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Connect for the Joy of It All!
on 14 December 2005
Never Eat Alone is a rare, detailed glimpse into how those with no special access can connect to those they want to meet. For many people who are good at connecting, this activity becomes a way of life. It's a profession and a hobby. As such, connecting can become all consuming. Many will find that aspect of Mr. Ferrazzi's story to be unattractive. But I found his candor in this regard to be refreshing.
If you step back from his enthusiasm for connecting, the mental attitudes and processes he describes are just what everyone needs to use who wants to be better connected and accomplish more.
All of us know more than any one of us. If you take two equally talented young people in any field, the one who is better at connecting will live a more successful life than one who tries to go at everything as a lone ranger.
I have known dozens of master connectors. They all do some variation of what Mr. Ferrazzi describes in this book. Here is how I would distill those lessons:
1. Decide who you want to meet to further your objective of accomplishing more.
2. Learn more about the person.
3. Find what you can do to help that person in an area where they care.
4. Develop a strategy to meet briefly face to face.
5. Share what you want to do to help when you meet.
6. Stay in touch with more ways to help.
7. Attend events where other master connectors attend and link into fields which are not naturally yours by becoming acquainted with these master connectors.
8. Study those who are very good at this.
If you keep in mind the sheer pleasure of making a difference as you do this, you'll soon be a superb connector. I recommend undertaking this task on behalf of something you are passionate about such as a charity you support.
One of the best parts of this book is that Mr. Ferrazzi is generous in sharing his mistakes. The world doesn't end for you as a connecting queen or king if you offend a poo-bah. You just pick yourself up and do better next time.
I liked his humility about his limitations in other fields. Peter Drucker would have approved of Mr. Ferrazzi's decision to work on what he has a talent and love for, connecting, rather than try to become more competent at things that are difficult and unpleasant for him . . . like quantitative analysis. The story about how he got his start at Deloitte is worth the price of the book.
Another strength of the book can be found in the excellent description of why people find President Clinton to be so compelling in person.
Skip books about networking and relationship building. Read Never Eat Alone instead!