Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Thinking Project: Muhammad Ali's Storytelling Prowess and Peter Gruber's Wisdom on the Merits of Selling a Story

Some more weekend randomness for you all...

We have talked much about the sweet science and my personal hero the one and only Muhammad Ali. I came upon the above interview while reading broadly--race men and race women need to do so as nothing frustrates me more than a retreat from the "classics," "the dead white men," and a holding on to a provincial intellectual terrain that goes for the familiar, and not the "traditional." Life ain't fair and we have to know the wisdom of all and the ofays, as well as our radical and revolutionary takes on all things. Embrace that fact. Do not retreat from it.

Muhammad Ali is not a perfect man. But he was a visionary. If we are honest with ourselves, one sees that Ali was a bit of a mercurial villain who played race politics to his own gain...especially if you reflect on his bouts with Foreman and Frasier. That is not the official line. But, it is of oh so much import if we are to understand the man, as opposed to worshiping the legend. For me at least, the former is far more compelling a story.

As a complement to this discussion, Peter Guber's book on presentation and communication is very useful. If you are a teacher you are an entertainer. If you give presentations at conferences and/or in boardrooms you are an entertainer. If you are a story teller by habit or necessity Ali and Gruber will help you.

As my grandmother, she who was a griot extraordinaire, told me years ago, the dates don't matter, get the facts right and embellish, enhance, and shift the narrative to fit your audience. If you can do that you are a winner. Or alternatively stated, always work to sell ice to an Eskimo. Master that skill and people will give you money. To this point, grandmother has not been proven wrong yet.

That decision rule will never fail you. It will always serve you well.

No comments: