Whom you know and how you work with them

I recently started working my way through a list of top titles on networking that included Superconnector by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi (with Tahl Raz).

I read them in the wrong order.

Never Eat Alone, which I read second, is the earlier work. Ferrazzi’s core tenet (that he backs up with some research) is that

…success is not contingent on cool technology or venture capital; it’s dependent on whom you know and how you work with them.

Based on that premise, he fills the book with useful guidance on building that network, ranging from the philosophical to the practical.

Ferrazzi’s preaches that relationships should be based on generosity, without thought for reward or tit-for-tat logic (echoing Mark Manson’s discussion of adult values in Everything is F*cked). He provides practical guidance on the best way to follow-up after meeting someone knew (quickly, referencing a shared insight or joke, with a plan to meet again).

Perhaps the most practical idea Ferrazzi shares is the idea of creating a three year plan for your goals that includes not just the actions you’ll take, but the people you know or want or need to meet (whether by name or role) who can help you achieve that goal. For someone like me, to whom networking doesn’t come naturally but hard work does, it’s a good reminder to include people and connections in your plans.

Later in the book, Ferrazzi gets deeper into the connector “lifestyle”, a sort of always on, always engaged way of operating that blends your work and personal life into an endless stream meeting people, making connections, and putting people together that he clearly finds very satisfying but as a sociable introvert sounds like way too much work (and way to few boundaries) for me. But I’m glad he enjoys it.

Which leads me to Superconnectors. Building on Ferrazzi’s work, Gerber and Paugh talk about how to become a Superconnector, someone who knows everyone and lives that life of constant interconnectedness that Ferrazzi describes. It’s a decent follow-up, embroidering on and expanding on ideas Ferrazzi moves quickly through, although the life it describes is definitely not for me.

But if Never Eat Alone gets you energized, then it’s probably worth a read.

Published by William Gerke

William Gerke is a Boston-based talent professional, author, and human being.

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