Never Eat Alone

Never Eat Alone

And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz

When it comes to books, I have really difficult time answering that favorite question of small talk: What is your favorite _____? After reading “Never Eat Alone”, however, I can say I’ve found one that deserves to be in my top five.

One of the reasons I chose to review “Never Eat Alone” is because this is an area where I struggle. I am a natural introvert and networking always conjured up mental images of thousands of faceless people with business cards at a conference or something. But as the authors explain, real networking is so much more than that. Real networking is, at the most basic level, about being friends. I don’t think this is news to anyone; it’s on the how that people get hung up. And that is where the authors deliver magnificently.

This isn’t one of those books where the author gives vague advice or leaves holes in his stories. No sir, this book is packed full of specific and actionable steps anyone can take to become more connected. Keith tells his readers exactly what he did when he was in college, at Deloitte, at YaYa, and even what his father used to do when Keith was known as “Re-Pete”. And the authors don’t just stop with the examples from the past. They give the reader many other specific ideas of what they could do.

My former impression of networking was that it was primarily done face-to-face. While face-to-face interaction is very important, there is a lot more to networking than that. In the digital age, knowing how to connect with people electronically is every bit as important as in-person interaction, so the authors devote a whole (long) section of the book just to connecting in the digital age.

The book is divided into five sections. The first is called The Mind-Set. This is where the authors discuss the mindset needed to be a good connector. The second section is called The Skill Set. Being a connector requires a set of skills that for many (such as myself) are new. The third section is called Turning Connections into Compatriots. The best connections are not just business cards in a Rolodex. They are friends and compatriots, dedicated to your success just like you are dedicated to theirs. The fourth section is called Connecting in the Digital Age. This section is excellent because it’s not focused solely on just how to maintain relationships electronically. No, the authors also talk about how to build and maintain your brand online which is extremely important. The fifth and last section is called Trading Up and Giving Back. The title is, I think, self-explanatory.

What I anticipated was a dry book about how to give and receive business cards most effectively. What I got was a very not-dry book full of real actionable advice, stories of Keith’s successes (and some epic failures, such as angering William F. Buckley, Jr.), and much more than I ever imagined. This one is a must-read for any industry. It’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know that matters. 

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