I don't think I've ever left an online review for a book before but I couldn't help myself this time. I strongly recommend Ricky's book to anyone who wants to enhance their network. I am not a natural networker. I always felt uncomfortable, stumbling around, and feeling guilty like I was asking people for things. After reading Ricky's book I am a confident networker because my goal is now to bring something of value to the relationship. Now I am looking to build a relationship not ask for something. Ricky clarified for me that the goal of networking is not to get something from someone, but to build a relationship that everyone brings value to. If I get something, great, if I can offer something, even better. I have met Ricky and can tell he is a person of genuine integrity and character.
There are lots of reasons to network; to expand your sales, to look for a job, to grow your business or just to enhance your life by meeting great people. It doesn't matter why you are doing it. If you are networking you owe it to yourself to ready Ricky's book.
Ricky Steele’s The Heart of Networking: Second Edition is a valuable addition to everyone’s business and personal libraries. The practical advice he provides is not only useful for building success in a career and business, but also for building success as a person.
Steele observes, as have I, that the concept of servant leadership plays a major role in the lives of many of Georgia’s successful leaders. By walking into a situation, as Steele says, thinking “What can I offer today to solve this guy’s problems?” as opposed to thinking merely “What merchandise can I sell this guy today?” you create the opportunity for a more productive, long-term relationship where you are seen as a valuable asset, which, in turn, can lead to greater business success.
In addition to providing insight into the value of acting as a servant leader, Steele provides a comprehensive guide to building and maintaining an effective network. While the advice and examples tend to focus on Steele’s experience and efforts in building effective sales relationships, the overall concepts are useful for persons in any field.
The Heart of Networking: Second Edition is a solid, useful reference tool just about everyone. It can be read quickly, but studied endlessly. I strongly recommend adding it to your library.
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The first of what I consider to be a "business" book that I've read was The Tipping Point. Surprisingly, I liked it. So when someone recommended Ricky Steele's The Heart of Networking, I decided to give it a go. Another surprise, I liked it too! It was so readable and interesting that I consumed it in two days. After reading it, I understand why Ricky is a stand out in his community and since reading his book, I've had the honor of meeting him. He is I am glad to say a true reflection of what I imagined after reading his book. In short, I will simply say that if given the power, I would clone him and drop him into that heart of every community in our country. If Ricky and Malcolm Gladwell keep writing, I may become a "business" reader yet!
Ok, I had to come back and edit this review. I just noticed the negative review. It was a direct personal attack and not a review of the book. When you have a personality as large as Ricky's I can understand how some people may consider it fake or self indulgent. I don't believe it, but I can understand someone feeling that way. What I can't understand is that a book about how to network being written by someone who has the strongest personal network I know of in Atlanta being negatively reviewed. Ricky is the real deal and his networking skill is amazing and clear as day to anyone with eyes. I was once at an event where we were running late and the MC had to finally use the microphone to say "If Ricky Steele could stop hugging everybody we could get started". That is the heart of networking people.
I think a personal anecdote might best articulate the power of this book, and Ricky's underlying message.
Within the last week, two different authors have asked me to review their book. The first request came with a personalized email from someone I had volunteered for at a company I believed in, and in at least small way helped reach their current success.
The 2nd request came via a public Tweet I happened to see, from a guy I didn't really know from Adam. So which request was Ricky's? The first, right? Nope.
So why am I spending my Saturday afternoon writing a review for Ricky, and not the other guy? The answer gets to the "heart" of the matter. As Ricky points out on numerous occasions in the book, a gift is something for which you expect nothing in return. I recently reached out to him to congratulate him on a new venture, and welcome him to the local business scene (I run a local networking organization). To my surprise, I received a quick, thoughtful response, and an invitation to stop by his store so he could introduce himself and pass along a free copy of his book. Admittedly, I didn't really care about a free book (though I respect his work), but when I got there he had had it neatly packaged and waiting for me, complete with a thoughtful inscription. It apparently also came with free yogurt, a happy touch. So after meeting him for a brief moment, I sat down to read the book while enjoying my delicious yogurt.
I tore threw the book, stunned to have before my eyes vindication, and inspiration, for the way I aspire to conduct the growth of my business and personal development. As a result, many times while reading I would stop to think, "How can I bring value to Ricky and his network?" How many people can give away a book and have the reader brainstorming on ways to try and pay for it? Remarkable.
The other author? In the course of our relationship, I never felt like he really cared about me as a person, only as a part of a marketing program, that chimed in when something was needed. In that b2c relationship, I felt like I was always being asked to do something.. buy the book.. review the book.. Did he even know if I read it? I'm not sure he cared one way or the other, so long as I said something nice on Amazon. But why should I?
