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Five Stars: The Communication Secret to Get from Good to Great – Carmine Gallo

1st May 2023
five stars book cover


Five Stars is a book about the art of persuasion. The author claims this book is the solution to the mismatch between human skills and computers. I have read one of the author’s previous book, Talk Like TED, a long time ago and stumbled upon this book in the bookstore. Thus, I would like to refresh my memory and see if there is something new here.


Carmine Gallo is a Harvard instructor, keynote speaker, and CEO communication coach for the world’s most admired brands.


Five Stars contain an introduction (Rise Up!), 16 chapters and a conclusion (Find the Tune That Makes Your Heart Sings)

The chapters are divided into 3 parts.

Part 1 is Why Great Communicators Are Irreplaceable and has 4 chapters:

1) Party, Power, and Moonshots

2) Winning the War of Ideas

3) Aristotle Was Right and Neuroscience Proves It

4) The Human Capacity to Dream Big

Part 2 is Who’s Earned Five Stars and is made up of 5 chapters:

5) The Scientists

6) The Entrepreneurs

7) The Professionals

8) The Leaders

9) The TED Stars

Part 3 is How to Get from Good to Great and contains 7 chapters:

10) The Pathos Principle

11) The Three-Act Storytelling Structure

12) Deliver the Big Picture

13) Smart Words Make the Grade

14) How to Give Your Ideas “Verbal Beauty”

15) Leonardo, Picasso, and You

16) Conquer the Fear that Holds You Back


In Five Stars, the author thinks that persuasion is the fundamental skill to get from good to great in the ages of ideas which we are living in.

Ideas built the modern world and the power of ideas will build the world of tomorrow. But ideas need advocates to argue for them and evangelists to spread them so they can be built upon each other.

In the age of digital, we need to realise that there is a person on the other end of the data. The chief skills to excel in 21st century are critical thinking and effective communication. Average is comfortable and complacent but average simply is not good enough to stand out in the current age.

The reason that change or novel ideas are hard to effect is humans are biased to maintain the status quo. Leadership is creating an idea and convincing others that it matters and will solve a challenge. Convincing others requires us to communicate the idea and it must be done in an effective way to capture their attention.

To lead effectively, set a common goal. It is easier to rally a team around one common goal than to split their attention. The attributes of a great leader include combining great ideas and communicating those ideas effectively. Successful leaders make people feel like winners, making them feel good about themselves. To build effective workplaces, the keys are experience and emotional interactions with leaders and teammates.

Five Stars is all about the tools of persuasion. The end goal of persuasion is to use language to encourage both speaker and audience to flourish and to find happiness. Persuasion requires logos (logic), ethos (credibility) and pathos (emotion). The emotion part is what the author emphasises in this book.

Humans remember emotional components of an experience and the big picture, so use these 2 to make an impression or grab attention. Aristotle believed emotion should guide our decisions, provided the emotion we experience is the appropriate one.

Read Part 3 if you just want to learn the skills. The chapters in this part all end with Five-Star Principles which are 3 bullet points to summarise the chapter. One of the points is straightforward prose is average; use analogies to stand apart.

Overall, this book refreshes my memory of giving a good presentation. The idea of 3 points has stuck with me and it is also mentioned in this book. If you would like to polish your presentation or leadership skill, this book will be a godsend.

One sentence summary for Five Stars: Passion and ability to persuade are 2 ingredients for success.


  1. Machines don’t have a heart; storytellers do.
  2. The world we live in today was not built brick by brick but idea on idea.
  3. Periods of great enrichment come at the expense of great disruption.
  4. Facts don’t launch careers; stories do. Facts don’t launch movement; stories do.
  5. We can’t manage fear if we don’t face our fears.


3 out of 3 stars

Interested in Five Stars?

You may get the book from through the links below*.

Get the book from Shopee Malaysia here

*Disclosure: The above link is affiliate link. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through the link.


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