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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2008
The authors start out with the premise that although networking is proven to be valuable in business, it is still rarely taught in business schools.

The book begins with a self-analysis test to help determine one's networking skills. Topics and assignments are broken down into 52 weeks, with spaces in some of the chapters for you to write in the book as you do that week's assignment. (Not every week has a writing area, so you may want to keep a separate notebook or keep notes and action steps on a Blackberry/PDA.)

It could almost be called Networking for Dummies or for Introverts or even for Clueless. I say that because the book addresses so many topics that brought some former co-workers and bosses to mind. MANY people who are in business at various levels could be helped by networking, but are not born schmoozers or networkers, and don't know where to begin.

This book charts out one of the simplest game plans for success that I've seen in quite awhile. It is not all new knowledge, but it is all in one place, so you can check off your progress and see what the next step is for growing your skills and your business. The plan is simple, but not always easy. As the authors say, it's netWORKing, not netEATing or netSITTing.

Topics included may require major changes or just minor tweaks to a person's life. Examples are: being accountable to a group, writing thank you notes, being engaging, writing a press release, getting and giving referrals, following up, being a change agent, becoming an expert, and more.

Recommended for complete wallflowers and introverts who may even know but don't ever DO. It's also good for extroverts and "self-made" individuals who think they are the best networkers in the world but who need refinement and more focus on others than just their own abilities and personality.

Terrific reference book to use and refer back to again and again.
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on August 4, 2008
52 wonderful succinct ways to improve your business through word of mouth networking. Each of these also has an effective call to action at the end to help you put to use the advice just given. How many times have you read a good explanation of what to do, but were not sure of how to implement the tactic. The 29% solution not only give great advice on improving your business, but also provides instructions for putting the advice into action. This book goes beyond all the other networking books. For those businesses that can improve with word of mouth marketing, this book is a must read.
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on June 25, 2009
Years ago when I first started to realize how important it was to be connected I just went at it willy nilly - trying to meet everyone. Now I see that there is much more to it than that. You should set out to do networking with a plan. You should know not just the why, but the how to go about it and realize how to focus on getting people into your circle who can help you to move forward.

Ivan Misner and Michelle Donovan should almost call this book Networking 101, but I would imagine that this title has been taken already. Instead they named it The 29% Solution: 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies after the successful participant of the famous Six Degrees of Separation experiment many years ago. Ivan Misner is world famous for being the founder if the global business networking group Business Networking International, or BNI as it is commonly known. He also has a doctorate and has been a professor of Business Administration in southern California for a number of years, so he writes from authority. And although this is her first book, Michelle Donovan is known in business circles as "The Referability Expert" and has been in the networking business for some time in the western Pennsylvania area so she is no stranger to the networking game herself.

My first comment of the review has to do with the fact that Misner and Donovan start from the premise that the reader knows absolutely zilch about business networking so they set out to give the reader the advice and tools that will be needed to get off the ground and get within the 29% networking group. For instance they made sure that you know there is a very big distinction between a contact and a connection and why this distinction should be meaningful to you. In this sense of taking the beginner by the hand I believe the book really does a great job. For some of us who have been at the networking game for some time lots of the material could be second nature, but there was still some advantage to going through this. The authors offer more than advice but they also offer their vast experience. All of the information I saw that they put out is very practical and would be the same kind of information that I would offer myself to wall flowers who need help.

On top of this there were tips in there that many of us more experienced networkers could use and incorporate into our own business practices - so that alone would be worth the price of the book for the non-beginners. The book had a very holistic view of the nature of constantly working at expanding one's circles and I can't see anything wrong with that.

Before I finish with this I will say that I did appreciate that the authors did not take this subject as a one way street. In order to properly network, they assert, you need to put in to the network as well, otherwise it is like trying to drive a car with no gas. There was a great example in the book about periodically just letting people know that you can help them with other contacts even when this had no relation to you. They showed in one case how this really turned the flow on for one networker with inquiries starting to flood inbound as well. Now that's what I like to see! Why, because the authors were very correct in this assessment: This is how networking really works!
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on April 15, 2014
To be fair I haven't finished the book yet but I've found it to generally be just blah. It's ok but I wouldn't recommend it. The author takes the basics of networking and make you believe that they are his novel ideas (i.e. net-WORKING takes work...it's not net-SITTING or net-EATING, etc). The title and premise behind the book's title are also weak...you can become part of the 29% that is separated by just six degrees. Also, the chapter layout and organization doesn't necessarily flow well. To sum it up...there are many better books out there about networking and I'd pass on this book. If you do pick up a copy look at the chapter topics and go through those chapters that interest you...don't start at the beginning and work your way through because it's just not necessary. Again, I'm not finished with the book and if my opinion changes I'll be back to change/revise my review here.
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on October 26, 2008
I have long been a believer of the power of effective networking. And, in the tough times we are encountering as a nation, I believe that effective networking will be even more important.

Ivan Miser, one of the county's leading authorities on networking, has collaborated with Michelle Donovan to write what I believe to be one of the best books in networking that has ever been written.(My other favorite is "Click" by George Fraser.)

I liked everything about the book...a lot...except for the title which is a case of copyrighting seemingly gone amuck. And to think that the subtitle doesn't even explain the mystery of the title. YUK!

But, get past the title and get on with the substance of the book and this book is an absolute gem. Jam packed with solid information, wonderful tips, and even helpful exercises.

Like some of the best things in life, there is no magic pill to effective networking. This point is reinforced by the central organization of the book into a year-long program to build networking effectiveness.

