More Magic of Metaphor

Stories for leaders, influencers, motivators and spiral dynamics wizards

By: Nick Owen


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Products specifications
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Size: 234mm x 156mm
Pages : 368
ISBN : 9781904424413
Format: Paperback
Published: April 2024

In business, if your team were to share the same vision, direction, and values that you do, how much easier would it be to drive your business forward, and create powerful and favourable impressions on your clients?

You and your entire team would be operating as one, moving with confidence and commitment towards a set of common goals.In education, how much more satisfying would your teaching be both for you and your students - if you were able to:

  • explain ideas more easily, more memorably, and more powerfully?
  • create an environment to which all your students wanted to contribute and belong?
  • motivate your students with a desire for life long learning?

Our greatest teachers, artists, and leaders all use varieties of anecdote, story, parable, case history, and metaphor to put across their ‘message’ in powerful and highly memorable ways.

This follow up to Nick’s bestselling The Magic of Metaphor (click here to view title) explores the power of story to inspire, inform, and transform people’s lives. With a particular emphasis on leadership in the very broadest sense of the word, the stories in this collection offer inspiration, inner knowledge, and wisdom. Stories and metaphors are incredibly powerful vehicles through which real change and compassion can be generated in the world, and can be used to influence, motivate, and lead others with elegance and integrity.

Picture for author Nick Owen

Nick Owen

What are we called to do in our lives and how can we discover and express our personal and professional genius and purpose? Not easy questions but Nick has been struggling with and exploring them for himself and with others through his writing, editing, and storytelling, as well as in workshops, seminars and coaching sessions with individuals, educational institutions, professional bodies, organisations, and the arts for the last several decades. These days his primary professional passions catalyse around two areas. Firstly, the development of shared narratives that explore how schools, NGOs, and large organisations would do well to be more fully human, more self-organising and self-managing and less stuck in the old paradigms of autocracy, hierarchy, ego, power and control. Secondly, how can people entering the Third Act of their lives see their future less as a surrender into retirement and more as an opportunity to transition into a generative and creative period of contribution and personal exploration of their life's true purpose? In a whole variety of exciting ways, these two areas are both evolutionary and deeply interconnected.




  1. Everyone loves a story, just as a child is trapped in the moment by his imagination listening to the wonderful words, so can an adult. This book truly brings an array of stories to capture the minds of professionals, without the jargon and business talk. Each story left me to make my mind up of what I thought the metaphor was. Each story leaves you to think for a while, activating the brain to do some work. The book touches upon Ken Wilber's model of “a theory of everything” and Grave's “spiral dynamics”. Truly captivating.

    The author, Nick Owen has used life experiences in collating such amazing stories, the research behind this book is in depth. A very easy to read book, marked under headings with insights. Easy to navigate, a must for those who wish to be uplifted, very witty and clever. Allowing the reader or listener to problem solve. This is a book that I will be pulling out often with clients and friends. A great tool for influencing great mindsets.
  2. Developing themes identified in The Magic of Metaphor this follow up book is particularly relevant to experienced metaphoric storytellers.

    It provides valuable advice on how to use and develop metaphoric stories effectively identifying problems, resources and outcomes.

    Anybody with an interest in therapeutic relationships will find this book engaging and highly relevant to counselling and clinical healthcare practice.
  3. Just like The Godfather Part II, More Magic of Metaphor is better than its predecessor. The simplistic title is its only weakness as it is in fact so much more than Nick Owen's previous book on the uses of storytelling and metaphor.

    This book truly works on a number of levels, with lessons and insights embedded within both the storytelling process and the content itself.

    On a simplistic but wholly useful level, we are presented with 60 stories which people can use to inspire themselves and others around them. These are grouped and structured so that leaders and motivators can choose an appropriate tale to make their point or, better still, create their own variant, drawing on the author's insights and notes on each area.

