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.
As an instructional presentation on storytelling, there could be more focus on the elements of stories and storytelling and fewer actual stories. The number and length of the stories told by the lecturer, especially early in the series makes them seem gratuitous. I also don't find those stories to be particularly engaging or insightful. While she does use some good examples from other storytellers, I think the format of this lecture would be improved if even more, if not all examples were from other storytellers. Then it would seem more like an analytical lecture and less like a performance showcase for the professor.
Fairly often, phrases delivered by the lecturer are punctuated by an almost-snort, kind of a self-deprecating half-laugh which I'm sure is very endearing in person, but highly distracting in an audio-only format.