Never Eat Alone- Book Summary/Review

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is a book about how to become a super-networker. I am not talking about the “networking jerk” he mentions in the book along with the negative connotation that “networking” can have. I am talking about being able to kindle, stoke, and leverage relationships on a massive scale. There are some areas of this book where I do not see myself applying- not to say they are not good, but rather that based on my skill set I do not see myself utilizing. There are a lot of good actionable items in this book that I will try to get captured in here. I took a ton of post-it notes and underlining in the book, so that would be the best place to reference. I will try to include some page numbers on the most important takeaways I had. One of the keys that is brought right up in the preface even is the following formula: SUCCESS IN LIFE = (THE PEOPLE YOU MEET) + (WHAT YOU CREATE TOGETHER). He also mentions that you will get the most out of this book if  your desire to learn is exceeded only by your willingness to act. I am writing this summary in order to cement some of the highlights and actionable items I think I can and should apply  to my personal and professional life (if there is a difference).

Takeaways:

  • “The rule in life that has unprecedented power is that the individual who knows the right people for the right reasons, and utilizes the power of these relationships, can become the member of the “club,” whether he started out as a caddie or not”
  • The importance of people is that business is a human enterprise, driven and determined by people. Skills and strategies that are associated with fostering and building relationships were and are lacking in a lot of students.
  • The power of generosity – it becomes a form of personal karma. go out of your way to do nice things without expecting anything in return.
  • A network functions precisely because there is recognition of mutual need. Relationships are like a muscle- the more you work them the stronger they become. they are solidified by trust, which is created by asking not what people can do for you, but what you can do for others. “the currency of real networking is not greed, but generosity”
  • “A goal is a dream with a deadline”
  • “our achievements grow according to the size of our dreams and the degree to which we are in touch with our mission. Emotionally decide what it is you want to do.”
  • Make a real connection- see Clinton’s story on pg. 41.
  • Build the network before you need it- don’t start networking only when you need something like a job. Do it long before and continuously.
  • Ways to meet people:
    • create company approved project that will force you to meet new people and learn new skills
    • join local alumni club
    • enroll yourself in a class in a local community college
    • take on leadership positions in hobbies and outside organizations you are interested in.
  • Make it a point to meet people who know even more people. Meet “other” people, outside your normal social group.
  • There is genius and kindness in being bold. The worst thing that someone will usually say is “no”. It never hurts to ask
  • “There is no choice between success and failure, it is between choosing risk and striving for greatness, or risking nothing and being certain of mediocrity”
  • Steps to facing fear: like public speaking. Page 53
    • acknowledge that the fear is perfectly normal, you are not alone
    • recognize that getting over that fear is critical t your success
    • Commit to getting better
  • Improving speaking skills: pages 55-57 on DeAnne Rosenberg
    • State the situation
    • Communicate your feelings (emotions and vulnerability can be used to show humanity and elicit symptathy. People are more open with people who are open)
    • Deliver the bottom line
    • Use an opened ended question
  • Make friends with everyone- you have nothing to lose
  • Research people before you meet them: find their interests, passions, extracurriculars, etc.
    • google
    • twitter
    • company public relations
    • annual reports
  • Ask questions and listen carefully when you meet people. Be completely engaged.
  • Take names, remember small details, tell people happy birthday, etc. these things make you stand out and people will know you care.
  • Manage the gatekeeper: the secretary
    • treat them with dignity, thank them, compliment them- they are the ones that will get you into the person you want to talk to’s schedule
    • be candid, vulnerable, and not aggressive- page 97-98 there is an anecdote on this
  • Building relationships should be fun, not time consuming- always try to include others in what you are doing. It is good for them and good for everyone to broaden their circle of friends.
  • Passion is contagious- others respond by letting their guard down, which is why sharing your passion is important in business.
  • Follow up!!! The first follow up the person gets is the one they will remember the most- Following up is the key to success in any field.
    • In the follow up, reiterate commitments everyone has made, then asks when a second follow up meeting can be arranged. – close the loop.
  • Conferences are useful for meeting like-minded people who can help you fulfill your mission and goals. The speakers and info you will learn at them are usually meh.
  • Don’t be the people on pages 134-135:
    • The wallflower
    • the ankle hugger
    • the celebrity hound
    • the smarmy eye darter
    • the card dispenser/amasser
  • Super-connectors!
    • headhunters, lobbyists, fundraisers, politicians, journalists, public relations specialists know everyone and should be the cornerstones to any flourishing network.
  • It doesn’t have to be a strong contact to prove powerful. The most important people in your network are the ones that are acquaintances. “the strength of weak ties”
  • Meet people that look and sound nothing like you
  • Who is the most “plugged in” person in town? – Paul Revere story
  •  3 motivations of all people: pg 174+. Help people achieve their deepest desires. The most successful relationship builders are an amalgam of financial guru, sex therapist, and all around do-gooder. Every person you meet is an opportunity to help or be helped. The following three things engender deep emotional bonds between people.
    • health
    • wealth
    • Children
  • Recognize their importance, make them feel important. Help people achieve higher levels on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • Generalized rules of relationships: page 196. make rating of people based on how close/how often they need to be contacted.
  • Don’t kid yourself, everyone cares about his or her birthday! He actually sings a happy birthday voicemail. this is a huge way to stand out- people will never forget…

