Never Eat Alone - By Keith Ferrazzi

Date read: 
August 14, 2017
See My Collection of 50+ Book Notes

My Thoughts

In-depth look at how to build a network, foster relationships, and make friends in any situation. Great advice but it's somewhat tainted by how played-out some of his advice is, usually by annoying recruiters and other try-harders. That said, it's a good introduction for almost anyone

Summary Notes

Poverty, I realized, wasn’t only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people who could help you make more of yourself.

ask accomplished CEOs or entrepreneurs or professionals how they achieved their success, and I guarantee you’ll hear very little business jargon. What you will mostly hear about are the people who helped pave their way, if they are being honest and are not too caught up in their own success.

I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business— and life— skill sets you’ll ever learn.

I learned that real networking was about finding ways to make other people more successful.

  1. It’s never boring. Time-consuming, sometimes; demanding, perhaps. But dull, never.
  2. A relationship-driven career is good for the companies you work for because everyone benefits from your own growth—
  3. A wide-reaching network is one of the surest ways to become and remain thought leaders of our respective fields.

There is no such thing as a “self-made” man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success. —George Burton Adams

Autonomy is a life vest made out of sand. Independent people who do not have the skills to think and act interdependently may still be good individual producers, but they won’t be seen as good leaders or team players. Their careers will begin to stutter and stall before too long.

It’s better to give before you receive. And never keep score. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.

Yesterday’s assistant is today’s influence peddler. Many of the young men and women who used to answer my phones now thankfully take my calls. Remember, it’s easier to get ahead in the world when those below you are happy to help you get ahead, rather than hoping for your downfall.

Human ambitions are like Japanese carp; they grow proportional to the size of their environment. Our achievements grow according to the size of our dreams and the degree to which we are in touch with our mission.

The great myth of networking is that you start reaching out to others only when you need something like a job. In reality, people who have the largest circle of contacts, mentors, and friends know that you must reach out to others long before you need anything at all.

My advice was to start finding future clients today. Had he thought about what kind of industry he wanted to specialize in? Had he thought about where the top people in that industry hang out? Once he could answer those questions, the next step was to go hang with this new circle of people.

Right now, there are countless ways you can begin to create the kind of community that can help further your career. You can:

  1. Create a company-approved project that will force you to learn new skills and introduce you to new people within your company
  2. Take on leadership positions in the hobbies and outside organizations that interest you
  3. Join your local alumni club and spend time with people who are doing the jobs you’d like to be doing
  4. Enroll in a class at a community college on a subject that relates to either the job you’re doing now or a job you see yourself doing in the future.

All of these suggestions will help you meet new people. And the law of probability ensures that the more new people you know, the more opportunities will come your way and the more help you’ll get at critical junctures in your career.

The big hurdles of networking revolve around the cold calls, the meeting of new people, and all the activities that involve engaging the unknown. But the first step has nothing to do with strangers; you should start connecting with the people you do know.

Audacity was often the only thing that separated two equally talented men and their job titles.

It never hurts to ask. There is genius, even kindness, in being bold. The worst anyone can say is no.

For me, either I ask or I’m not successful. That fear always overrides my anxiety about rejection or being embarrassed.

Analyze the life of Katharine Graham, and one inescapable theme emerges: Despite a lifetime free from financial worry, and a social status bordering on royalty, she made friends with everyone—not just those who could assist her newspaper or augment her position within the Beltway.

Those who are best at it don’t network—they make friends. They gain admirers and win trust precisely because their amicable overtures extend to everyone. A widening circle of influence is an unintended result, not a calculated aim.

Whom you meet, how you meet them, and what they think of you afterward should not be left to chance. As Winston Churchill would tell us, preparation is— if not the key to genius— then at least the key to sounding like a genius.

A master politician like Winston Churchill planned his public encounters in the same way. Churchill today is known as an oratory genius, master of the art of repartee— the kind of fantastic dinner guest who captures everyone’s undivided attention. What is less known— but which Churchill acknowledged in his own writing— is the blood, sweat, and tears of preparation that went into the making of a single sentence or the delivery of a clever joke. Churchill realized the power of knowing his audience and knowing how to push their buttons.

Ink and paper are a perfectly suitable way to keep track of the top priorities in your expanding social life.

If I read about someone who fell into one of my categories, I’d put him on a list and find out his contact information. When you’re looking for people to reach out to, you’ll find them everywhere.

The people who are on Crain’s “40 Under 40” aren’t necessarily the forty best businesspeople. They are, however, probably the forty most connected. And they probably all have lunched with one another at one time or another . When you get to know these people, and the people they know (including the journalists at Crain’s responsible for the “40 Under 40”), you’re that much more likely to be on the list yourself the next time it appears.

You’re never going to be completely ready to meet new people; there is no perfect moment. Your fears will never be completely quieted, because inviting rejection is never going to be appealing. There are always a hundred reasons to procrastinate. The trick is just to plunge right in.

You have to view getting to know new people as a challenge and an opportunity. The very idea should spark your competitive fires, silencing the wallower in all of us that shies away from socially adventuresome behavior.

When I call someone directly whom I haven’t spoken with before, I try to call at an unusual time. Someone who is busy is more likely to pick up his own phone at 8: 00 A.M.or 6:30P.M.Plus, he’s probably less stressed out since he’s not facing typical nine-to-five pressures.

Here’s what you need to know beyond the rules I’ve already laid out to get responses from “warm”e-mails.

