Books You Gotta Read

Where Buddha Meets Business

Story Driven: You don’t need to compete when you know who you are by Bernadette Jiwa

Been reading Story Driven: You Don’t Need to Compete When You Know Who You Are by Bernadette Jiwa, whom I had never heard of before.  I was listening to Seth Godin’s book last week – This is Marketing, and he mentioned her storytelling and writing.  So, I checked her out and bought a couple of her books.

I’d say I’m in a listening and reading frenzy at the moment. Since I’ve dedicated most mornings to long walks with the dogs, I’ve gotten through books much faster.

Well, in Bernadette’s book (this is a book review, after all), she talks about how there are two types of businesses in the world – 

1 – Competition-driven Businesses – These are reactive to the marketplace, focused on beating competitors, racking up profits, and winning at all costs. They want to dominate the market and maximize shareholder value. Think Volkswagon, airlines, wireless phone companies, etc.

 2- Story-Driven Businesses – Those who are responsive and focused on customers and what matters. “They don’t try to matter by winning. They win by mattering. The people that build them know what they stand for and act on those beliefs.”  These businesses thrive because they have a connection between their purpose and their prosperity. Their ultimate goal is simply to make a difference. Think Tesla, Apple, Fiasco Gelato, IKEA, and Wikipedia.

She specifically talks about Tesla’s success. One of the many reasons Tesla has succeeded is that when Elon Musk (an original first-round investor) invested in the business, he backed a vision that he believed in long before meeting the Tesla founders. He was about to start a Ph.D. program at Stanford to study sustainable batters, and he dropped out to start an internet company.

His purpose and the reason the company exists is “To accelerate the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. “ 

His vision and aspirations for the future are to “Expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric company.”

I love businesses with a purpose and vision; they live it and breathe it. Plus, I think this is a beneficial exercise to take a step back, look at your own business, and remember why you started it.

What type of business do you have? Is it competitive or story-driven? 

What’s your business’s purpose, the reason it exists, and your vision and future aspirations? 

When you nail these down and live them, the magic starts to happen in your business.

As an aside, something really cool Tesla did when they first started, which I think you definitely need to do before you create anything else for your business, is to ask their prospects to come, THEN build it!

When Tesla started, they said they were building a roadster and asked for preorders with a deposit of $1,000. So they gathered a ton of orders and knew they were onto something. They created demand. THEN they built the car. How innovative is that for the car industry? This had never been done before in that industry.

So, what does all this mean for you in your business?

Don’t create ANYTHING until you create and know there’s a demand for it.

There’s also the more significant valuable lesson in investing time to reflect and remember why you are in business.  And how things that happened in your past actually shaped your business and your work. 

If you want to continue doing work that matters, dig deeper, connect to your own personal stories, and share them with your clients, customers, and your communications. This is soulful, authentic, and genuine marketing that connects with your dream clients or customers.

Some Specifics and Quick Book Review to Entice You to Read it!

Quick Summary:  Reading this book will show you how to stop competing and succeed by being who you are in your business. When you do that, you can do work you’re proud of and create the vision for the future you want.

WHO Ought to Read this Book: If you want to be a company that exists and is profitable BECAUSE it helps people thrive, then you gotta read this book! It’s appropriate for any business or entrepreneur, big and small. I love it because she walks you through the questions and framework for creating your mission, vision, and values. It’s not about competition. It’s about you and your business and being your unique self. And that starts with your story.

Why Read this Book?  It will help you create your own unique story that your business will have as its foundation. In today’s world, it’s about differentiating and standing out from the crowd. If you’ve read Story Brand by Donald Miller, this book takes it to another level. One is where it gets to your core of WHY you’re in business, your values, and your vision for the future. A good example is when you create a business like Starbucks. Where it’s former CEO Howard Shultz decided to give ALL his employees insurance because of the tragedies his family suffered as a child because his dad didn’t have insurance, that’s a pretty powerful story.

A couple of Things You Will Discover: Bernadette teaches us how to know who we are, what we stand for, where we are headed, and what has made us personally, our brand, and our organization. More importantly, she teaches us why this story is important to be told. Forget about the competition and focus on what makes you and your business unique and valuable. 

Framework for Your Story:

  1. Strategy – Align opportunities, plans & behavior
  2. Vision – Aspiration(s) for the future
  3. Purpose – Reason to Exist as a business in the world
  4. Values – These are your own personal and maybe even company values that are YOUR GUIDING BELIEFS
  5. Backstory – Journey to now – how in the world did you get here, do tell

Some questions to answer about your story to get at the heart of it:
1. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
2. What did doing the hard thing teach you about yourself?
3. Who are the two people who have had the biggest impact on your life?
4. What did you learn from them?
5. What was your first job, and what valuable lessons did you learn there?
6. What’s your proudest memory? Why?

These are only the first section of questions. I’d encourage you to definitely get the book and check out Part Three – Developing Your Story-Driven Strategy. (Page 133)

Quotes (from the book) that Will Inspire You:
A Great Company is…:
“a great company doesn’t just thrive because it’s profitable; it’s profitable because it helps people to thrive.”

Vision, Strategy & Products:
“If a vision is a distant goal in the future, the strategy is the route to getting there, the plan for realizing your vision. Often, we start with an idea for a product or service, unsure of the contribution the product or business will make over time.”

Bernadette’s Goal for You:
“My goal is to give you an alternative- a way to discover (or rediscover) and stay true to who you are and to remain conscious of how your contribution can impact the world.”

The Difference Between Mission & Vision:
“Your mission is your purpose, which is the term I prefer and have chosen to use for clarity. It’s the reason your company exists. Your purpose is why you do what you do today and every day. Your vision is your aspiration for the future, the contribution you or your work will make. “

Great Companies:
“Great companies have something in common: they don’t try to matter by winning. They win by mattering. The people who build them know what they stand for and act on those beliefs.”

Courage and Conviction:
“Consistently being true to yourself and true to your word is one of the secrets to living a good life. It’s also the secret to crafting, telling, and living an authentic story that resonates.”

About the Author – Bernadette Jiwa:

Bernadette Jiwa is a recognized global authority on business philosophy and the value of story in business, innovation, and marketing and is the author of several best-selling books on marketing and brand storytelling. Her popular blog was voted Best Australian Business Blog in 2012 and has been featured three times on Smart Company’s Best Australian Business Blog list, topping it in 2016.

Where I Would Recommend You Get Your Copy:
Story Driven: You Don’t Need to Compete When You Know Who You Are by Bernadette Jiwa

If you want to discover more, I recommend Bernadette Jiwa’s book. It was a short and terrific read. Plus, she has more interesting books on Audible.

Other Books Totally Worth Checking Out by Bernadette Jiwa:
Hunch: Turn Your Everyday Insights Into the Next Big Things
Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers
Difference: The One-Page Method for Reimagining Your Business and Reinventing Your Marketing
Make Your Idea Matter: Stand Out With A Better Story
What Great Storytellers Know: Seven Skills to Become Your Most Influential and Inspiring Self
The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 keys to a great brand story and why your business needs one

Other Books I Recommend Around Story and Writing:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron 
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling by Matthew Dicks
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft by Steven King

Soulfully Yours,

Shannon McCaffery

Shannon McCaffery

Strategic Marketing Coach & Consultant

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Bernadette Jiwa

Story Driven: You don’t need to compete when you know who you are by Bernadette Jiwa


Hey there, I'm Shannon! Being a voracious reader and passionate about learning, I started this site in the hopes of sharing my thoughts and my love of inspiring nonfiction books that can help you. It's kind of like Buddha meets business. I truly hope you enjoy!

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