Thursday, August 11, 2011

Never eat alone by Keith Ferrazzi

This book is about all about networking – not the usual cold and impersonal way, but connecting – sharing the knowledge and resources, time and energy, friends and associates, and empathy and compassion in a continual effort to provide value to others, while coincidentally increasing our own.

How do you turn an aspiring contact into a friend? How can you get other people to become emotionally invested in your advancement? Why are there some lucky people who always leave conferences with months’ worth of lunch dates? Where are the places you go to meet the kind of people who could impact your life? These are some of the questions that this book answers. If you are someone who is very shy (just like me :) ) to meet new people or if you are that networking ‘jerk’ (:P) who has a martini in one hand and just collects business cards on the other in a ‘networking session’, then this book is for you!

We never get there alone

The author insists that to achieve our goals in life, it matters less how smart we are, how much innate talent we are born with, or even, where we came from and how much we started out with. Sure all these are important, but they mean little if we don’t understand one thing: We can’t get there alone. In fact, we can’t get very far at all. Ask any accomplished CEO or entrepreneur or professional how they achieved their success and it is guaranteed that you will hear very little business jargon. What we will mostly hear about are the people who helped pave their way, if they are being honest and not too caught up in their own success.

And the real networking is all about finding ways to make other people more successful. It is about working hard to give than get. 

Never, ever disappear

Invisibility is a fate far worse than failure – a would-be Hollywood celebrity knows that. In building our network, the key is not to disappear at any point of time. The simplest way will be to reaching out to others, over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, whatever. Keeping our social calendar full, we must go an extra mile to remain visible and active among our ever-budding network friends and contacts.

As an example, Keith got a chance to fly with Hillary Clinton (when she was the first lady of USA) in a C130 trooper for a political event. She was up at 5 in the morning for breakfast and phone calls back to the east coast. She gave at least 4 or 5 speeches, attended a few cocktail parties where she constantly reached out to score of individuals (remembering their names all along), and visited several people’s homes. She must have touched 2000 hands that day. At the end of the night, she got back on Air Force One, huddling her staff, and chitchatting with them about what all happened that day. After an hour or so, she went on to scheduling her next day. 

If it’s this rigorous for a first lady, we can imagine how meticulous we need to be in reaching out to our network and in meeting new people.

Be an interesting brand yourself

We are the CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Branding is nothing less than everything everyone thinks of when they see or hear our name. 

The best brands, like the most interesting people, have a distinct message. Our personal branding message comes from our content/unique value proposition and from the process of self evaluation. Why not find out what’s really in our name? Why not identify our uniqueness and how we can put that uniqueness to work?

Most people’s judgments and impressions are based on visuals – everything other than the words you speak that communicates to others what you are about. Being pragmatic – looks do count – so let’s better look polished, professional and just stand out. Similarly style matters – whether we like it or not, clothing, letterheads, hair styles, business cards, office space and our conversational style are noticed – big time. Why not buy some new clothes? Why not take an honest look at how we present ourselves? Why not redesign our letterheads and cards? Why not create a wow factor in everything we do? Why not create a personal web site to broadcast who we really are? 

Bottom line

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

Quotes garden
  • Whom you associate with is crucial to who you become.
  • As long as you’re going to think anyway, thing big.
  • Goal is a dream with a deadline.
  • Invisibility is a fate far worse than failure.
  • Success in any field is about working with people, not against them.
  • A network is like a muscle – the more you work it, the bigger it gets.
  • There is no better way to learn something, and become an expert at it, than to have to teach it.
  • Hell hath no fury like a person for whom you have promised the most intimate of help and deliver none.
  • If 80 percent of success is just showing up, then 80 percent of building and maintaining relationships is just staying in touch.
  • Preparation is – if not the key to genius – then at least the key to sounding like a genius.
  • Human ambitions are like Japanese carp; they grow proportional to the size of their environment.
  • There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.
  • Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you.
  • The way you reach out to others is the way you eat up an 800 pound elephant: one small bite at a time.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just attach it to a new wagon.
A personal note

If you catch me standing alone in the bus stop or see me eating alone in the canteen and like, I will greatly appreciate (and I'll be extremely happy) if you drop by to say a hi and give me company :) And expect me to do the same for you :)


  1. Very nice! Thank you for sharing!!