    For individuals who want more depth, each story is analysed for its potential for leaders, influencers and motivators. There is also a guide to how the stories can help us develop and improve the way we relate to the world around us.

    In the hands of another author, these ingredients may make for all overcomplicated, theoretical tome, but Nick Owen is a master in the use of metaphor, and he effortlessly weaves the elements together. As he says in the introduction when referring to his influences in this book, the metaphors are not the truth, but another useful way of looking at reality.

    There is one final flourish which will endear the book to an even larger audience than intended. We are introduced to, and led through, each story and episode by a Harry Potteresque Learner and his Magic Assistant. This is a masterstroke as it not only captures a timeless but contemporary genre ” fantasy - but also allows the reader to learn and interpret meaning along with our Learner, rather than being lectured to by the Master. I, for one, was spellbound.
  4. This delightful book not only presents some great stories but it also does this in a graceful, elegant way. The commentaries are as illuminating as the stories themselves. And they are systematically related to a strong model of six stages of development, from which to read the stories, and a two-by-two model of individual and collective of exterior and interior. This is an useful and inspiring book.
  5. I reviewed Nick Owen's previous book The Magic of Metaphor in Organisations & People vol. 10.3, and concluded that it was a great introduction to the art of storytelling and also a great resource of stories. This companion work is subtitled Stories for Leaders, Influencers and Motivators which suggests a departure in focus from the original which was directed towards Teachers, Trainers and Thinkers. This is not the only change in focus.

    The book devotes a lot of space and effort in intertwining the stories to two models ” Spiral Dynamics and Ken Wilber's ” A Theory of Everything”. This makes for an interesting classification, and certainly helps the story line of the book as a whole ” which is the same Apprentice Magician on a learning journey. But the analysis can also detract from the stories themselves for someone who is not interested or sceptical about these theories. Is this a book on Spiral Dynamics and Wilber's theory of everything, or about the stories themselves and storytelling, or about leadership, influencing and motivating? I felt it sometimes lost its way.

    That said, it can be read at a number of levels, as Nick himself points out in the introduction. It is to his credit that he did not just write another collection, but has chosen to re-focus and re-direct his theme to influencing, motivation and leadership. For those who are interested in the stories and storytelling alone, then the explanatory information is in his previous book, Magic of Metaphor, and there is a great collection of 60 diverse and interesting stories to then add to the collection. My own disappointment was that there were only 60 stories as opposed to the 77 in the first book, and that we could have had more stories and less discussion. But that is only taking one level of the book.

    The next level is for those wishing to investigate the themes of influencing, motivation and leadership. For this the journey of the Apprentice and his magic carpet guide explores learning around the key attributes of leaders and some of the contrasting roles they perform: The Integral Leader; The Pragmatic Leader; The Present and Aware Leader; The Leader who has Integrity; The Leader who takes Personal Responsibility; The Contributing Leader; and The Leader as Change Agent. The stories illustrate the issues facing leaders in different situations, and there is a very useful index of story by theme which will guide you to the metaphor you wish too explore.

    Finally, there is the story of Spiral Dynamics and the work of Ken Wilber that runs throughout the book. This is a story about values and change, human nature and meaning making, using the work of psychologist Clare Graves on Levels of Existence and the writings of Don Beck and Chris Cowan. It is a useful introduction to these theories and their application, and the Appendices give good summaries of the ideas.

    As I mentioned earlier, I found the three parallel structures a little confusing at times, and, personally, I would have welcomed more stories and less discussion. But that is just a personal bias, overall this is a book which adds to the knowledge bank in each of the three areas on which it is focused.
  6. In the world of business and engineering, leaders who are influencers and motivators have always been around to ensure that creativity and innovation exist in their environment. However our greatest teachers all use varieties of anecdote, story parable and metaphor to put across their message in powerful and highly memorable ways.

