Review of Winning the Story Wars

Meet the Author

Jonah Sachs, cofounder and CEO of Free Range Studios, is an internationally recognized storyteller, author, designer and entrepreneur.  His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, FOX News, Sundance Film Festival, NPR, The Colbert Report, and in FastCompany Magazine, which named him one of the 50 most influential social innovators.

Book Basics

During the broadcast era a relatively small group of people could control the message about a given brand, product or cause.  The new digitoral era moves the message from the few to the many and requires those responsible for crafting the message to partner with large numbers of others to spread their stories through new media.  The way forward captures the importance of story in ways it has been understood throughout much of human history by placing that perspective into the ever-evolving media sharing landscape.

Sachs tells the macro-story of storytelling for the world as it is and is becoming.  The first part (roughly a quarter of the book) provides an historical understanding of what has and is going wrong.  The second part (roughly three quarters of the book) provides marketers a way forward that offers unlimited opportunity.  In sharing how to succeed in the new marketplace, Sachs offers explanation, examples, and exercises designed to help readers apply the wisdom in their respective environments.

So What?

Churches are in the story telling business.  Leaders of local congregations, networks, and denominations must understand that “the traditional ways (of marketing) no longer work; suddenly, it’s evolve or die” (p.32).

  • If your congregation is 20 or more years old, how have you shifted your storytelling strategies as the world has moved from a broadcast to a digitoral mentality?
  • The second part of Winning the Story Wars is the application of John Powers’ three commandments: (1) be interesting, (2) tell the truth, and (3) live the truth.  Is your congregation’s message effectively capturing all three? If not, which deserves the greatest amount of attention?

Jonah Sachs.  Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell – and Live – the Best Stories Will Rule the Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012).  ISBN: 9781422143568.


  1. […] For all readers, especially those who do not follow Jesus, I want to make it clear that these actions are not representative of Christianity.  Recognizing that sensationalism sells and acknowledging that media outlets feature stories that enhance market share is important, but inadequate.  What are you doing to live and share what you understand to be an authentic version of living as a follower of Jesus? How is your congregation involved in a similar venture? your network of churches or denomination? (Winning the Story Wars is great resource for learning to tell better stories.  Read my review here.) […]

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