Never Eat Alone--a great title--is about getting connected to the right people, a take no prisoners approach to developing relationships that pay off. Think of it as sort of networking book on steroids.
There's a lot of content here, but it boils down to a few principles:
* Be brave and get outside your comfort zone. You're not going to go anywhere if you don't break out and try something new (example: the author's big on throwing well targeted dinner parties). Don't fear making mistakes--or even making a fool of yourself.
* Be creative/paint outside the lines. No idea is too bold, it seems, when it comes to connecting with big shots (example: find people at conferences and set up your own private dinners...or arrive at event where they're speaking; stand by the door or key entrances, and "be ready to introduce yourself."
* Make connecting part of your everyday life.
* Focus on your strengths and value: "Forget your job title...figure out what exceptional expertise you're going to master that will provide real value to your network and your company."
* Develop a niche--and focus on it relentlessly. Be persistent and committed.
The book delves into typical networking stuff (mastering small talk), but goes beyond that. It discusses how to find a mentor, and how to really work a conference (for example, setting up your own personal tours and inviting special "guests" you want to connect to). It also focuses on developing unique content and UPV (unique point of view) that will separate you from the pack. How author Keith Ferrazzi leverages the content (page #213) is one of the strongest parts of the book.
A lot of the book is told through his personal narrative: how he came up from a lower class family, somehow made it to Harvard Business School and on to a big-name consulting firm (Deloitte & Touche). Then it was off to success-land with his YaYa software company, where he learned the art of managing the media and image building, often with slick marketing and PR tricks. It's all pretty breezy, easy to read and interesting in terms of guerilla marketing techniques. His section on connecting with journalists is a good primer for media newbies in the business world.
The book does have some rough edges, however.
Readers might tire of his personal stories after so many pages; the book could use some more outside examples. Strangely, he barely touches on blogging and social networks--which he admits are critical in the new age. The sidebars on famous people (example: Dalai Lama; Eleanor Roosevelt) seem almost out of place, and would be better served by stories of contemporary businesspeople (ex: Michael Dell, Howard Schultz (Starbucks)).
At times the author seems to get carried away. He talks about blurring private and business life, even including his religious life.
Ever heard of the "deep bump"? It's about connecting deeply, and you only have two minutes to master. ""Look deeply into the other person's eyes and heart, listen intently, ask questions that go beyond just business, and reveal and little about yourself in a way that introduces some vulnerability..." and so on.
BTW, who is the all time master of the deep bump?
Answer: Bill Clinton.
All in all, though, the book is worthy. It's more a mindset and way of living than just a series of techniques. Anyone who needs to be connected--which is all of us--should give this one a read.
For more information:
Never Eat Alone home page