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Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time Hardcover – Laser printed, February 22, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The youngest partner in Deloitte Consulting's history and founder of the consulting company Ferrazzi Greenlight, the author quickly aims in this useful volume to distinguish his networking techniques from generic handshakes and business cards tossed like confetti. At conferences, Ferrazzi practices what he calls the "deep bump" - a "fast and meaningful" slice of intimacy that reveals his uniqueness to interlocutors and quickly forges the kind of emotional connection through which trust, and lots of business, can soon follow. That bump distinguishes this book from so many others that stress networking; writing with Fortune Small Business editor Raz, Ferrazzi creates a real relationship with readers. Ferrazzi may overstate his case somewhat when he says, "People who instinctively establish a strong network of relationships have always created great businesses," but his clear and well-articulated steps for getting access, getting close and staying close make for a substantial leg up. Each of 31 short chapters highlights a specific technique or concept, from "Warming the Cold Call" and "Managing the Gatekeeper" to following up, making small talk, "pinging" (or sending "quick, casual" greetings) and defining oneself to the point where one's missives become "the e-mail you always read because of who it's from." In addition to variations on the theme of hard work, Ferrazzi offers counterintuitive perspectives that ring true: "vulnerability... is one of the most underappreciated assets in business today"; "too many people confuse secrecy with importance." No one will confuse this book with its competitors.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ferrazzi grew up in rural Pennsylvania, the son of a steelworker and a cleaning lady, yet his ability to connect with others led to a scholarship at Yale, a Harvard MBA, and a prestigious partnership at Deloitte Consulting. His skills at creating and maintaining a network of contacts are nothing short of those of a serious presidential contender. All business hopefuls seek to enter a sphere of players more powerful than themselves, and Ferrazzi says that sometimes all it takes is asking. The book is dense with suggestions. Seek out mentors to guide you and introduce you to the people you need to know and then become a mentor yourself. Use your initial conversation to show the other person what you have to offer them, and never keep score. Make others feel important by remembering their names and birthdays. And don't be afraid to open up and show vulnerability--it's a great icebreaker. Ferrazzi presents a whirlwind of ideas to widen your circle of contacts that goes way beyond the usual stale concepts of "networking." David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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This book is so full of bragging and at the same time there is zero useful applicable information in it. The only people who might like this is someone that loves to brag and wants to be like Ferrazzi or one that never even heard the term networking.
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.
Ferrazzi covers a range of topics which are as relevant for those veterans in the workforce as those starting out. One item I found especially refreshing was the approach to networking. A buzzword these days, I see millenials and others "lunching" constantly and asking to join my LinkedIn or Facebook and then never hear from them again. Ferrazzi does an excellent job explaining that networking has to be about adding value to the other party and maintaining that relationship over time. Yes, we all leverage our networks to get things done. The point is to ensure it is a two way street.
I also found his discussion of how to get value from conferences extremely interesting. I had learned many of the lessons the hard way over the year but I had never heard them so well articulated- come prepared, understand your objectives, who do you want to meet, what are your intersect points, volunteer to help organize, understand the schedule and layout and finally, and most important, follow up.
This book is an excellent read and a marked up copy now sits on my core reference shelf. Whether you are starting out or a veteran, this is worth a read.
The book deals with the ultra complex question of being a successful networker. There are never any simple answers to complex questions such as this. Any narrative attempting to present a simple solution is basically a fake. My overall take is that this is a generic and largely useless self-help book. I give it 3 stars out of respect for the people who recommended it to me.
This book is for the ambitious looking for a social edge in working their way into the successful portion of the working class. It's a blend of inspiration, motivation, pragmatic advice, and sometimes painfully boring passages. If you have the skills to recognize impertinent chapters that would bore rather than aid you, and find the juicy stuff that you know you can learn from, this book can grow your career the same way it grew my own.
Good luck and have fun ;-)
Most recent customer reviews
This book teaches me several critical things.