  • Live and die by your Subject line. Focus on your strongest hook, either the contact you have in common or the specific value you have to offer. Make them curious.
  • Game the timing. I personally like to fire away when I think the person is apt to be spending time on e-mailing. Their morning, lunchtime, and the last hours of the workday are typical.
  • Be brief. Once you’ve written a draft, the “best”version of it is usually 50 percent shorter.
  • Have a clear call to action. What do you want them to do? Make your first request clear and easy. Request fifteen minutes on the phone, not just a vague phone call. Offer suggested dates and times, not just “a meeting sometime.”
  • Read it out loud.
  • Spell-check. There’s no excuse for poor spelling and grammar in an e-mail. I’ve written two books and have a URL with my name in it, and I still get people e-mailing “Keith Ferazzi”with one “r.”

The dynamics of a network are similar to those of a would-be celebrity in Hollywood: Invisibility is a fate far worse than failure. It means that you should always be reaching out to others— over breakfast, lunch, whatever.

In building a network, remember: Above all, never, ever disappear.

His formula is not complicated, but it is rigorous. He talks to at least fifty people each day. He spends hours a week walking his company plant talking to employees up and down the ladder. If you send an e-mail to him or his assistant, you can be sure there will be a response within hours.

I’m constantly looking to include others in whatever I’m doing. It’s good for them, good for me, and good for everyone to broaden their circle of friends.

The value of a network grows proportional to the square of the number of its users. The same principle holds true in growing your web of relationships. The bigger it gets, the more attractive it becomes, and the faster it grows .

Friendship is created out of the quality of time spent between two people, not the quantity. Outside your family and work, you probably can count the people you see a great deal of in the course of a month on two hands. Yet surely, you have more than ten friends. It is what you do together that matters, not how often you meet.

I’ve got an informal list of activities I use to keep in touch with my business and personal friends. Here are some things I like to do:

  1. Fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee. Make sure you lay out very clearly why those fifteen minutes will be valuable to them.
  2. Conferences.
  3. 3. Invite someone to share a workout or a hobby (golf, chess, stamp collecting, a book club, etc.).
  4. A quick early breakfast, lunch, drinks after work, or dinner together. There’s nothing like food to break the ice.
  5. Invite someone to a special event. For me, a special event such as an evening at the theater, a book-signing party, or a concert is made even more special if I bring along a few people who I think might particularly enjoy the occasion.
  6. Entertaining at home. I view dinner parties at home as sacred. I like to make these events as intimate as possible. To ensure they stay that way, I generally will invite only one or two people I don’t know that well. By dinner’s end, I want those people leaving my home feeling as if they’ve made a whole new set of friends, and that’s hard to do if it’s a dinner filled with strangers.
  7. Volunteering.

Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Then you’ll be miles ahead by following up better and smarter than the hordes scrambling for the person’s attention. The fact is, most people don’t follow up very well, if at all. Good follow-up alone elevates you above 95 percent of your peers. The follow-up is the hammer and nails of your networking tool

Making sure a new acquaintance retains your name (and the favorable impression you’ve created) is a process you should set in motion right after you’ve met someone. Give yourself between twelve and twenty-four hours after you meet someone to follow up.

Study after study shows that the more speeches one gives, the higher one’s income bracket tends to be.

As Malcolm Gladwell wrote, “Acquaintances, in short, represent a source of social power, and the more acquaintances you have, the more powerful you are.”

In one word: connect. In four better words: connect with the connectors.

The most efficient way to enlarge and tap the full potential of your circle of friends is, quite simply, to connect your circle with someone else’s.

When you understand someone else’s mission, you hold the key to opening the door to what matters most to them. It often comes down to one of three things: making money, finding love, or changing the world.

Hell hath no fury like a person for whom you’ve promised the most intimate of help and delivered none.

“Stop driving yourself— and everyone else— crazy thinking about how to make yourself successful. Start thinking about how you’re going to make everyone around you successful.”

When someone mentions a problem, try to think of solutions. If I’m in a conversation and the other person mentions they’re looking to buy a house in Los Angeles, the first thing I think is “How can my network help?” And there’s no time to linger. Mid-conversation, I’ll pull out my cell phone and locate someone who can help my companion buy a home. As I’m dialing, I might say something like, “You need to meet this Realtor I know” Now she is on the line. “Listen, I’m standing here with a friend who is in need of your wisdom. I just gave him your number and wanted to tell you personally he’d be calling.” The connection is made, the work is done, and whatever happens next, both parties are pleased by my efforts on their behalf. This is social arbitrage at work. And the first key is, don’t wait to be asked. Just do it.

My point? Real power comes from being indispensable. Indispensability comes from being a switchboard, parceling out as much information, contacts, and goodwill to as many people—in as many different worlds—as possible.

You can be more successful in two months by becoming really interested in other people’s success than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in your own success.

If 80 percent of success is, as Woody Allen once said, just showing up, then 80 percent of building and maintaining relationships is just staying in touch.

Don’t kid yourself— EVERYONE CARES ABOUT HIS OR HER BIRTHDAY! Asking for a birth date isn’t intrusive, and most people forget I’ve done so the moment after they tell me.

Be interesting! All that you’ve read thus far doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility of being someone worth talking to and, even better, worth talking about. Virtually everyone new you meet in a situation is asking themselves a variation on one question: “Would I want to spend an hour eating lunch with this person?”

Access to the media is not as difficult as you may think. Journalists do less sleuthing for their stories than you’d imagine. They get a majority of their stories from people who have sought them out, and not the other way around. And like everyone else in any profession, they tend to follow the herd. Which means once you get written about, other reporters will come calling.

“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.” —Jane Howard

I think the problem in today’s world isn’t that we have too many people in our lives , it’s that we don’t have enough.

How many people can walk into our homes and just open up the fridge and help themselves? Not many. People need “refrigerator rights relationships,” the kind that are comfortable, informal, and intimate enough to let us walk into one another’s kitchens and rummage through the refrigerator without asking. It is close relationships like these that keep us well adjusted, happy, and successful.

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