Kirk Kerkorian, entrepreneur and former owner of MGM

A Billionaire’s Secret – Use History To Emotionalize Your Offering

Peter Guber was flattered and nervous in 1988 when billionaire Kirk Kerkorian who was interested in selling the management interest in MGM Entertainment, asked to meet with him.

At a small coffee shop in the Hilton hotel, Kirk pulled out a buck slip with the famous MGM lion logo stamped at the top.  Then Kirk began casually to narrate his MGM story and its glorious past, all the while scribbling the terms of the deal on the pad, below the lion.  The emotional pull of this iconic company’s logo and history virtually blinded Guber.

Back at his company’s office Guber began to recant the story of his visit and the stories that Kirk told him, but not quite as well and without the logo.  After listening carefully the company chairman said, “I think we’d better examine the latest chapter of this history.”   He focused on the unemotional nature of the figures.

Guber’s company proceeded to uncover what Kerkorian was angling to sell them and quickly discovered that recent history had not been kind to the grand old legend, so Guber pulled out of the deal.

But, it taught Guber an invaluable lesson:  never underestimate the pull of history to create an emotional tug when it’s artfully told.



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.


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