Lead With a Story | Book Review

Paul Smith’s Lead With a Story is a very good book worthy of any Leader or Public Speaker’s repertoire. In the introduction, Smith states “Experience is the best teacher. A compelling story is a close second.” My modest suggestion for developing or seasoned leaders is to combine both, for effective communication and development of each of our respective leadership “brands.”

Structural Comments

Lead With a Story is divided into five parts: ENVISION Success, Create an ENVIRONMENT for Winning, ENERGIZE the Team, EDUCATE People and EMPOWER Others. Each section has a HOW-TO chapter (or chapters) for practical application. In short, the book is a collection of over 100 stories (organized in a matrix at the rear of the book), covering 21 tough leadership challenges.

Recommended Approach

Read Chapter Seven, Structure of a Story twice, first and last. Treat the remainder of the book as new or reinforcing personal convictions. This book is probably best read in more than one sitting, as so many different situations (and very good stories) are provided. However, re-read or scan Chapter Seven at the beginning and end of each reading.


Chapter Nine, page 75, describes “values-in-actions” stories as powerful stories, very similar to our training that virtue is leadership principles in action. As a section, ENERGIZE the Team (Chapters 15-19) is a great compliment to our E2L profiles and the Platinum Rule.

JE | September 2013