Do you want to get ahead in life Climb the ladder to personal success The secret, master networker Keith Ferrazzi claims, is in reaching out to other people. As Ferrazzi discovered early in life, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships-so that everyone wins. In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps-and inner mindset-he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his Rolodex, people he has helped and who have helped him. The son of a small-town steelworker and a cleaning lady, Ferrazzi first used his remarkable ability to connect with others to pave the way to a scholarship at Yale, a Harvard MBA, and several top executive posts. Not yet out of his thirties, he developed a network of relationships that stretched from Washington's corridors of power to Hollywood's A-list, leading to him being named one of Crain's 40 Under 40 and one of Davos' Global Leader for Tomorrow.
The youngest partner in Deloitte Consulting's history and founder of the consulting company Ferrazzi Greenlight, the author quickly aims in this useful volume to distinguish his networking techniques from generic handshakes and business cards tossed like confetti. At conferences, Ferrazzi practices what he calls the "deep bump"-a "fast and meaningful" slice of intimacy that reveals his uniqueness to interlocutors and quickly forges the kind of emotional connection through which trust, and lots of business, can soon follow. That bump distinguishes this book from so many others that stress networking; writing with Fortune Small Business editor Raz, Ferrazzi creates a real relationship with readers. Ferrazzi may overstate his case somewhat when he says, "People who instinctively establish a strong network of relationships have always created great businesses," but his clear and well-articulated steps for getting access, getting close and staying close make for a substantial leg up. Each of 31 short chapters highlights a specific technique or concept, from "Warming the Cold Call" and "Managing the Gatekeeper" to following up, making small talk, "pinging" (or sending "quick, casual" greetings) and defining oneself to the point where one's missives become "the e-mail you always read because of who it's from." In addition to variations on the theme of hard work, Ferrazzi offers counterintuitive perspectives that ring true: "vulnerability... is one of the most underappreciated assets in business today"; "too many people confuse secrecy with importance." No one will confuse this book with its competitors. (On sale Feb. 22) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 21, 2005
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Excerpt from Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
How on earth did I get in here ' I kept asking myself in those early days as an overwhelmed first-year student at Harvard Business School.
There wasn ' t a single accounting or finance class in my background. Looking around me, I saw ruthlessly focused young men and women who had undergraduate degrees in business. They ' d gone on to crunch numbers or analyze spreadsheets in the finest firms on Wall Street. Most were from wealthy families and had pedigrees and legacies and Roman numerals in their names. Sure, I was intimidated.
How was a guy like me from a working-class family, with a liberal arts degree and a couple years at a traditional manufacturing company, going to compete with purebreds from McKinsey and Goldman Sachs who, from my perspective, seemed as if they ' d
been computing business data in their cribs
It was a defining moment in my career, and in my life.
I was a country boy from southwestern Pennsylvania, raised in a small, hardworking steel and coal town outside of Latrobe called Youngstown. Our region was so rural you couldn ' t see another house from the porch of our modest home. My father worked in the local steel mill; on weekends he ' d do construction. My mother cleaned the homes of the doctors and lawyers in a nearby town. My brother escaped small-town life by way of the army; my sister got married in high school and moved out when I
was a toddler.
At HBS, all the insecurities of my youth came rushing back. You see, although we didn ' t have much money, my dad and mom were set on giving me the kind of opportunities my brother and sister (from my mom ' s previous marriage) never got. My parents pushed me and sacrificed everything to get me the kind of education that only the well-to-do kids in our town could afford. The memories rushed back to those days when my mother would pick me up in our beat-up blue Nova at the bus stop of the private elementary school I attended, while the other children ducked into limos and BMWs. I was teased mercilessly about our car and my polyester clothes and fake Docksiders ' reminded daily of my station in life.
The experience was a godsend in many ways, toughening my resolve and fueling my drive to succeed. It made clear to me there was a hard line between the haves and the have-nots. It made me angry to be poor. I felt excluded from what I saw as the old boys ' network. On the other hand, all those feelings pushed me to work harder than everyone around me.
Hard work, I reassured myself, was one of the ways I ' d beaten the odds and gotten into Harvard Business School. But there was something else that separated me from the rest of my class and gave me an advantage. I seemed to have learned something long
before I arrived in Cambridge that it seemed many of my peers had not.
As a kid, I caddied at the local country club for the homeowners and their children living in the wealthy town next to mine. It made me think often and hard about those who succeed and those who don ' t. I made an observation in those days that would alter
the way I viewed the world.