on June 3, 2014
I have about 250 business books in my office. On the highest shelf, I keep 10 books facing out, as reminders to myself on how to live my life. Never Eat Alone is one of those ten.
In this book, you learn that the fundamental key to all success is the people around you. The people who give a damn about you. The people who believe in you.
When I was young, I thought the environment I was born into (my family, the kids down the block) was the only only pool to select your lifelines from. But after reading Never Eat Alone, I began to understand that it's okay -- scratch that -- it's necessary for you to reach out to others, others who inspire you, others who you want to help, others who you feel a deep connection with. It's okay to go out of your comfort zone to events and conferences and make new like-minded friends. It's not about connections, it's not about networking -- it's about caring about other people and getting to know them on a personal level.
It's not the quantity of your relationships, it's the quality.
The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of people in your life -- so if you want to live the life of your dreams -- you need to foster the relationships of your dreams. Never Eat Alone shows you how.
on June 25, 2014
If you are inspired by Keith Ferrazzi's and Tahl Raz's book, you will find yourself behaving differently toward everyone who matters to your success. You'll start thinking about their needs and hopes rather than your own, and you'll work hard to help them reach their goals. And of course, if you do that, you'll be helping yourself just as much. Before Never Eat Alone was first published, I had no idea what a Relationship Action Plan was or why it was important. As soon as I read the book the first time, it was truly an "ah ha" moment for me. I would not have had nearly the level of professional and personal success that I've had without this book. I downloaded the new version to see what's changed, and it's meaningful. Adding content on how social media (which didn't exist when the book was first published) is necessary to keep this book relevant. Fortunately for all of us, social media makes Relationship Action Planning more precise and impactful -- but you still need to know how to do it. Read this book, if you haven't already: it will transform your life.
on July 17, 2014
The rise in social networking tools like Facebook and LinkedIn have made it very easy for individuals to make contact with others in their field. Many people, however, are still reluctant to reach out on anything other than a superficial level to others, especially those who might hold a higher position than they do. In the book Never Eat Alone, author Keith Ferrazzi stresses the importance of creating a large network of people who can help and be helped by you. By having contacts across many different areas, he argues that you will be creating opportunities for generosity which will ultimately benefit you in ways that might not at first be apparent.
The book begins with attempting to overcome the reluctance to reach out that many people have. The author mentions many times that he offered to help people newly starting out in their fields with job interviews, introductions or internships, only to be rebuffed because the recipients of his generosity didn't want to feel indebted to him. He goes on to stress the importance of creating connections precisely so that you will be able to help those who need it when you seen an opportunity to do so -- without "keeping score." Although he does also frequently mention how he "keeps up" with how young people he's helped are doing in their careers . . .
Once you have accepted that you need to increase your personal and/or professional network, strategies are offered that will help achieve this. He advises how to "do your homework" to make connections as well as keep a list of "aspirational names" of business leaders that you hope to meet one day. He also gives advice on how to make the dreaded "cold call" to make connections and how to get around gatekeepers that are employed precisely to protect their bosses from people like us! This new edition of the book has also been updated to include information on how to network, market yourself and gain followers on the newer social platforms.
One thing I found amusing was the chapter titled, "Never Give in to Hubris," because on nearly every page there is reference to the awards the author's been given, the celebrities he's worked with, the many young people who are clamoring for his knowledge, and generally how important he is. It felt like a lot of bragging and name-dropping and honestly took away from the message of the book. He should re-read his anti-hubris chapter before the next edition comes out! If you can overlook all the self-congratulation, there are some good messages to take from the book about building connections and helping yourself by helping others.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.
on March 6, 2016
Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone tackles one of the most important aspects of getting ahead in the professional world today: networking. Ferrazzi’s approach, however, takes a different turn than most networking books. His emphasis on creating connections, as opposed to blindly networking just because its considered important, is informative and distinctive.
Ferrazzi begins by laying out his experience with networking in the first section – but he doesn’t call it “networking.” Instead, Ferrazzi calls it “connecting.” He writes that “like business itself, being a connector is not about managing transactions, but about managing relationships.” He stresses that while some gather names and phone numbers just to add contacts to their list, the most beneficial way to connect is to share knowledge, resources, time, energy, friends, associates, empathy and compassion. By doing this, value is provided for these connections – and perhaps most importantly, your value is increased in their eyes as well.
This first section is a smooth and engaging introduction to the book. Ferrazzi’s conversational tone makes his suggestions easy to follow and understand. He writes often about his personal experiences with networking, which strengthens his argument of the importance of connecting. Without connections, he would not have made it to where he is now. His impressive education came out of the relationships he and his father developed with connections, which definitely drives home his argument.
