≡ Menu

Storytelling Interview With Peter Gruber

Peter Gruber, author of #1 besteststelling New York Times book Tell to Win recently gave a webinar on storytelling that was hosted by Sean Malarkey. You can watch the interview here: [VIDEO] Telling stories to win with Peter Guber – Tell to win book.

Here’s my cliffnotes – actually, I created a mindmap for that webinar, or for 50% of it (if you want to get the second half too, all you have to do is comment on this blog post), and I suggest you download the mindmap:

Peter Guber storytelling webinar

Click on the image to download the full size PDF file of this storytelling mindmap

Click here to download the storytelling MindMap as PDF in full size

And here’s the “textified” version of my mindmap, if you prefer a more structured approach.

1 persuasion & storytelling

1.1 you want to move people to action

1.1.1 storytelling is most effective way to get people to act

face to face is MOST EFFECTIVE


not about public speaking, but about SHOWING UP

1.2 we live in a COLLABORATIVE world

1.2.1 digital tribes

1.3 the world’s greaterst leaders – both good and bad – won people over with the power of stories

1.3.1 think of the stories Hitler told the Germans about the jews

1.3.2 think of the stories that Martin Luther King told about his dream of sons of slaves and farmowners, playing together

2 When did Peter Guber had “storytelling” epiphany?

2.1 big shots are as succeptible to the power of story as everyone else (entrepreneurs, business moguls, etc.

2.2 Peter Guber has been using storytelling intuitively for many years already, but at some point he realized that storytelling is can make the difference between success and failure

2.2.1 success and failure are far closer together than you may perceive

2.3 Guber learned from failure

2.3.1 he was major player in baseball & entertainment business and built stadiums

wanted to built stadium in Las Vegas too, met the major of Las Vegas to pitch his idea

used facts & data to convince the major

major said: “you gonna bring rainman back here?” (hint: rainman is brilliant with data, but “emotion stupid”) – Guber wasn’t making a compelling case, he wasn’t moving the major, wasn’t getting him excited – he just bombarded him with power point presentations and bullet points, and numbers and facts

result: major did not let him do that

young insurance woman asked Guber then: “Well, what story did you tell?” and Guber replied: “I didn’t tell a story, I gave him all the facts and numbers, etc.” and she said: “oh…” and the way she said that made him realize what his mistake was – not telling a compelling story

Guber didn’t provide the major a story that…

get the major excited

the major could use to “sell” the idea to all the other constituents that would have to be convinced


council men


3 internet series: “Winning Voices”

3.1 Guber is part of an organization called demand media

See document: peter-guber

3.2 Guber asked people he knew if they’d like to share their stories

3.2.1 Magic Johnson

3.2.2 Pat Riley

3.2.3 Deepak Chopra

3.2.4 Tony Robbins

3.2.5 Stephen Curry

3.2.6 many more

3.3 if you have a voice – get in state to use it

3.4 if you have a mission, something to sell, move – understand WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE OTHER PEOPLE

3.4.1 don’t try to be interesting, BE INTERESTED

3.4.2 show them that you have skin in the game

3.5 power of storytelling: you already have it in you. You just have to start using it.

3.5.1 it’s very easy, because you already know them intuitively.

you just have to reinforce the elements.

4 What is a story?

4.1 telling (80% of the equation)

4.1.1 walking into the room

4.1.2 being authentic

4.1.3 being congruient

are your feet, tongue and heart going into the same direction?

4.1.4 having skin in the game

4.1.5 being interactive

4.1.6 understanding they’re an AUDIENCE, not a customer

4.1.7 is your intention clear?

4.1.8 be in state

4.1.9 even if you don’t have a “story” – if you get the telling part right, you’ll pull it off! Because when you talk like that, you automatically talk in stories.

you don’t need to be John Grisham or Robert Frost or some kind of master story teller

See also: success and failure are far closer together than you may perceive

it’s not so important to have an elaborate story (20%), it’s way more important to BE the story yourself by the way you tell (80%)

4.2 story (20% of the equation)

4.2.1 conflict, challenge, resolution

4.2.2 moves people emotionally: EMOTIONAL TRANSPORTATION

this is the way we’re wired

we’re all in the business of emotional transportation every day of our lives

courting a woman

wanting your child to love you

wanting your child to behave and grow up to be a great person



4.2.3 story is the way we make sense of our world

our brains couldn’t keep all the information they hold about the world if we would use stories to make meaning of it

emotion bonded with information is resonant, memorable and actionable

4.2.4 how do you know?

