A Review of Resonate by Nancy Duarte

By Kevin on December 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big fan of storytelling. Not that I sit around and spin yarns all day, but I appreciate the power of being able to tell a story. I’ve used story-telling techniques to help elect a US Congressman, to sell million dollar projects, to sell multi-million dollar businesses, to hire top talent, to sell book proposals, and on and on.

So imagine my delight when my publisher sent me a copy of the new book, Resonate, by Nancy Duarte. First of all, this ain’t a book to buy on the Kindle. It’s an oversized book with heavy glossy pages and color photos and diagrams on every single page. In addition to story crafting I’m a fan of design and this is best designed book I’ve seen in a long, long time. You can literally leave out as a coffee table book.

Duarte explains how the classic Hero On a Journey story can be used as the basis for any presentation, and explains how positive tension can be generated and maintained by repeatedly contrasting “what is” and “what can be.” While every good story begins with a call to adventure, your presentation should also end with a call to action. Concepts are anchored with real-world case studies including ones from: Benjamin Zander, Ronald Reagan, General Electric, Cisco Systems, Richard Feynman, Steve Jobs, Leonard Bernstein, and even e.e. cummings.

My favorite part of the whole book is when Duarte teaches how to create S.T.A.R. moments–in other words, doing Something They’ll Always Remember. To illustrate this powerful technique she references the time Bill Gates released live mosquitoes during his TED Talk on malaria, and when Steve Jobs announced the MacBook Air by removing it from a brown inter-office envelope.

I read about a hundred books a year and Resonate is among my favorites for 2010.


Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at kevinkruse.com and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

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