 

Actionable

  • Real networking is finding a way to make other people more successful
  • By simply reaching out to others and recognizing that no one does it alone will create astounding results in itself very quickly.
  • It is better to give before you receive. 3 types of people in the world: page 182-184
    • takers- hoard resources and look for ways others can serve them
    • givers – give more than receive without expectation
    • matchers- keep score, want to make sure every good deed/favor is equal
    • A specific type of giver: maintain a high degree of self interest. strategic in their giving  and in the long run it protects them from becoming doormats and washing out. focus on finding ‘bargains’ five minute favors
  • All successful people have a zeal for goal setting- they know what they want in life and they go after it.
  • To find your passion- it is the most important thing you can do. Methods for doing this on pages 28-29.
    • Look inside: passions, activities, interests
    • Look outside: ask people who know you best about your greatest strengths/ weaknesses.
  • Put Goals to paper – pg. 30-33
    • develop the goals
    • connect the goals to the people, places, and things that will help you gel the job done
    • determine the best way to reach out to the people who will help you accomplish your goals.
    • Create smart goals
    • Share your goals with others
    • Create a personal board of advisors
      • friends, mentors, family
  • Create a mission statement for yourself- page 37. Run through the exercise!
    • he created a 12 pager with strengths, weaknesses, industry opportunities, people he wanted to meet, people he knew, leaders he could turn to, companies he admired, left all of his options open for careers.
  • Commit yourself to initiate a meeting w/ one new person per week
  • Turn the cold call into a warm call: page 86
    • Convey credibility
    • state your value proposition
    • impart urgency and convenience
    • be prepared to offer a compromise
    • You need to establish trust. – page 87 solve their problems, talk a little but say a lot
  • Use compromise -try for a lot, it will help you settle for what you really need. This really plays into the anchoring bias – look up the term as it is hugely important!!!
  • Join a toastmasters club, become a speaker at conferences
    • the more speeches one gives, the higher one’s income bracket tends to be
    • you need something to say, develop a niche
  • If you are at a conference, make sure you ask the first question, make it an insightful one, introduce yourself first, etc. pg. 123
  • Looking into the Susan Cain story about speaking as an introvert page 124
  • Small talk- chapter 17 pages 152-
    • Conversation is an acquired skill, if you have the determination, proper information, conversation just like any other skill can be learned!
    • GPA has no bearing on success, it is dictated on “verbal fluency”
    • Vulnerability is one of the most under appreciated assets in business today
    • Being up front with people confers respect
    • Bree Brown Ted talk: Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. Watch it!!
    • Charm is simply the matter of being yourself
    • The power of nonverbal cues- we are genetically conditioned to be afraid of strangers. Page 161 for list of nonverbal cues
    • Share your passion, but don’t preach it
    • Adjust your Johari window based on who you are talking to – pg 163-164. adjust your behavior to mirror the person you are talking and they will immediately feel more comfortable.
    • The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. Always take the initiative to be the first person to say hello.
    • Five words that will never fail: “your wonderful. Tell me more”
    • pg. 168 on Dale Carnegie
  • Don’t wait to be asked, just do a favor. it show you care, and that even if it doesn’t work out you made the extra effort without asking.
  • Help people help themselves. Creates career karma
  • You can become more successful in two months by becoming really interested in other peoples’ success than you can in two years to get other people interested in your success.
  • Throw dinner parties, find anchor tenants that pull people to parties that would not otherwise come. 6-10 guests and make it a pretty diverse group. keep the wine flowing
    • Rules for a dinner party page 211
    • create a theme, use invitations create atmosphere, don’t seat couples together, relax, informal, interesting quote on back of seat placeholder cards
  • Relationship action plan- have your goals front and center that directs the evolution of your network and how you are using social media
  • Emphasize diversity: example of a room full of doctors not being as intelligent as a diverse group of backgrounds. even though there the doctors have a higher average IQ. This can be applied to your network, hiring, etc.
  • Sharing information is a great way to provide value
  • Book mentioned “The Start-Up of You”  by Reid Hoffman- make at least on equality introduction per month- see page 234 for more info on how to use LinkedIn.
  • The Algebra of Trust: GENEROSITY + VULNERABILITY + ACCOUNTABILITY + CANDOR = TRUST. or GVAC. see page 237. The more you can be yourself, the more people will trust that your giving them the straight dope. James Altucher has made a name for himself by doing exactly this. being up front about his failures and shortcomings. People want to hear about your humanity.