    The follow up to Nick Owen's first book, The Magic of Metaphor, uses story-telling to convey important lessons of leadership and motivation that arise in the everyday experiences of working life. The book explores the power of a story to inspire, inform and transform people's lives in seven sections and three comprehensive appendices where the psychological theory of how leaders and motivators do their job is discussed.

    The first three sections are used to put the overall story in context and are told from the point of view of the student learning from a wise master. The book also uses an original colourful differentiation for each personality type, which allows the reader to introspect and relate to the situations of the stories.

    The book is a wonderful representation of the knowledge and skills required for successful leadership and motivation in the style of interesting, inspiring parables.
  7. More metaphors (60), carefully adapted to leadership at all levels, make this book a useful one to add to any trainer's toolkit who is serious about leadership. Elegant tales from gardening to “chatting up young girls” illustrate the leadership and life principles embedded in the text, and show where one might go to find out
  8. Our greatest teachers, artists and leaders all use story and metaphor to put across their message in powerful and highly memorable ways. This follow up to Nick Owen's popular The Magic of Metaphor explores the power of stories to inspire, inform and transform people's lives. With a particular emphasis on leadership, the stories in this collection aim to offer inspiration, inner knowledge and wisdom. Presented as a metaphorical journey of discovery, the book explores the nature of leadership in everyday life and provides effective tools for influencing, motivating and leading others with elegance and integrity.
  9. Nick Owen has done it again! This time, he's woven Spiral Dynamics into an accessible format via the medium of stories and metaphors about leadership, motivation and influence from a wide variety of sources draw from every continent and spanning 5,000 years of man development and emergence. Foreword by Chris Cowan. A valuable tool to add stories and metaphor to your programs.
  10. Having reviewed the first of Nick's books on stories, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised in the manner in which he 'tackled' the second round. To me this book is very focused on specific characteristics that are found in different leaders which makes it compelling for speakers and presenters of any industry. I am very much into colour, colour psychology and learning with colour so to have a colour guide to each story and the qualities of leadership was for me an excellent way in which to connect with the paging through of stories to find what I would like to use. I believe that this book is a lot more mature and powerful than the first one because it meets the needs of people who use communication in business, education, politics and other industries where the primary success will always be to make a point effectively and efficiently.
  11. It will definitely appeal to many different professionals such as teachers, managers and coaches. The colour differentiation for each personality type was quite original and it certainly gave everyone an opportunity to introspect and relate to the situations of the stories. It was so fun and easy to read that it was difficult to put it down.

    I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading his next book. Let's hope he writes one soon!
  12. In this second volume in the Magic of Metaphor series we are treated to more of Nick Owen's collected teaching tales. Further to the first volume, the stories are connected by a meta-story that runs through the whole book. Not only being a collection of very interesting and inspiring stories, the book begins with a short explanation of Ken Wiber's model of “a theory of everything”, Grave's “spiral dynamics” (which appears loosely based on Leary's 8 circuit model and Maslow's hierarchy) and the influencer vs. manipulator dichotomy.

    These models help us deconstruct the stories and help point to their potential usefulness as well as offering likely interpretations of the messages contained within each parable. Very usefully, a small alternative-contents page lists the stories by theme allowing you to pick certain stories out that explicate various attributes, so if I want a story that shows a single minded trailblazer it tells which stories have elements of this in them.

    The book finishes with a few very interesting small sections detailing our useful models, spiral dynamics and “everything' more closely, examining perspective-shifts within these frameworks, a distillation of the qualities of great motivators and influencers.

    I found this book to be a bit of a rarity, very useful yet very user-friendly, quite acceptable bedside table material. It will appeal to everyone.
  13. Nick Owen's More Magic of Metaphor is the follow up to his previously published The Magic of Metaphor. Nick is clearly a lover of stories and in the preface even categorises each story according to what he considers to be its relevant theme. In section one of the book Nick discusses how the use of metaphor can produce a whole range of useful outcomes and this chapter is appropriately called Preparations I especially liked the opening sections where he introduces the story of the young magician, but some who read this may feel that the author has suddenly leapt from one train of thought to another by writing in this manner! Personally I like the author's use of humour and he obviously has a good grasp of the principals of NLP, which he displays throughout this book.

