This book gives plenty of realistic scenarios: my teenager son hardly tells me anything, I have to work with a co-worker who's constantly angry, my boss doesn't get what I'm saying, and my spouse and I are always fighting. As you're listening to these scenarios (complete with realistic dialogues), you think "Yes, I've been there. What do I need to do to fix it?" The author then gives solutions that move people from arguing to empathizing to listening. The solutions aren't earth shattering. The secret is knowing the right things to say. Just as the solution to being healthy is exercising and eating well. The secret is finding a routine that works for you. I'm sure I'll be referring back to this book. After I absorb the ideas, I would have to go back and find the methods and dialogues that would fit me.
Professor Drout provides a foundation on writing and rhetoric in an amazing conversational format, as if he's talking to you directly and explaining things that you didn't understand in English 101. He explains terminologies well and provides plenty of examples to allow you to slowly absorb the concepts. I'm starting on volume 2, which is more technical. I don't remember all the information after the first listen through. I expect I will be listening to these audio books again.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
'The Art of Storytelling' by Prof. Hannah B. Harvey is probably one of the best courses in 'The Great Courses' series. Not only does it deals with something no human being can get away from - the telling of stories - Harvey's presentation is absolutely exquisite, she has a way to draw you in.
So why don't I give it five stars throughout. Because you loose out tremendously by buying the audio only version. While listening to Prof. Harvey gives you the basics, there are so much more that is just not accessible when listening to the audio version of the course. I would have loved to not only hear, but also to see the storytellers, including herself perform by telling a story. You only hear the example 'stories' while it is used to help you with gestures, movement etc. She also gives valuable exercises on body posture and warming up your body and vocal chords before an performance. In the audio version you miss out on a lot of these.
That said, being a minister of religion that often preaches to various audiences, I was able to incorporate some of her ideas in one of my recent sermons. I was astounded with the reaction.
Prof. Harvey covers al the components of a good story, how to write or think up or identify a story as well as how to present or perform it. It is absolutely worthwhile and the self-help exercises (cross-training) she gives helps a lot.
Unfortunately you will want to have more. I found that the audio version of this lecture left me with a feeling of being cheated out of the most important part of storytelling - body language... maybe it is better to wait for a Great Courses 70% off sale, pay a little more (or a lot) and watch the video version. If you don't have that kind of money, the audio might just help you getting started.