One of my goals for 2015 is to read at least 20 books. I ran the numbers and it looks like that is about a book every three weeks. Although “Never Eat Alone” won’t count towards the total (I started reading it in 2014), it was a great book to start with and a great way for me to build momentum going into this year.
“Never Eat Alone” is a national bestseller from author Keith Ferrazzi. Ferrazzi has worked for a bunch of big companies, including Deloitte consulting, before starting his own which is aptly called Ferrazzi Greenlight. He has one of the most impressive network of contacts I’ve ever seen, as he shows you in the book. It’s extremely impressive, and his stories and experiences serve to drive home his points on relationships. They were the most interesting and my favorite part of the book.
As far as if you were to read this book, I highly recommend reading it right before or after graduation from college if possible. It contains invaluable advice for starting your network and topics beyond just that. Ferrazzi does a great job of explaining how not just networking, but relationships, can make or break a career and also create a more fulfilling life. When I first began reading the book I got the feeling the book may be geared towards the extroverts who could simply walk into a room and own it. People who can create a conversation with anyone and everyone, people who were always the most outspoken in the room. I was skeptical, and certain topics in the book are definitely geared towards being more extroverted. But as far as the overall message, this is not the case.
Ferrazzi provides many different strategies, and specific steps for each, in building a network. One of my favorite chapters in the book covers specific ways to improve your small talk and conversation skills. The subject itself is fascinating, and people who excel at it tend to be the same. Interestingly enough, Ferrazzi said that verbal fluency is the most common trait among a group of successful Stanford grads. Two keys to being great at small talk? Be yourself. Be vulnerable. Two tasks easier said than done, especially when talking to strangers or just acquaintances.
Another of my favorite lines from the book has to do with being interesting. In order to be interesting to talk to, you must be interesting.
“All you’ve read thus far doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility of being someone worth talking to, and even better, someone worth talking about.”
As I progressed through this book, I quickly began to realize it was much more than a book simply about networking. The book is a way to do business and a way to live. Yes, there are loads of tips for everything from dinner parties and conferences, to emails and hand-written letters, but it goes so much deeper than that. You feel like you get to know Ferrazzi personally through how he shares stories from his past, his fears, thoughts, failures. He welcomes you in and shows you his personal business and relationship philosophy.
I wrote pages of notes as I read this book, which I will thankfully be able to return to later when I need it. “Never Eat Alone” is a bookshelf worthy read you can pick up, reread a specific chapter you need at the time, and be on your way.
Here are a few more of my favorite quotes.
“Above all, never ever disappear.”
“You should be governed by the fact that one should seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
“Cultivate a niche interest. A single narrow specialty for which you have passion will have surprisingly expansive powers.”
“Real power comes from being indispensable.”
“Sometimes, despite the work involved, its worth our time to go for the antelope.”
I also need to give a quick shout-out to my friend Marcus Hall for giving me this book during my internship at ExactTarget. I really enjoyed our conversations over coffee and appreciated all the advice and time he gave. Not to mention Marcus is one of the people who helped push me to finish Step Up And Stand Out. Thanks Marcus!
The first Currently Reading post of 2015 is done. I don’t think I’ll write a full review of every book I read, but whenever I have thoughts pertaining to a book or what it covered I’m sure it will show up here.
The next book on the list is “How To Win At The Sport Of Business” by Mark Cuban. I’m already about halfway through, and although the book is more of a collection of blog posts, it has been an awesome read. Hearing first-hand about Cuban’s background is fascinating, and he has a lot of no-nonsense business savvy to share. After that I’ll pick up “On Writing” by Stephen King. I cannot wait to dive into that one.
Until next time, cheers folks.
Photo Credit: Amazon