    The layout of the book is extremely good and each chapter is well presented with a combination of explanation, storytelling with the author denoting coloured flags to determine what he considers to be core values. These values include survival, safety/belonging, assertiveness, order/authority, experiment to win and consensus/harmony. This approach is taken from the field of Spiral Dynamics and this is the point in the book where some readers may become frustrated in how the emphasis and direction of the book has shifted form simply storytelling towards this new type of categorisation. Those who embrace the concept of Spiral Dynamics will find this introduction congruent to the book's title, those who don't, may be less forgiving, especially if they were expecting a continuation of Nick Owen's The Magic of Metaphor which is simply a collection of 77 stories.

    In conclusion I enjoyed this book and would recommend it with the provision that the reader be aware that this book is not simply a collection of stories.

    Nick Owen provides an excellent choice of tales from many great authors including Sun Tzu, Sidney Rosen and Robert Dilts, which ensures that the reader's interest is focussed on the central theme of leadership.
  14. Teachers tell motivational stories all the time"in assembly, usually "to make points and teach values". They should, then, welcome a book that's entirely concerned with the idea of motivational storytelling and with the substance"the stories themselves. There are 60 of them, illustrating a long list of leadership themes.

    The stories often have an ancient-world feel: “A warship from the Athenian navy was lost at sea, far from land-¦” (Why was it lost? Because it had been run as an Athenian democracy, with long meetings about every decision. In the end they all died for want of expert assertiveness.)

    Yes, it's a good story, adapted from Plato. A secondary head would use it, and most of the others, in assembly. Whether school leaders will also tell them"as is the intention"for professional motivation and development, is something else. It's difficult to imagine a head of department, for example, starting a meeting with the words: “Hrethic the warrior, commander of the Saxon armies, sat on a roughly sawn stool in the centre of his war tent.”

    Maybe it's because, for teachers, storytelling smacks too much of assembly and thus of being patronised or talked down to. It's a matter of distance, too. A school leader is close to the team (often, it's almost like a family relationship); using metaphor presupposes a certain distance between the teller and the listener.

    Still, the stories are good, and the links to the leadership principles well made, and that makes it a good read.
  15. Put away your stuffy management textbooks. There's a new way to find out how to achieve results with people ” inspire and inform them, make them happy and fulfilled.

    This soft back book has a subtitle of “Stories for Leaders, Influencers and Motivators” and once you've picked it up you'll find it hard to put down as you just want to read what comes next. Presented in a metaphorical journey of discovery the book explores the nature of leadership in everyday life and provides effective tools for influencing, motivating and leading others with elegance and integrity.

    You won't realise that you're learning how to lead people.
  16. Stories and metaphors help people shift perspective and experience creative insights into new possibilities. They are disarming, and can make a subtle point without confrontation, often working at a subconscious level. But Nick Owen has put together much more than a collection of stories on the theme of leadership.

    This book is a delight to read, and like all the best stories, works on a number of levels. Almost the entire book is presented as a metaphorical journey of discovery exploring the nature of leadership, combining metaphors and stories from around the world and across the centuries. Each is then analysed for its insights, how it relates to value systems and its application in a leadership context. The author explores the concepts of Spiral Dynamics using colour coding to show valuing and thinking systems, alongside Ken Wilber's 4-box model (Personal, Professional, Team and Infrastructure) as a way of organising thinking which ultimately involves developing an integral awareness of how the whole system fits together with balance and harmony.