Michael Jackson story

in the 90s he was phenomenally successful, and he wanted to produce a movie. Everybody knew he was a great musician, but he wanted to produce a movie. But the question they asked Michael Jackson was: Well, we know you are the best in the world when it comes to music, but what do you know about drama? Michael Jackson replied: “Well, come over to my house.”

Guber went to his house. And MJ showed him large snake in a terrarium. And there was a little white mouse trembling in the corner. And MJ said: “The snake only eats alive food. You can’t feed it dead food.” And Guber asked: “Well, why doesn’t it strike?” and MJ replied: “Well, it likes the game, it likes the process, it likes the drama.”

Drama is: HOW & WHEN

Titanic: we all know how it’s gonna end. The ship will sink. But all the drama is in the HOW & WHEN

Apollo 13: we all know the end. But we didn’t know the HOW & WHEN of the movie.

5 Facts tell & stories sell

5.1 facts are crucial, but you can’t lead with them

5.1.1 you need to get their attention first, and you do that with emotions (=stories)

5.1.2 most people have to RETELL the information to somebody else

See also: moves people emotionally: EMOTIONAL TRANSPORTATION





even themselves

how do they do that?

now with numbers and data

they use stories. They use stories to package the data. They put the data in the stories.

5.1.3 regurgitation of information



today there’s no secret in information anymore. it’s all about how it’s put together

5.2 story isn’t the icing on the cake – it’s the cake

5.3 put your mission on steroids

5.3.1 attitude forms aptitude

when people look at people, they think about their attitude, because they know there will be failure, it’s not gonna be smooth sailing, there will be obstacles that need to be overcome. So they want to see ATTITUDE

not about being the smartest guy in the room, but being the guy with the greatest attitude (and then combine that with aptitude)

6 What’s the most well-built and memorable story you’ve heard?

6.1 can’t really pick on best one

6.2 the key is always elegance

6.2.1 example: Pat Riley

See document: pat-riley

NBA coach of Miami Heat, convinced his team could win, even though statistics were against them. People didn’t think they’d stand a chance, but Riley was convinced that if they could win the championship in the 6th game – but not in the 7th. Riley: “I told everybody to pack for just one day – one shirt, one tie not two days – three days, or four days – just one day of dress and change.”

7 How to find materials to build stories?

7.1 It’s easy: breathe in, breathe out.

7.1.1 All your life is a story

7.1.2 Think Alzheimer: the sad thing is that you loose your story

7.1.3 your own experience is the best. Because it’s true, authentic. Can be observed experience too. Can be a book, play, move, metaphor, anything.

7.2 the story doesn’t have to be about the subject

7.3 The guy who brought LASIK eyesurgery to the USA did it with a story. At first, people were so afraid, because people get their eyes opened, and they’re scared that they might loose their eyesight if something goes wrong. And his story was one word: “See.” And then he points to a big box where people threw their glasses inside – it shows the benefit, that people don’t need to wear eyeglasses anymore. It shows the benefit.

8 backstory

8.1 What is a backstory?

8.1.1 A story/event that happened in your live and that you narrate.


“When I was a kid my dad used to blabla”


This is part 1 of the webinar. If you like this format, just post a comment below and let me know – I’ll then upload the mindmap for the whole webinar here.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Matthew Cantwell June 29, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Fantastic storytelling layout. Taught me alot about process & presentation. I look at this new information as the “storyline of storylining…” Awesome!

  • Matt Fox June 30, 2012, 9:08 pm

    This is great. Thank you.
    Would you share the MindManager version too? I’d rather view it in MindManger than a pdf, if you’re willing to share.

  • Franculli July 10, 2012, 4:18 pm

    That Storytelling Interview With Peter Gruber must to be great!!

  • Piotr August 5, 2012, 6:08 pm

    Interesting exercise to view an interview as a mindmap, thanks for making it. Now that my curiosity is high I’d like to see the whole map before Alzheimers sets in.

Leave a Comment