Seven years after I used the metaphor in a speech, a perfect stranger reminded me of ‘The Pie Man and the Guru.’ It was my picture-story summary of the difference between an amateur and an expert, delivered in story-form from the stage.

The proverbial ‘pie-man’ has to tap customers on the shoulder, one by one. The ‘guru’ does not. Speaking from the hillside, he creates followers, and they come to him. That has been the cornerstone of everything I teach about expert positioning.

It’s amazing how a metaphor can live on in the mind, long after numbers or charts have faded to neural insignificance.

I’m reading a book by Seth Godin this week, and he excels at it: ‘How tall is your daisy?’ ‘Have you lined up your doors?’ ‘Who populates your tribe?’ The man wields meaningful metaphors with unabashed ease.

It’s a timely reminder, as I write my newest book for Penguin, that the most poignant way to communicate concepts is in the form of metaphors. It’s like lacing the pages with tiny IED’s, set to explode on contact with the mind.

Could your ideas live on in the minds of strangers, even a decade after the fact? Turn them into metaphors, and they just might. Capture something a little magical, and you could own your industry.

Douglas Kruger is a bestselling author with Penguin, and a professional speaker. Meet him at