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Book review: Never Eat Alone

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In my efforts to spread the word about OptimWise, my technology services company, I've been attending more local workshops, lectures, and networking events. After hearing a few people recommend this book for networking advice, I decided it'd be worth my time to check out.

It's too early to tell whether this book will improve my networking skills, but I'm definitely optimistic. Ferrazzi packs the book full of advice, tips, and anecdotes from his personal life. To add credibility, he also references a few studies and statistics.

The book's title comes from Ferrazzi's recommendation that you never eat alone; he uses sharing meals as an example of one way to include others in whatever you're doing. Ferrazzi's main idea is that instead of cold, calculating, traditional networking, you should make genuine friends. First make friends, he says, then make them clients. The more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way, and the more help you'll get. Your circle of influence will widen naturally.

Early on, he says you must find your "blue flame": the intersection of your passion and talent. This is where you can be most successful. Then, share your passions; invite people into your personal life by sharing meals, hobbies, and events. This will lead to the friendships required for his form of networking.

Another point he hits several times is reciprocity; again, not in the traditional "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine" way, but giving without keeping score, then benefiting from the inevitable return of favors. He says to give generously and ask for generosity from others.

I agreed with most of Ferrazzi's ideas, but not with one he presents at the very end. He proposes that there's no such thing as a work/life balance, because if you like the people you work with and the work you do, there's no need to distinguish between work and personal life. I don't buy this, because although you can become friends with colleagues and business partners, it's not always possible to work with your family and friends, the people that we most enjoy spending our time with.


Ask not what people can do for you, but what you can do for them.

Create a Relationship Action Plan
1. Set goals for every 3 months and year, 3 years out.
2. Identify the people, places, and things required to meet those goals.
3. Reach out to the people who can help you achieve your goals.

Create a board of advisors to act as cheerleaders and supervisors.
Be bold and willing to ask; it never hurts to ask.
Become an active member in clubs, and work up to being a leader.
Meet 1 new person per week, no matter where or how.
Research people before meeting them to find common interests.

Warm calling
1. mention a familiar person or organization
2. state your value proposition (what you can do for them)
3. talk only enough to set up a face-to-face meeting
4. aim high, then compromise

Invite people from different parts of your network to events so they get to know each other.
The quality of time you spend with people is more important than the quantity.

Follow up within 12-24 hours of meeting someone
1. cite something specific you talked about
2. ask to meet again
3. offer them something so they want to meet again

Make a connection quickly
1. look them in the eyes
2. listen intently
3. ask personal questions
4. reveal your vulnerability

Connect with "superconnectors" (well-connected people outside your profession).
Avoid safe, boring talk. Talk about religion, romance, politics, and your passions.
Listen attentively and use people's names.

Help people with the 3 most important things: health, wealth, and children.
Become an indispensable power broker, helping others succeed.
Ping your contacts at least a few times each year to stay in touch. Birthdays are the best time.

Throw dinner parties with a mix of people.
Use "anchor tenants" to bridge to others outside your social circle.
Connect with the famous and powerful through organizations, clubs, conferences, fundraisers, nonprofit boards, sports, etc. If you can't find a club, start one!

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