Saturday 21 March 2015

Naming the Book

As anyone who has anything to do with me has probably heard by now, I am currently writing a book. In fact, I have finished writing it and am busy editing it at the moment.

One of the problems with which I have been wrestling is the title, as I recount here.

The original working title was: Freeing People to Perform - How changing their stories can transform people. However, over time I grew less convinced that was the right title, and then had the idea of calling it Twice Upon a Time: The Art of Multistory Development; after some reflection and discussion, that developed into  Twice Upon A Time: How Multistory Development can improve organisational performance.

My concern about that title, which I still quite like, is that Twice Upon a Time has been used a lot. There is a book, a series of books, a single, a film... 

So I have been continuing to mull this over, and today came up with the idea of Shifting Stories. That appeals for a number of reasons. In the first place, it retains the idea that what the book is about is changing the stories we or others have; it also has a nice resonance (cf shifting sands) implying that our stories about reality are not immutable.  As far as I can see, it is only used once elsewhere, as the title of a rather esoteric book about history, gossip, and lore from Tang Dynasty Gossip China, so the risk of confusion is minimal. And if you are interested in stories from the Tang Dynasty, and how they have developed, I am sure Sarah Allen's book is the book for you.

So at present, I am quite keen to go with Shifting Stories. Which raises the question of a subtitle.

The options I am currently considering include:

Shifting Stories: How changing their stories can transform people.
Shifting Stories: How changing their stories can free people to perform
Shifting Stories: How Multistory Development can improve organisational performance.

Which leads to another problem. I have described the approach I explore as a multistory approach, and talk about multistory development. I quite like those labels, as they accurately encapsulate the central idea: that there are many stories available to us about any given reality; and that developing alternative stories is often very helpful.  But some people have said that the image of concrete carparks is a distraction to them.  So I have experimented with other descriptions, most recently the ManyStory approach.  But they don't feel as comfortable to me, so I am minded to go back to multistory.

So this post is really a request for feedback on any of these: let me know your views either via comments, on twitter, or by email. I will be most grateful.

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