Storytelling is an age-old art that has the power to educate, transform, influence, and inspire. Whether in leadership, education, business, or personal growth, storytelling plays a pivotal role. Here are 50 of our favorite quotes about storytelling, categorized to highlight their diverse impacts and applications.

Storytelling Quotes for Business, Leaders & Learning

The Essence and Impact of Storytelling:

“Storytelling is the oldest form of education.” – Terry Tempest Williams

“In the end, we’ll all become stories.” – Margaret Atwood

“The stories we love best live in us forever.” – J.K. Rowling

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” – Isak Dinesen

“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.” – Mary Catherine Bateson

“Storytelling is not something we do. Storytelling is who we are.” – Carmine Gallo

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” – Tahir Shah

“Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience.” – Robert McKee

“When you tell a story, you spark a connection. That is the power of storytelling.” – Jay O’Callahan

“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way.” – Flannery O’Connor

“Storytelling is the essential human activity. The harder the situation, the more essential it is.” – Tim O’Brien

“You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it.” – Margaret Atwood

“We are as a species addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep the mind stays up all night telling itself stories.” – Jonathan Gottschall

“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” – Jean Luc Goddard

“People forget facts but they remember stories.” – Joseph Campbell

“Stories are memory aids, instruction manuals and moral compasses.” – Aleks Krotoski

Storytelling in Leadership and Influence:

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” – Steve Jobs

“Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.” – Dr. Howard Gardner

“Purposeful storytelling isn’t show business; it’s good business.” – Peter Gruber

“Great leaders are great storytellers.” – Simon Sinek

Storytelling and Personal Identity:

“The story you often get is not the story you were chasing but it ends up being even better.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Story as it turns out was crucial to our evolution – more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.” – Lisa Cron

“Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.” – Anne L. Watson

“Everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” – Patrick Rothfuss

“You are the perfect person to tell your story.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda

“You can change the world just by sharing your story.” – Barack Obama

The Role of Storytelling in Learning and Education:

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” – J.K. Rowling

“That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.” – Walt Disney

“Homo sapiens is a storytelling animal that thinks in stories rather than in numbers or graphs and believes that the universe itself works like a story…” – Yuval Noah Harari

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” – Rudyard Kipling

Storytelling in Business and Innovation:

“The stories we tell literally make the world. If you want to change the world, you need to change your story. This truth applies both to individuals and institutions.” – Michael Margolis

“Good stories surprise us. They make us think and feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that a PowerPoint never can.” – Joe Lazauskas

“Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people, and open us to the claims of others.” – Peter Forbes

“The best stories are those that leave a lasting impact on the audience.” – David Mamet

“If you’re going to have a story, have a big story or none at all.” – Joseph Campbell

“The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic ‘right-brain’ thinkers.” – Daniel Pink

“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” – Ira Glass

“If you can tell a story as briefly as possible, it’s more dramatic. If it’s too long, then it has the problems of pacing; it could get a little slow. The shorter the story, the better.” – Joyce Carol Oates

“Life is too short for a long story.” – Mary Wortley Montagu

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin

“Storytelling is our obligation to the next generation. Give something of meaning to your audience by engaging and educating them. Stop marketing. Start storytelling.” – Laura Holloway

“Story is a yearning meeting an obstacle.” – Robert Olen Butler

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” – Robert McKee

“The stories we tell, far more than our technological prowess, have been humanity’s defining trait.” – Ken Burns

“Every great design begins with an even better story.” – Lorinda Mamo

The Art and Craft of Storytelling:

“If you wish to influence an individual or a group to embrace a particular value in their daily lives, tell them a compelling story.” – Annette Simmons

“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” – Jimmy Neil Smith

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think but to give you questions to think upon.” – Brandon Sanderson

“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.” – Hannah Arendt

“Story is intention and obstacle.” – Aaron Sorkin

Storytelling Quotes for Business, Leaders & Learning

We hope you are inspired to tell your story! You can grow or strengthen your storytelling with live experiential training programs such as our Storytelling for Business Training or Storytelling Leadership Workshops.

Also, our online workshop course on Storytelling Training for Leaders, Innovators, Facilitators and Trainers can help!