Before reading Never Eat Alone, I had never read a book about networking. In part this was because the word “networking” conjured up in my mind greasy opportunists who sought to exploit relationships solely for their own benefit.
Happily, Ferrazzi does not come across as that kind of person. Though he does stress the power of expanding your network of friends and contacts, he does not want to do it at the expense of sincerity. Yes, he does counsel his readers to position themselves in places where they can meet the people they want to meet. But his focus is on building a community of friends and mentors, rather than seeing people only in terms of what they can offer you. He says that concentrating on making others successful is just as important as thinking about what will make you successful. He says that the way to make small talk isn’t to talk small at all; it is to show your real self in a vulnerable way that will make others comfortable around you.
Those are just a few of the things that stuck out to me about this book, but there are many more. I came away from the book realizing that, although I will never be an over-the-top extrovert like Ferrazzi, I don’t need to be afraid to use networking as a tool to create a community of relationships – with varying degrees of depth – while still being a sincere person.