    Through metaphor, the author analyses the characteristics of leadership. As a leader, you might use a story to help (a) team member(s) become “unstuck' and progress beyond unhelpful behaviour. You might use it to bring about change in a respectful, efficient and elegant way. Or you may read the stories for your own insight into the value systems at work ” your own, and those of your team. Again, like a good story, apparently simple but actually deceptively complex in structure, this is definitely one of those books to take with you if you're going to be working away, or enduring long train journeys. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to dip into each of the 60 short stories and its accompanying “debrief'. Each brings its own insight ” some are entertaining, some enlightening, a few are perplexing, and as the thorough analysis shows, there's literally “something for everyone'.

    Innovation *****
    Clarity ****
    Content *****
    Value for money *****
  17. This is a very useful resource for any teacher, who, as a result of using this book, will be able to be more effective and efficient, being able to explain ideas and concepts very clearly and memorably.

    The ideas in the book will encourage and enable students to contribute more in the classroom, so that they will feel empowered and have a sense of ownership of their own learning.

    Lifelong learning and continuous professional development are now the cornerstones of any successful students' learning experience. This book provides very sound and interesting underpinning knowledge to enable students ” as well as their teachers ” to become more rounded and knowledgeable individuals.
  18. This is a book is a magical book ” it takes many forms at the same time. It is a source book of ideas and theories about leadership and motivation; it is a guide to the idea of storytelling and how to increase your power as a storyteller. It has a map of the world of the ideas and how they are developing in terms of social and personal values and what this means for people's motivation. The stories themselves inspire and console (leaders often have to be ahead of the game and this can feel lonely at time).

    It taps into the eternal power of stories and storytelling. In the times before writing, knowledge and history relied on the powers of the storytellers ” both to remember what was known and to pass it on clearly and compelling so that the knowledge would be held by future generations. In these days of writing many have forgotten the power of stories. Too often in business language has become abstract and impersonal. It takes many pages and says nothing ” vast quantities of paper created and emailed and more forgotten than remembered. More Magic of Metaphor is a fantastic antidote to this.

    Its structure makes it easy to navigate in these time hungry days ” you can find the bits you need very quickly. For me ease of navigation is one of the key elements of a book that needs to be bought. Too many books assume that there is only one way to read and that is determined by the writer. Like all good storytellers, Nick knows that the story needs to be adapted for, and by, the reader and listener. This is a book you can read and use in many different ways.

    You can read it as a story in its own right. You can use it as a source book for ideas. The stories themselves will inspire thoughts and ideas in your own mind. It has a clear and concise explanation of the complex (and fascinating) theories behind Ken Wilber's work and Spiral Dynamics.

    The 15 rules for good writing alone make it worth buying.

    Those who think that storytelling is something that applies to the past and to children should be aware that the world of work is changing. Generation X and younger have very different views of work. They will not be told what to do and follow instructions. They expect their leaders and managers to communicate with them. And to do so with authenticity and integrity. They expect their managers to engage them and motivate them to participate ” it is a very different model to the old world of command and control. Storytelling will be a key skill; the theories that underpin More Magic of Metaphor will help to explain the changes that are happening.

    It is a book I have enjoyed reading, that I know will be a constant guide and source and one that has begun to inspire stories of my own. Thanks Nick.
  19. I have found a magic well. The first time I drew water it was clean and pure. The next it was clean, pure and ice cold. The next time the pure, ice cold water was drawn and poured for me by a beautiful, dark haired maiden with smooth olive skin. I spend many days travelling and talking to people from all corners of the world - but having found my magic well I know that my throat will never be dry again, and that each visit will be better than the last.
  20. What is good leadership? Nick Owen's new collection of stories gives us a wealth of fresh insight into that question from the new and challenging perspective of metaphor. As well as presenting a fascinating new insight into what makes a good leader, the book is fun, original and inspiring - -˜Entertrainment' at its best.
  21. Nick Owen has consistently led the way in applying the emergent field known as integral education. Here is his best work yet, where readers either new to his work or references can profit immediately by his personalized approach to leadership and education.

    His clear talent is immediately apparent as he explains in significant yet entertaining format the most compelling new approaches, while honoring the deep structures available to us all from archetypal storytellers.