  • Speak the language that matters- example of the “moderate carb diet” that nobody has ever heard of until it was rebranded the “south beach diet”
  • The best subject lines speak to and tease one of two human needs: Utility or curiosity.
  • On Vulnerability- if you are brave enough to be vulnerable you can become irreplaceable. the only way to do that is by putting yourself out there.
  • Go Public with Failure “being open about the fact that you’ve made mistakes tells people that you’ve got nothing to hide. Aside from that, if we would all just own up to our failures we could stop perpetuating the crippling illusion that the ultra-successful get that way by succeeding over and over again. NO! they get that way by failing over and over again, in increasingly ambitious experiments until they succeed and succeed big. So be brave enough to put it all out there. people will trust you for your experience and your honesty.
  • Take a bold position and stay the course in the face of criticism and fear!!!!
  • Always represent your authentic self
  • Candor- Authenticity – the unvarnished presentation of truth!! extremely valuable and and the essence of leadership, sales, marketing and any discipline involved in motivating humans to do anything. Make sure you do it as a matter of habit.
  • The magical moments when people are publicly, brazenly candid ring out like a shot.
  • Share the process!
  • Be able to engineer serendipity- put yourself in the positions so that you can engineer the opportunities to speak with the right people. become a highly visible leader in associations and philanthropic organizations.
    • Be open to opportunities driven by chance
    • Read the book “the power of Pull by John Hagel et. al
    • Geography does still matter- you have a better chance of running into Stephen Spielberg in a coffeeshop in holly wood if you are a screenwriter….
    • Travel is an incredible way to open yourself to new experiences and insights.
    • Forcefield that supports serendipity:
      • Curiosity
      • generosity
      • passion
      • humility
    • Approach things with a beginners mind
    • Don’t plan your entire life. or you cannot get lucky by definition
  • Be Interesting
    • have a unique point of view, conversationalist, be able to speak beyond yourself
    • Ask the question “If I could use some magical potion in this situation, what could i do with all of this new information”- open it up as a discussion with others
    • Find a niche or emerging technology/expertise to master and go after it. Become the company expert and it will provide value to your network and company.
      • analyze trends and opportunities on the cutting edge
      • ask seemingly stupid questions, the most basic ones: is this product useful?
      • Know yourself and your talents
      • always learn
      • Stay healthy
      • expose yourself to unusual experiences
      • Don’t get discouraged- rejection is to be expected, and necessary- push through it!!!
      • Develop a niche
      • Know the new technology
      • Follow the money- all great ideas are meaningless in business until someone pays for them.
    • Clear concise vision and how does it relate to you. Drive and inspire passion to create results.
      • Action is driven by passion and feeling vs. a logical agreement.
      • Create context, then inspire- pg. 288
      • Become a storyteller
    • Build your brand – Chapter 26
      • make sure that what you do adds value
      • Keys to pursuing WOW in everything you do
      • – shake things up, find your value, obsess on your image.
      • what do you want people to think when they hear your name?
      • take on projects no one wants to work on
      • become invaluable
  • Promote yourself- if you don’t, nobody will.
    • make sure people know your work as well as the quality of it.
    • Pissing people off or making them happy has a very similar result. just make sure it is something that matters.
    • Create a buzz, work the media. Who are the “influentials”in your target industry?
    • When dealing with the media, you have to show them why it is relevant now, or it will be shelved. rewrite the intros and make it relevant to articles that have been printed recently.
    • Never say “no comment” be open and a reliable source of information to the media.
    • A press release is two or three paragraphs describing what’s memorable about your story.
    • more about broadcasting in the “broadcast your brand” chapter
  • Think big!
    • Achieve great things through risk, passion, focus, hard work, and positive attitudes
    • “as long as you’re going to think anyway, think big”- Donald Trump
  • What is your USP: “unique selling position”
    • create a group/in person to think through topics/share professional interests.
    • Ben Franklin “Junto”- group of like-minded, achievement oriented individuals can dramatically leverage each others success to do things otherwise impossible.
  • You learn in your twenties, and earn in your thirties.
  • Look into Vipassana meditation

There was a lot in there. It should be a decent outline of my biggest takeaways and actionable pieces.

RG

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