At the end of the day, the "gift" concept is more of a business philosophy and personal attitude than just a one-way transaction. This may be a tale of two authors, but really it's a tale of two approaches to life. You can draw your own conclusions about which one leads to business and personal success.
Stephen Rosenberg, MBA Perfect Pitch Concepts Strategic Web Design & Search Marketing
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In short, Ricky gets it. He recognizes the power of relationships as a prerequisite to any successful business pursuit. As a physician, I appreciate his ability to establish instant connections and make people feel valued. What's more, Ricky models each of the principles he describes in his personal life every day. I have the privilege of knowing Ricky and he gave me this book after we reconnected unexpectedly. What he didn't know was that I was going through a challenging transition personally and professionally, and this was exactly what I needed. His anecdotes which reveal how much he invests in others, with no expectations, helped broaden my perspective and move forward on a path that I am very grateful for now. Ricky is a "professional giver" and he embraces his imperfections with a humor and authenticity that is nothing short of inspiring. Get this book now if you don't have it already - it will be the gift that keeps on giving.
I recently met Ricky and he was kind enough to give me an autographed copy of his book. I had no idea what to expect, as I have been left supremely underwhelmed in similar situations in the past. I graciously accepted the book out of courtesy, having no idea at the time what a treasure I had just been given. I have just finished reading the book, although I doubt I am finished with the information it holds. I read a lot of books, and rarely do I come away after the last page not only glad I read it, but wondering how I made it so long without it. It is not an attempt at flattery to say that Ricky's book was one of the most well-written, but also one of the most professionally meaningful books I have ever read. Just as there is a "top shelf" for distilled spirits, so too, at least in my view, is there a top shelf for books. Ricky Steele has earned a spot on my top shelf beside Carnegie, Covey, Warren, and Platt. This book has the power to not only alter the way you do business, but also to fundamentally change the way you view life. Buy the book, apply the principles, and if your return on your investment is not at least 1000 times, I would be shocked. Thanks Ricky!
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Ricky Steele is one of those business leaders whose name keeps popping up everywhere. And every time you see him mentioned, he seems to be associating with a very high profile leader, or several of them.
Yet look again. Ricky doesn't just affiliate with the high and mighty. He gives his time, talent, and influence to many community causes.
What steps did he take to gain such prominence--steps that will work for you? That's what this book answers, in a smooth flowing style.
My brief video review covers a few of the networking guidelines Ricky Steele offers. But don't stop with my overview. Get this book, jot down the fresh ideas you want to put into practice, and then watch how much more you will enjoy networking opportunities. Equally as rewarding, you will enjoy the new business that comes your way.
I consider myself to be a seasoned networker, but I learned a lot from the first edition of "The Heart of Networking." I just read the second edition, which has a new set of 50 pages (3 chapters) devoted to social networking. Author Ricky Steele hit the nail on the head again - some of his points that especially resonated with me include:
- "What I now see about social networking...is the profound value of accessibility....I go to more events than most people do, and I network when I'm at them. Nevertheless, there is a lag time between the best events in town...This is where social networking becomes so critically important. Not only does it expand your universe of contacts, it fills the gaps in that universe. Social networking will never replace face-to-face networking. And it shouldn't. But I am thoroughly convinced that it enhances face-to-face networking." (P.71)
- "I am not inclined to abandon in the social networking arena the kinds of criteria and standards I live by in my face-to-face networking. In real life, I wouldn't recommend someone to my contacts unless I knew them, understood their value proposition, knew who they do business with....What I would not do in a traditional networking context, I won't do on the web." (P. 81)
- "Today, every one of us is the CEO of Brand Me....I try my best to convey the same message of who I am whether I am with someone face to face, on the telephone, or via social media." (P. 91)
- (In the context of putting personal information and photos on his Facebook page) "My belief is that people are drawn to candor. I do not hide my personal beliefs concerning faith, community service, politics, or any other potentially controversial subject....people have learned to spot a phony in about two seconds flat. Want to have positive impact? You must be real." (P. 94)
This book is a great resource for anyone who wants to expand their personal network, meet people, and do it in a way that allows them to feel good about themselves and hold their head up high at the same time.
I've had the great privilege of meeting Ricky at the OK Cafe in Atlanta as one of his many meetings, as well as serve on the Board of Directors of Definition 6. Ricky asked me to read his book, and honestly, I hesitated. I think the world of Ricky, what if I didn't like his book?
Ricky's book reads like Ricky - fast and furious - and fun. There are many great ideas, practical knowledge, and Ricky's stories of how he has used his ideas to create a fantastic network of fans all over.
You should definitely pick up this book, give it a read, and then implement Ricky's good ideas.