Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tell Me a Story

I recently posted on how storytelling wins in the Oscars aftermath of The King's Speech. That ever-stimulating ideas probe Big Think recently zapped out a nice case. Peter Guber tells a story of How Nelson Mandela Leveraged the Power of Storytelling. Here’s the start of Guber’s story: “Nelson Mandela had just been released from Robben Island in South Africa. And suddenly out of nowhere I, as the then CEO of Sony, got a call in the big boardroom: Nelson Mandela’s on the phone. Of course, I laughed and I say, yeah, right, the guy gets out of prison, 29 years, calls a middle-aged white American in California as his first call. No, no, no, it can't be. And I ignored it. And then again and again and again and finally the South African Embassy said, it's really Nelson Mandela on the phone. And he said, "I want to come to the United States and I would like David Rockefeller on the East Coast and you in the West Coast to host an event for me." I said, "Sure." What was I going to say, no? A guy had been in prison for 29 years, no, it didn't sound right, didn't sound generous. So I said, "Yeah, sure." And I was trying to think of why he wanted to do it and he said, "let me tell you a story." Tell me a story. And he sits down and he tells me the story…” Go view it.

Peter Guber, by the way, is a story in his own right, and has been for many years. He has just written a book “Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph With the Hidden Power of Story.” Check out this New York Times profile In Film and in Life, the Story Is King.