Ferrazzi lays out how to actually make these connections in the second section. He writes that the first step to connecting with someone is to do your research. He suggests Googling them, reading their work history on LinkedIn, checking out their Twitter, and reading information about their company or work. The next step is getting their contact information. Ferrazzi suggests starting with those already in your network: relatives, current colleagues, customers and clients, neighbors, past connections from school, former teachers, etc. Ferrazzi writes, “the real challenge isn’t tracking anymore… Our challenge these days is to figure out, in the mass of contacts we’ve collected, which ones matter” (76). His approach to building a network is to reach out to those you already have relationships with, and to build on them.
This section is helpful, but nothing stood out as exceptionally different from other networking books. Networking is meeting people through other connections and cultivating relationships – Ferrazzi just stresses its importance in this section.
In the third section, Ferrazzi discusses building on these connections. He breaks down three motivations that he tends to find in people: making money, finding love, or changing the world. He says that “the only way to get people to do anything is to recognize their importance and thereby make them feel important” (175). He also emphasizes building connections in different areas, and being able to “parcel out as much information, contacts, and goodwill to as many people – in as many different worlds – as possible” (188). He highlights the importance of meeting people and connecting, but building on these connections and stretching them to all aspects of business and life.
This section is informative, but Ferrazzi’s reasoning seems manipulative. The purpose of networking is to gain value from those we connect with, but Ferrazzi seems to imply that the only reason to help others is because of the future benefit you may receive from them. For Ferrazzi, connecting with others is ultimately for your gain. His approach seems to disregard the fact that you might receive something other than just professional gain from helping someone.
The fourth section focuses on “Connecting in the Digital Age.” Ferrazzi tackles the wealth of knowledge and people that we have at our disposal because of technology. He writes that even though you can be bombarded with information on your social network, you can make use of the content by curating and structuring it to what you want to see, and what will help you. He also says that in sharing your content, you have to give people “something useful.” “Give them an article, a film trailer, a restaurant review. Something that allows for more communication than 140 characters, introduces them to something new, and gives them an action” (242-243).
This section is beneficial in laying out all the ways for you to make use of the technology at your fingertips. Instead of getting overwhelmed at the content on social networking sites, you can make use of it. Now, more than ever, taking advantage of technology is important in the professional world, and this portion of the book provides tools to help you do that.
The final section mostly provides techniques for strengthening your connection circle but also marketing yourself. As Ferrazzi wrote earlier in the book, “each of us is now a brand” (22). According to him, you have to be an expert with a unique point of view – you have to be interesting. Image and identity are just the start of your personal brand. With a network, your brand “establishes your worth” and “takes your mission and content and broadcasts it to the world” (291).
This chapter on personal branding – Chapter 26, “Build Your Brand” – was probably the most useful and informative out of the book. Ferrazzi discusses developing a personal branding message, “packaging” the brand (which involves appearance and style, and asking yourself how you wish to be seen), and broadcasting your brand. According to Ferrazzi, “the world is your stage… Look the part; live the part” (297).
Overall, Never Eat Alone is an informative networking book. Its main idea is innovative – connecting and sharing as opposed to just collecting important names in your network – compared to the majority of other networking books. Ferrazzi, in his conversational tone, makes the 376 pages go fast. The only downside to Ferrazzi’s approach is his push to do all of this – connect, share, network – just because in the end, it helps you advance the most. His method comes across as slightly egotistical, but it still provides you with helpful tips to connecting and branding yourself.
on June 4, 2016
This book is way longer than it should have been, this could have been written as a 15 page article. The author definitely provides gems of knowledge here and there but the value of these gems are not worth digging through 400 pages in my opinion. The thoughts in this book are not deep, its not rich in insight, just basically a run down on how to play the game.
If you are a beginner to the game of business, this book might prove beneficial. However, if you are a little bit more sophisticated in your knowledge about business and have already developed your style of networking then I recommend you skip it. The authors simply spends too much time writing about common sense principles, selling his consulting services, or bragging about his achievements. There are way better books on the subject of business and networking, only reason why I read this was through a recommendation through somebody.
on October 4, 2015
This book is about networking and meeting people. It is not a bad thing, making friends. But this book is not about making friends as an end in itself. It is about making friends who are likely to help you achieve your aims - whether you are aiming to raise $40,000,000 to buy land in Utah (the opening 'get them' story) or to enlarge your business, or to get in line for the next promotion. This book tells you all the ways you can do this. It also has a chapter that is called 'Engineering Serendipity'. If you believe, as the author does, that networking is a purely business activity, chances are that you will instinctively know all the moves that he teaches in this book. If you need this book to succeed in networking, chances are that you may not agree with the attitude of this book - 'Be a Conference Commando'. There the author asks 'Is the likely return I'll get from the relationships I establish and build equal to or greater than the price of the conference and the time I spend there? If so, I attend. If not, I don't. It's that simple.'