What Is A Business Fable, And Can I Have One?

Michael Levin
2 min readNov 8, 2021


A business fable is a story that illustrates ideas in a memorable way, creating distinctiveness for the author.

I’ve written dozens of business fables over the years, and I find these days I’m doing more and more of them.

People like stories.

We like to create meaning to understand a chaotic world, and from time immemorial, humans have told themselves and others stories, in order to make sense of things.

Aesop wrote fables.

Religious writers wrote fables.

The Brothers Grimm wrote fables.

And for the last thirty years, so have American business leaders and people who want to become business leaders.

In some sense, people have gotten tired of the Seven This’s or the Nine That’s, of pretty much everything. Instead, people find it much more enjoyable to snuggle up to a story and essentially learn the same lessons.

The epitome of the genre is Who Moved My Cheese, which gave a clear, easy-to-understand message that change was inevitable, so get used to it.

That book dates from the 1980s, but even back in the 1920s, banks were using a business fable, The Richest Man In Babylon, to teach people to pay themselves first and live below their means.

And then came Og Mandino in the 1960s with The Greatest Salesman in the World, a classic book on sales which taught his concepts to millions far more effectively than a standard sales textbook could ever have done.

Which brings us to the present moment.

My clients turn to me for business fables, if I may speak briefly about myself, because they know that I have a story background.

I sold the first three novels I ever wrote to Simon & Schuster, sold two more to Penguin/Putnam, saw one become an ABC Disney Movie of the Week, saw another turn into an ABC series after HBO had optioned it, and saw a non-fiction book that was a New York Times Bestseller become optioned by Paramount and Steven Soderbergh.

So they know I have the story writing “chops,” and they know that after having written, published, edited, or created more than 900 business books, I know a little bit about how things work in many corners of the business world.

They also find it extremely enjoyable to talk through the creation of a story that will get their points across and create distinctiveness and uniqueness in their marketplace.

They enjoy the process of collaborating as they receive chapters from me and let me know where they think the story should go from there.

And I love getting responses from strangers who have become clients as a result of their business fables.

So that’s what business fables are, and that’s why I love doing them.

Because they make people happy.

And they give amazing results.

So if you’re wondering if you can still have a business fable, of course, the answer is yes.

And you’ll live happily ever after.



Michael Levin

New York Times bestselling author, Michael has written, planned or edited more than 700 business books, business fables, and memoirs over the past 25 years.