Storyworthy Summary By Matthew Dicks

Storyworthy Review

Short Summary

  • "Storyworthy teaches how to craft engaging and inspiring personal narratives to captivate listeners in various settings, including dinner table discussions, business conferences, job interviews, and more. The book highlights the key elements of storytelling, from intriguing beginnings to satisfying endings, to help turn even mundane experiences into captivating stories."

Super Power Of Storytelling

Stories are the foundations of the entire world. Storytelling is about narrating a series of remarkable events and is one of the most underrated forms of art. Anyone who can narrate stories forcefully possesses a superpower that is always in short supply. Ideas come and fade out and change over time, but stories stay forever. All great prophets and leaders in different fields possess this superpower of storytelling.

Process Of Finding Your Stories

Even the best storyteller sometimes struggles to find ideas to tell the story. But Mathew Dick hints at tapping your ideas to tell a good story. First, he describes the idea of a DINNER TEST for your stories; before presenting them to a big audience, share them at the dinner table. Do they pass the test of dinner table if yes, you can proudly tell your story anywhere and to anyone.

Homework For Life

The author suggests a technique to keep track of your ideas that can ignite worthy stories in your mind. You should cultivate a habit of writing down anything about the daily routine and try to connect the dots and make something out of trivialities. The author asks himself a simple question every night, “If I had to tell a story from today — a five-minute story onstage about something that took place in the day — what would it be?”

Cash And Burn

The term ‘cash and burn,’ coined by Mathew, means jotting down anything with your pen, whatever comes into your mind. Just hold a pen, start and write your mind no matter how shoddy, pointless, vulgar or disturbing that might be. It’s like dreaming with your pen. The idea is to leave your mind free of any constraint and let the flow of thoughts find its way through a pen in your hand. It is important not to get obsessed with one idea, thought, theme, or place. The other piece of advice is to never judge your thoughts and let them come on page unjudged in unadulterated form.

Simplify your story

The audience wants to relate to your story, so keep it simple. This is the trick to telling a big story: it cannot be about anything big. Instead, we must find the small, relatable, comprehensible moments in our larger stories. We must find the piece of the story that people can connect to, relate to, and understand.

The author has described many unusual life experiences, like robbery at gunpoint and a night in jail. Still, many people will never be able to relate to such incidents, so keep it simple to make it interesting for everyone. Storytelling is not theatrical performance or poetry. It is a crafted version of the story you would tell your friends, so try to keep it simple. The Elephant should appear as early in the story as possible. Ideally, it should appear within the first minute, and if you can say it within the first thirty seconds, even better.

Tell Stories That Evolve

Make the story evolve slowly. While moving the story forward, avoid abrupt transformations because they look outrightly artificial. Scenes of your story should reflect a gradual change of yourself into a better or worst person close to the end. Your story must reflect change over time. A story cannot simply be a series of remarkable events. You must start as one version of yourself and end as something new. And the rule to tell a success story is to marginalize and malign yourself to show humility.

Try to start your story with forwarding movement whenever possible. Establish yourself as a person who is physically moving through space. Opening with a forwarding movement creates instant momentum in a story. Make sure that every moment in your story has a location attached. Every moment should be a scene, and every scene needs a setting. The best stories often reflect incremental change than stories about overnight success.

Tell Your Story

Don’t tell other people’s stories. Tell your own. But feel free to tell your side of other people’s stories as long as you are the protagonist in these tales. The idea is to be at the centre stage in your story so tell your own story. It should be an honest account of yourself without artificiality.

Keep the stakes of the story high once you have grabbed the attention of your listeners or readers. Don’t lose suspense along the way. A story is like a diamond with many facets. Everyone has a different relationship with it. If you can find a way of making your particular facet of the story compelling, you can tell that story as your own

Five-Second Moment makes the Story Compelling

Always try to find those five-second moments when your heart melts. You don’t have a story if you can’t find those five seconds. In the world of art, the idea is to find a way to touch hearts. Unless you don’t find the transforming moment in your story, there is no story. A five-second moment story should start with one version of yourself that changes by the end of your story. As Mathew described the definition of best stories, “Every great story ever told is essentially about a five-second moment in a person’s life, and the purpose of the story is to bring that moment to the greatest clarity possible.”

Every Great Story Starts Near The End of Your Story

Everyone likes the story that adds up to something in the end. T.S Eliot said, “The end is in the beginning,” and beginning defines the end, and the end defines the beginning. Take the example of the horror film Sixth Sense where the protagonist realizes in the end that he is a dead man walking, and it shocks the audience.
Start your story with where we are headed and where we will be at the end. This means that you will not truly know the story’s beginning until you write the end. End your story with a climax. The beginning of your story should be the opposite of the end. Find the opposite of your transformation, revelation, or realization; this is where your story starts. Those five-second moments are the defining moment of your story. So try to start your story as close to the end as possible.

Present Tense Is The King

Nothing connects the audience’s minds better than the present tense, although the story is always set in the past. It allows the audience to keep moving forward with the storyteller. So it is almost always better to narrate a story in the present tense.

People Are More Interested In F than A+

People are more interested in the story of an underdog and a dark horse than a promised success because the story of the underdog ignites emotions of hope and fear. Big Stories are always about seeming failures that turn into success stories. There is nothing wrong with telling a hero story, but they are hard stories to tell because failure is more engaging than success stories.

Mislead Your Audience

Mathew has used the term “crystal ball.” A Crystal Ball is a false prediction made by a storyteller to cause the audience to wonder if the prediction will prove to be true. It surprises the audience. An example of a crystal ball in a story might be like this. “I was sure my BF forgot my birthday, but when I got home, I had a surprise party waiting for me.” It makes the story interesting. Tell them how bad it can get. It has to be believable but wrong in the end.


A strategy that keeps the audience on their toes about an upcoming event in the story by increasing the stakes. It’s when a storyteller loads up the audience with all the storyteller’s hopes and fears at that moment before moving the story forward. To make the audience wonder what will happen next in the story by increasing the audience’s anticipation about a coming event.


A strategy to keep your audience ablaze with ominous feelings by giving out hints about an impending event. Keeping them guessing is the trick.

Five Permissible Lies

Everyone tries to tell the stories of their lives, but no story is entirely true. All stories contain some mistakes. inaccuracies and memory slippages. Mathew Dick has allowed five permissible lies for the sake of the audience and not the storyteller:

  • Omissions
  • Compression
  • Assumption
  • Progression
  • Conflation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

By reflecting upon the day and asking a simple question, what would it be if one had to tell a five-minute story to an audience on stage about what happened along the course of the day?
This moment is a small change or epiphany that is the climax of a good story. A five-second transformation might happen when you fall in love with someone, find forgiveness, or discover something new about yourself.

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