Sourcing the stories

tell me a storyIf you want your kids to get some exercise today would you a) stick them on a treadmill for 20 minutes or b) take them out for a game of football? Both effective, but b) is way more likely to get an enthusiastic response.

If you want your reader to understand an important point, would you a) make the point to them earnestly with supporting facts, or b) tell them a story that illustrates the point? Both effective, but b) way more likely to be absorbed and remembered. 

But what if you don’t have all the stories you need to convey all the points you want to make? Then you can go out and find them. That’s what Patrick McGinnis, author of The 10% Entrepreneur, did:

‘I interviewed dozens of people across the world, on four continents, nine countries, people in all kinds of different industries.’


‘The way that I found them was by putting a note on Facebook saying “Bring me the best people you can, bring me all kinds of different people.”

My friends really responded. Some said, “I want to be in your book,” others said, “I know the perfect person for you.” Every time I would talk to somebody, I did the old interview question trick, the old “can you tell me three people you know who are doing this” sort of thing. Not everybody made it in the book, of course. I had some people that their stories were too similar or I didn’t really feel like they were exciting enough. Some people who weren’t willing to put their name, I required that everyone put their full name so that we can show that this is something that you don’t have to hide. That’s how it happened. I basically interviewed people over a period of three, four, five months, really. It was very educational. Crowd sourcing knowledge is something that is quite powerful. As a writer, it’s a really great tool to bring in fresh ideas on top of your own.’

And as a bonus, the more people whose stories you include, the more people there are out there waiting for the book to be published and ready to tell all their friends about it.