In turbulent times, being a silo, or a lone wolf, just is not going to cut it. I highly recommend that all professionals buy this book, follow the program and become one of the 29% who are separated from the rest of the world by just six degrees. (Ah yes, there is at least some rationale to the title.) Even more importantly than being part of that dubious group, by following this program you will increase the likelihood that you will have the relationships to help you prosper in tough times.
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Others have their reasons for holding this book in such high regard. Here are three of mine. First, in collaboration with Michelle R. Donovan, Ivan Misner has devised a 52-week framework within which to launch and then develop a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective (i.e. time-effective) construction program by which to build a network of mutually beneficial relationships. A primary strategic objective is assigned to each week and all are located within a logical sequence. For example, in Section One: Create Your Future,

Week1: Set Networking Goals
Week 2: Block Out Time to Network
Week 3: Profile Your Preferred Client
Week 4: Recruit Your Word-of-Mouth Marketing Team
Week 5: Give to Others First
Week 6: Create a Network Relationship Database
Week 7: Master the Top Ten Traits (See Pages 45-48)

Section Two: Expand the Network (Weeks 8-14)
Section Three: Go the Extra Mile (Weeks 15-20)
Section Four: Get Value for Your Time (Weeks 21-28)
Section Fuve: Control Your Communication (Weeks 29-33)
Section Six: Become the Expert (Weeks 34-41)
Section Seven: Capture Your Success Stories (Weeks 38-41)
Section Eight: Do What Others Don't (Weeks 42-52)

This program requires a substantial commitment of time and effort to achieve the specific goals (whatever they are) and, meanwhile, to establish a sound foundation of current (constantly updated) contact information and vigorous (constantly nourished) relationships. The framework is sound. It remains for each reader to provide the specifics within it.

I also admire how skillfully Misner integrates what are frequently separate and disconnected functions: customer relations and prospecting. True, salespersons for years have constructed and updated segmented databases and scheduled meetings with past and current as well as prospectuve clients. Computer software improves each year and online resoures create almost unlimited oppirtunities to obtain, evaluate, refine, and modify information. What Misner offers is a mindset that is relevant both customer relations and prospecting but only after certain modifications, of course. He offers an abundance of information, insights, and suggestions that will help almost anyone to maximize the success of both customer service and prospecting, and by "success" I mean strengthening the relationship with each. With regard to core concepts, these are worth keeping in mind:

1. No one you already know is unimportant.
2. No one you meet by chance is unimportant.
3. At any one time, at least some of them need what you offer.
4. Find out what others need and do all you can to be helpful.
5. Learn what you need to know to become a referral source for others.
6. They know others who need what you offer.
7. Help them to understand what they need to know to become a referral source for you.

Misner offers an abundance information, insights, and suggestions that will help almost anyone to maximize the success of both customer relations and prospects and by "success" I mean strengthening the relationship with each.

Finally, I admire the direct and personal rapport that Misner immediately establishes and then sustains through the entire 52-chapter narrative. Each of those who read this book will feel that he wrote specifically for her or him. As readers flesh out the framework with various specifics (e.g. goals, tactics, contact information, appointment schedule, sales and marketing collateral), they will create a one-of-a-kind operations manual for netWORKing succecs, in collabortation with Misner and Donovan.
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on September 4, 2008
Networking is an idea whose time has come and yet is still done poorly. It's not so much that people lack the will. It's that they lack a way to do it effectively so they get the most from the time and money they spend on it.

This book is all you need to go from a novice to an expert in the main business development skill for the next decade.

Misner's book is eminently readable and usable. It makes sense, feels right and is doable.

I know the majority of us don't have the perseverence to follow through on new approaches or programs to improve our lives. I urge you not to do that with "The 29% Solution." Don't think about it and find excuses to not follow it, just follow this guaranteed program.

As the author of Get Out of Your Own Way at Work Get Out of Your Own Way at Work...And Help Others Do the Same: Conquer Self-Defeating Behavior on the Job, a contributor to Fast Company, Harvard Business and Tribune syndicated career columnist I have a fair amount of experience in why people are unsuccessful or successful.

The main reason people are unsuccessful is that they minimize the damage of doing negative and failing to do positive things.

For your own sake, please don't minimize the importance of networking to success AND job security and don't fail to take it seriously enough to learn the skills from this wonderful book to do it well.
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on September 8, 2009
Having been self-employed for nearly 20 years, I thought I knew how to network. Oh how wrong I was. The checklist in the first chapter clearly showed me the many ways I could vastly improve my networking efforts.

I found this book to be comprehensive, chock full of great ideas, and easy to read a chapter or two, then pick it up later and read a few more chapters. This allows the reader to try out a few recommendations at a time, rather than being overwhelmed with an impossible "to do" list. It's very clear, too, laying out for the reader exactly what to do and how to do it. Couldn't be much simpler!

While anyone who needs to do a better job at networking will benefit from applying the knowledge gained from this book, I believe people who are self-employed, who own a small business, or are in business development roles will benefit the most of all. Most of all, I think the reader will be totally persuaded of the benefits of networking the way the authors recommend. I know it has changed my thinking and behavior with regard to networking.

Christine Posti
Marriage On and Off the Rocks: Intimate Stories of Marriages that Made It and Others that Didn't
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on July 25, 2008
Dr.Misner understands the concept of;"Just because you hit the car in front of you..it doesn't mean that you are connected"! Connecting with people..reaching networking success takes effort and a plan. The 29% Solution offers both. There's no "magic pill" when it comes to networking & referral marketing...it's a process Dr. Misner explains like no other.
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on July 25, 2008
A recipe for success! If you want more business then check out this book. Follow these simple strategies and watch your business grow. Success is just around the corner with this book as your tool.
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