audiences to listen to your message, in anything from a tweet to a 2 minute video, to a novel. It's not about any of these formats, but about the necessary ingredients for your message to be compelling, and for your audience to relax their defenses and hear your message. For someone who wants to inspire change, this is a must read!

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Profile Image for Seth Erickson
  • Seth Erickson
  • 2021-04-22

The Book from Lisa Cron I was waiting for.

Having read the summary of Wired for Story and all the bits about neuroscience, I was expecting this book. However, what I got was a book on writing good stories. I was pretty disappointed. It wasn't that Wired for Story was bad; it just wasn't as advertised, at least in my mind.

Story or Die completely delivers on the promise of what I thought I was getting in Wired for Story. I'm not sure if there was feedback on what people were looking for that wasn't in Wired for Story, but Story or Die delivers. This book is great. It's the kind of book that made me stop and think about the concepts in the book and how they can be applied in my own work.

Story or Die has quickly moved to my list of favorite books on storytelling, along with Story by Robert McKee, Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, Winning The Storywars by Jonah Sachs, Storyworthy by Mathew Dicks, Made to Stick by the Heath brothers, and man others.

Thank you, Lisa!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2022-06-09

Good content, but...

I'm a big fan of Wired for Story, it helped me a lot and the content of this book is great. At least the content I listened to. I tried to get through it twice but gave up both times. (Now please imagine a hushed tone) the problem is...(three second dramatic pause) the NARRATOR!!! (five second dramatic pause).

The narrator reads this book with a kind of silly acting, as if you went to your local improv group and asked them to act out the book. The reading is filled with different emotional intensities (or jokey tone) and dramatic pauses that make no sense. And it's consistent, talking about results from a research study has the same vaudevillian acting as talking about the author fleeing her home in the middle of the night with a young child because of a fire.

It's very distracting, and this constant emphasizing/deemphasizing different parts of sentences could misinterpret the author's work (like when quoting people say "emphasis mine" when changing emphasis). I'm not saying this audiobook needs a voice with "generic neutrality" but it would be nice to sound conversational and not like an acting performance. I encourage the author to narrate the book next time. The content is good enough without the need for this silly acting.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Benjamin J. Kreger
  • 2023-02-16

This is Cron’s Master Class

I’ve read Wired for Story and love it. Here, in this book Cron breaks her thesis into bite size pieces for easy digestion. As an author myself who dabbles in marketing for a variety of clients, I feel this book is invaluable for either profession. I highly recommend!

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  • Agastopic
  • 2022-10-26

Just plain dull

This book demonstrates several things NOT to do regarding story-telling.
If you expect some good stories and/or demonstrations of good storytelling you will be disappointed.
Poorly referenced with misunderstood pseudoscience.
Nothing here to evoke or provoke an emotional response.
Nothing memorable.
just boring

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  • Hayk
  • 2022-10-18

Love love love it

Awesome book, makes me regret giving other books 5 stars because this one takes the cake.

I hope Lisa has other books I get to explore I can tell a lot was put into this one

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  • Kindle Happy Customer :)
  • 2022-09-18

Does exactly what advices you not to do…

She does exactly what she advices you not to do-speak to the intellect instead of the emotions. She delivers her message with reasons why, some studies results, and a few anecdotes, but misses to deliver her message with stories!
Too much talking little content.
Wasted my time and money.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2022-08-15

Very useful

Loved the book. In this book Lisa tells about story basics and how to apply technique to any kind of story - from teaching kid to not text while driving to creating an ad or speech that will stay in people's minds for a long time. A lot of good examples and funny comments from the author that allows to understand it much easier.
Like in Lisa's previous books, we learn more about her thru experiences she share with us.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony
  • 2022-03-23

clickbait title for liberal vomit

loved the ideas revolving around the topic of "story" as i do believe it to be powerful, sadly the author uses the book as a platform for liberal "woke" propaganda instead 🤮 sad...

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  • Scott Perry
  • 2021-06-15

Clear and Compelling

Lisa delivers an actionable, common sense, and scientifically sound approach for crafting stories that make worthwhile change happen. Highly recommended.