785 of 843 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2005
It seems like much of the efficacy of Ferrazzi's tactics lies in blurring the distinction between the personal and the professional connections. Not even church-going remains sacred.
At what point does a close-knit network become more invaluable than acquaintanceships struck during in-flight snackbreaks? Are 500 people willing to answer your calls (after the umpteenth time you've attempted to ambush them on the phone during their off hours) really an asset? Readers should keep in mind that one will not be able to fool all of the people all of the time with false pretenses of friendship. Ferrazzi's work would be more effective if he differentiated between intensities of friendship and the tactics most appropriate for each.
Further difficulties include:
-Networking Plan of Action (unfortunately acronymed NAP) includes scarcely a page of information about how to construct one.
-The arguments are often internally inconsistent: receiving an invitation to a 15 min coffee break is an affront, while sending one tops the personal arsenal list. Katharine Graham is eulogized as a champion of both "somebodies" and "nobodies." Yet Ferrazzi's lists of "people he'd like to meet" and his incessant extolling of the virtues of name-dropping seems to indicate "nobodies" are nobodies in his book. Finally, the distinction between a "networking jerk" and commendable behavior is, at best, subtle.
-For an individual so concerned with connectedness, it is curious that a bibliography or appendix of suggested reading is entirely absent.
May I suggest:
*How to Win Friends and Influence People: soft skills development
*Big Fish (a novel of "mythic proportions" by Daniel Wallace): a more sympathetic view on spin, for contemplating your own self-marketing plan or why Ferrazzi really left Deloitte.
*The Tipping Point: Chapter 2 is a more rigorous exploration of the roles the uber-connected play in social networks.
300 of 336 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The book isn't that bad, but it isnt worth buying with so many other masters out there writing about how to get it done. Here's what's wrong....
First, it's billed as "revolutionary" concepts which I found to hardly be true. Almost evey idea was something that I've read in a Covey, Mackay, Peters, etc book. Recycled.
Further, he's so proud of his accomplishments it becomes exhausting to keep up with all the great things KF did in his life.
Finally, he writes often about how he was from poor, underprivileged family and he had nothing but his "revolutionary" concepts to break him into The Club. I believe it at first, until he started (and then repeated) to tell the reader about how he went to a private elementary and HS, then to Yale and Harvard BS. He was IN the club from first grade - hardly a life course that demonstrated how unique and terrific his practices were.
76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2005
For all the five-star reviews that are going to pop up here in the next few days, be cognizant that the author of this book is a master networker, and is adept at calling in favors. What follows is an unbiased look at the book.
The author's message is simple yet powerful: Everything you do in life is enabled by others. The more people you know, the more you are capable of, and the more you are capable of helping others. The power of your network goes up exponentially with the number of relationships and with the strength of those relationships. Anyone who thinks that success is based solely on merit is sadly delusional.
The advice and techniques he gives are broken out by chapter. Some are insightful and useful, such as discovering what's important to people and finding ways to help them, how to work conferences, and how to connect with other well-connected people. Others are questionable from a style standpoint, and seem to serve as a boastful review of the author's own methods, such as his extravagant dinner parties, or interrupting a conversation midstream in order to call someone who is relevant to the current topic. He also emphasizes constant emailing and calling just so you don't fall off someone's radar, even if you have nothing to say to that person except "I exist". How annoying.
The book gets 3 stars for being important and relevant. It gets another for getting down and dirty in the details of connecting with people. It doesn't get the fifth star for being verbose, sometimes repetitive, and for taking such an extreme stance when most of us are mere networking mortals. At its core, the ideas in this book are incredibly valuable, once you adapt them to your own personality.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Never Eat Alone is a rare, detailed glimpse into how those with no special access can connect to those they want to meet. For many people who are good at connecting, this activity becomes a way of life. It's a profession and a hobby. As such, connecting can become all consuming. Many will find that aspect of Mr. Ferrazzi's story to be unattractive. But I found his candor in this regard to be refreshing.
If you step back from his enthusiasm for connecting, the mental attitudes and processes he describes are just what everyone needs to use who wants to be better connected and accomplish more.
All of us know more than any one of us. If you take two equally talented young people in any field, the one who is better at connecting will live a more successful life than one who tries to go at everything as a lone ranger.
I have known dozens of master connectors. They all do some variation of what Mr. Ferrazzi describes in this book. Here is how I would distill those lessons:
1. Decide who you want to meet to further your objective of accomplishing more.
2. Learn more about the person.
3. Find what you can do to help that person in an area where they care.
4. Develop a strategy to meet briefly face to face.
5. Share what you want to do to help when you meet.
6. Stay in touch with more ways to help.
7. Attend events where other master connectors attend and link into fields which are not naturally yours by becoming acquainted with these master connectors.
