Sunday, September 21, 2014

Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

Title:  Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
Author:  Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz
Publication Information:  Crown Business. 2014 (expanded edition). 400 pages.
ISBN:  0385346654 / 978-0385346658

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through Edelweiss free of cost in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Blogging for Books!

Favorite Quote:  "How much you give to the people you come into contact with determines how much you'll receive in return. In other words, if you want to make friends and get things done, you have to put yourself out to do things for other people - things that require time, energy, and consideration."

In its narrowest interpretation, Never Eat Alone is a book about networking. In the broadest interpretation, it is a philosophy of life.

With an undergraduate education at Yale and a business degree from Harvard Business School, Keith Ferrazzi began his career by becoming the youngest partner ever at Deloitte and Touche. He has gone on to be named one of the "most connected" people in the world by Forbes and one of the top "40 under 40" leaders by Craig's business. The author's credentials are presented in the first chapter of the book, and he uses examples from his own life throughout.

Never Eat Alone was first published in 1995; this new edition includes updates for the age of social media and enormous amounts of digital information. The book is organized into five sections:
  • Mindset - the focus on creating value and relationships that are mutually beneficial.
  • Skill Set - specific steps to building and expanding your network, ranging from research and cold calls to conference techniques and super connectors.
  • Turning connections into compatriots - discussion of human psychological needs and the role they play in building relationships.
  • Connecting in the digital age - strategies for effective networking in the digital age and for the effective use of social media.
  • Trading up and giving back - the idea of continuing to grow and expand your network with recognition that everyone will do this on a different level based on what each individual's goal is.
Short insets throughout the book present profiles of individuals in the author's "Connectors' Hall of Fame" - individuals who can be used as case studies in effective network building. The examples range from the Dalai Lama to Dale Carnegie.

What I really appreciate about this book is the fact that its focus is on building relationships that are mutually beneficial. "Connecting is a philosophy of life, a worldview. Its guiding principle is that people, all people, every person you meet, is an opportunity to help and be helped."  In that sense, this is part business book and part a self-help book. The tools and strategies presented can and should be used in the business, but they truly can be used in different aspects of our lives. No matter what we do, relationships are often at the heart of it. "In the end, we all live one life. And that life is all about the people we live it with."

The book tackles head on the bad reputation that "networking" has gotten. With chapters like "The Networking Jerk" and "Warming the Cold Call", the book presents the route to networking that you don't want to take. It draws the distinction between "networking" and "connecting - sharing my knowledge and resources, time and energy, friends and associates, and empathy and compassion in a continual effort to provide value to other, while coincidentally increasing my own." The descriptions of the "networking jerk" are amusing to read, while you nod your head in agreement.

The book is very easily and quickly read; the skills usable. It recognizes that not everyone will take network building to the expansive level that Keith Ferrazzi has, but it presents the strategies that can be used no matter what your goal. The author's website has Free Resources to accompany this book.

The bottom line reason that the book resonates with me is that I have always been a believer in that the good you put out into the world comes back to you and that everyone you meet in life has the potential to teach you something. The philosophy behind this book relies on those two principles. Thus, it works with my world view.

At the end of the day, you can read all the books you want. You can do all the theoretically learning possible. You can follow all the experts. The question still remains ...

"Can you walk the talk? It's easy for someone to say, 'I care about people I believe in helping and being helped. I believe that helping people become healthy or make money or raise successful children is paramount in life.' Many people say those things - but then you see their actions, you hear about them from their own networks, and you discover they really don't believe any of it. You can be sure your network will broadcast your true colors very quickly and with lasting effects to all its members."

The choice is yours. Always has been. Always will be. If you make the choice, this book has the framework to implement it.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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