    And what is specifically beneficial both to scholars and practitioners is his “flagging” of each story to its particular Graves' value-memetic marker, as well as its appropriate application to Wilber's 4 quadrants: the singular interior, collective interior, singular objective, and collective objective.

    Those new to or conversant with Ken Wilber's “aqal” map (all quadrants, levels, lines, states and stages of human development) and the Spiral Dynamics representation of meaning-making as propounded by Don Beck and Chris Cowan will find immediate treasures for transformation and growth here.

    Having just returned from Integral Institute's intensive seminar on Integral Business and Organizational Leadership, I could immediately see the relevance of Nick's approach to any leader. Indeed, I did the unforgiveable and skipped right to my archetypal leadership pattern to discover which stories I could utilize in my specific positions.

    So sit back, and try to savor each story as it weaves its magic within.
  22. Stories are so important to individuals and organisations, yet we often take our stories for granted. Nick Owen weaves a spell with stories so elegantly that you have to think about them differently. You can read this book as a collection of fascinating stories, as an intriguing insight into possible interpretations and as a simple explanation of complex models. Understanding stories and how we use them, can enhance your effectiveness, whether you lead from the front or influence behind the scenes.
  23. Story 56 shows the principles of this book in action:

    Nick Owen is giving a plenary on Using Story-telling in Problem Solving. Five minutes into his talk a voice from the back shouts out ” I can't hear you” .

    There is a faulty loudspeaker at the back and fifty people can't hear. Nicks invites them to come down to the vacant seats at the front. No one moves.

    He carries on speaking but the same voice complains again. Nick goes up to the back of the hall so the people up there can hear him without amplification.
    He tells a teenage story about how he used to wish that girls on their way back from school would walk up his garden path, knock on his door and invite him out. None of them did!

    Waiting for others to solve your problems is often ineffective.

    Again he invites the fifty people who cannot hear him down to the seats at the front. This time they come!

    Stories to change beliefs, stories to modify behaviours, stories to help people out of ruts, stories to open up new vistas”“”“”” Nick Owen has provided us with a rich source of short tales we can readily use. Thank you Nick.
  24. Be prepared to run a gamut of emotions as Nick walks you through a beautifully crafted collection of stories, woven together by a guiding narrative. Using two wonderful world theories as a foundation for understanding, Nick has created a magical source book for leaders, therapists, trainers and the curious.
  25. As the person who put Nick to sleep when introducing him to the ideas of Ken Wilber and Clare Graves, I have often felt responsible. This responsibility has now been alleviated by reading this book. Nick has integrated their ideas in a totally unique way. May this be the first of many to integrate the gifts of NLP, SD, and The Enneagram in a truly Integral way. And more great stories to steal!
  26. Nick has combined anecdotes, metaphors and stories from across the world into an exploration of the leader's tool kit. The book is of use both to those already in leadership positions and to those who seek to develop their leadership potential.

    The book is a journey through time and space as Nick explores both eastern and western leadership heritage. More Magic of Metaphor is thought provoking and inspirational; it enables and supports learning, exploration and growth in both the reader and in the wider team.
  27. What a treat it was to receive this book. Having enjoyed and used Magic of Metaphor extensively, I was expecting the delightful stories. I was also pleased to be reaquainted with the Apprentice Magician in the linking story, which brings a level of metaphorical explanation. This time he goes on a quest for stories about leadership, with a magic carpet as a companion and guide. What I hadn't expected was the bonus of Spiral Dynamics ” the psychological model developed by Professor Clare Graves ” and Ken Wilber's “Theory of Everything'. The result is a rich exploration of leadership, influence and motivation ” and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
  28. Nick weaves all of these threads into a beautiful story, a journey, full of adventure and discovery that follows the developing relationship between a wise elder and his young companion. Once I turned the first page, and took the first step, I was spellbound; you will be too.

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