8. Study those who are very good at this.
If you keep in mind the sheer pleasure of making a difference as you do this, you'll soon be a superb connector. I recommend undertaking this task on behalf of something you are passionate about such as a charity you support.
One of the best parts of this book is that Mr. Ferrazzi is generous in sharing his mistakes. The world doesn't end for you as a connecting queen or king if you offend a poo-bah. You just pick yourself up and do better next time.
I liked his humility about his limitations in other fields. Peter Drucker would have approved of Mr. Ferrazzi's decision to work on what he has a talent and love for, connecting, rather than try to become more competent at things that are difficult and unpleasant for him . . . like quantitative analysis. The story about how he got his start at Deloitte is worth the price of the book.
Another strength of the book can be found in the excellent description of why people find President Clinton to be so compelling in person.
Skip books about networking and relationship building. Read Never Eat Alone instead!
205 of 242 people found the following review helpful
I'm a naturally shy person and I've always hated the concept of "networking." Everyone I know that practices it in the commonly accepted sense is a complete jerk. This book, however, addresses the true power behind networking; building actual relationships. I would probably give the book 4.5 stars, since too much of it is devoted to name dropping, but this small flaw does not detract from the value of the book. Mr. Ferrazzi takes the approach of building meaningful relationships with others, even when time is short. He doesn't advocate carpet bombing a room with your business cards or hanging out with people you despise as a means of getting ahead. I appreciate the fact that the author came from humble beginnings and was able to reach such heights in the world of business. There are several practical approaches that are discussed in this book that can be of help to both extroverts and the relatively introverted.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2006
He really has something to say, but he stresses too much on his personal accomplishments. The book seems to me very egocentric. He is also very subjective and ambiguous in some of his maxims. Sometimes I had the feeling that this book is part of his networking tools, using it to promote himself and friends. But there is good information in this book; you just have to bear with the style to extract it.
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2005
As Edward von Kloberg III, a flamboyant lobbyist who did public relations for the most notorious dictators, would say, "Shame is for sissies."
This book proposes shameless use of friends and connections to get power and influence.
Some of the tips are plain silly while others are useful. If you eliminate the names of the rich and famous that are meant to impress us, the book could be reduced to pamphlet size.
Save your money. Like others have noted, the favorable reviews are probably from Ferrazzi's connections in pay-back.
65 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2005
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
In my own life, it occurred to me that I have difficulty staying in contact with people I know and reaching out to people I don't know. I want to do these things without being a smarmy, conniving, smily sycophant. Then I see the author on the Today show saying he could show me how to do these things and maintain my integrity too! Looks like he was just using his book's tactics to get $20 out of my pocket. It's a most elegant irony that there is actually a chapter on the "networking jerk." The rest of the book will make you exactly that. If he cut out all the self-promoting passages about his own accomplishments, the book would have 1/3 fewer pages. The only words of real wisdom in the book are but common sense that happen to be difficult to put into practice (e.g. Be generous and don't keep score). His real formula is this: Have your Dad get you into a fancy prep school, go to Yale, go to Harvard, latch onto someone with a great idea and become their protege, voila - you're a CEO.
73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2005
While I was reading the book, I actually convinced myself to go the extra mile and keep open lines of communication with random people (albeit, financially/socially powerful) in my naive enjoyment. However, after I finally made it through (its 250+ pgs), I realized that a lot of the content is bogus and not realistic in a "regular" lifestyle (unless your dad fed you into Yale and you cruised your way to a Harvard MBA, and then could afford to finally ask yourself what you actually want to do). I do love how some authors pride themselves on their humble upbringing, but yet somehow acsend to Ivy League undergrad & grad school through a favor. Anyways getting back to my point, do not buy the book - I recommend sitting at Barnes, Borders, etc. and reading the first 60-80 pgs (max). If you're looking for some motivation/tactics of networking, you might find it within that portion. The rest 150+ pgs just beats a dead horse. I'm a slow reader and the small amount of time it takes to hit the first 60 pages isn't worth paying for.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Unfortunately, I bought the CD set, which I believe was narrated by the author. Big mistake. The guy is very enamored with himself and he could have condensed the book (CD) by about 75% and still got the point across.
I worked in Sales at Northwestern Mutual and my company pushed us hard to live by this book. I ended up spending a fortune on lunches and dinners and didn't get quite the amount of business that I had expected. I think the author must have a vested interest in the restaurant business.
I could probably boil it down to one simple concept ... the most effective way to network is to think about how many ways you can give value, provide leads, or be of service to those in your professional network. It's like what President Kennedy once challenged the nation, "Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." The same goes for professional networking and that is what this book is primarily about.
The book will cost you about as much as a meal, and then you will spend thousands of dollars on business meals afterwards. Save yourself the time and money, just be very generous and giving at professional networking events. Try to serve others and though good karma, it will be returned to you.