- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: Bantam Dell Pub Group (February 22, 2005)
- ASIN: B001E1GSWS
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (589 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,609,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Never Eat Alone Unknown Binding – February 22, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
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 adds personal anecdotes throughout and also highlights world-class networkers. These are some of my favorite parts. He writes about his personal life and rise with a nice balance of pride as well as humility. It's written in a straightforward, simple style, and his voice is likable - you never feel like you're being lectured, and you never feel like you're reading someone's ramblings. It's more like one man's thoughtful reflections on how and why he got where he is today.
One chapter that really stood out to me is his bit on dinner parties. He covers everything from the extravagant - hiring musicians for the night - to the simple (Have people over in a few hundred square feet of space? Done that). He also breaks down his chapter (loosely) into 1, the concept and 2, the skills/tips and tricks, which is helpful. You will definitely walk away with tangible social skills. And yes, social, not networking skills. One of the most valuable takeaways is that you shouldn't network. You should make friends by taking a genuine interest in people.
This is a must read. It applies to everyone in every situation simply because we are all social beings.
Ferrazzi lives and breathes the fast pace of life. Living at the same fast space, he shares here an authentic approach to networking and building life's relationships, one at a time.
The essence of Ferrazzi's success is not just networking. It is a 3-fold approach:
(1) network to build trust first
(2) help people before asking for favors
(3) do it all with sincerity
Okay that's all great but does that mean we do that at every single meal? Hmmm. Not so practical. Or even scaleable. Or even desirable!
Now I did like this a lot: The author's sincere interest in helping others before thinking of his own success, and in fact, that may be the secret to his success. To be truly interested in making yourself useful to others first, even if there is no return for your favors immediately, is his philosophy.
Ferrazzi's approach to networking in "Never Eat Alone" is original and effective but very hard to get on board with in the level of intensity that he preaches.
Much of the challenge with networking is the misconceptions - it is exactly everything you want it to be. It is as real or as fake, as fun or as boring, as effective or as big a waste of time as you make it out to be - but do not blame networking and building relationships when you have poor results. It is the approach and intent that needs to be revisited and perhaps that can be the best takeaway, but still, giving it just a very high 3 stars.
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