As you may have heard, I love to read and try to find time for it whenever I can squeeze it in. I read all sorts of books, from crime mysteries to business advice to running techniques. And one of my most recent reads was Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. He’s a man who came from simple roots, learned the value of proper networking early on and went on to create wild success for himself while being named as one of Crain’s 40 Under 40 and getting selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the Davos World Economic Forum.

Never Eat Alone is a brilliant book about building lasting relationships to form a solid network of friends, colleagues, mentors and other contacts…but in a way that you’ve probably never heard of before. Because for Keith Ferrazzi, it’s all about giving before you receive as well as going the extra mile to help others succeed. In his experience, when you do that, you will not only be led to like-minded people who will share their success with you, but also create well-founded networks that ensure happiness and success.

Instead of a typical book review, I thought I’d share some of my key take-away points from the book. And recommend that you pick up a copy whenever you can. In life, a good network isn’t just about building up a new business or profiting from the knowledge of others. But rather a way to lead your life and career in exactly the directions you want.

  1. Be a master of creating solutions and helping others solve problems. If you want to achieve anything in life and you want others to help you, you first must help them–without them ever asking. Whenever you hear that someone is looking for a new job, wants to start a new career, has a child going off to a new school, wants to move or whatever, your brain should immediately start thinking of who you know that can provide a solution to that “problem.”
  2. Make introductions immediately. Whether you are at a party or just wrapping up a business meeting, it is best to pass on contact info right then and there. You only need to place a quick call to other party immediately to say they should expect a call and the rest is up to the person you are helping.
  3. It’s both who you know and what you know. Share your knowledge freely with others and don’t expect anything in return. Become an expert on topics that interest you and distribute that information whenever possible…even to your competition.
  4. Be revolutionary – share ideas and refer customers, even to the competition. It’s not about trying to tear apart or destroy your competitors, but instead looking for ways that allow you to work together and find growth for your industry. There’s more than enough business to go around — and most people typically hone in on a specific niche in their business. So when you share the wealth with someone who may be better at certain aspects of the real estate market in your area, or building pools versus general construction, you are helping others succeed who can in turn do the same for you.
  5. Make friends and get to know people don’t just go forward with your hand out. Do not be the douchebag at the networking events that stands there waiting to push their card into everyone’s hand and that everyone ends up avoiding. When you show a genuine interest in getting to know people and helping them to solve their problems, they will remember you immediately and you can build true connections that will last.
  6. Give first and don’t expect anything in return. I said it before — but your mission needs to be focusing on the other person  in the relationship. Whether you are reading a status update on Facebook or talking to the on the phone, if they voice a concern or issue, your mission is to help them solve it…without anticipating anything in it for you. Believe me, the more you give; the more you are going to receive!
  7. You have to keep feeding your network and “pinging” it or it will die. “Pinging” is a process of staying in contact with people and remaining on their radar, from emails to text messages to phone calls. Some people will have natural relationships like close friends or family that don’t necessarily need constant contact, while others will need to have lots more contact, especially at first, so your spot isn’t replaced by someone else.
  8. Be present, especially with new relationships. People you are trying to establish a new relationship with need to hear or see your name in at least 3 modes (email, phone, face to face, etc) before they start to remember and recognize it.
  9. Forget about balance. It’s not about balancing home and work – it’s about having relationships in both that overlap and a job where you love your coworkers and what you are doing. If you find people in your network tedious or they constantly create trouble, you don’t need them in your circle.
  10. Surround yourself with success and it will rub off on you. Don’t only find great mentors, but give back and be a mentor to others. You can learn just as much reaching down in the ranks as you do reaching up.

If you enjoyed these tips, be sure to pick up a copy of Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi so you can dive further into these principles, and learn even more!

Feel free to visit my disclosure page if you have questions about this post or any other posts on NOH.