I just finished re-reading Keith Ferrazzi’s book, “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets To Success, One Relationship At A Time“. Please note that I wrote “re-reading”. The book is that good.

Now, as you probably already expect, this book is full of great techniques and tips about how to get the most out of networking, including a few that seem a bit audacious at first (how comfortable would you be, inviting yourself into a conversation with the CEO?). He goes into some of the theory behind the concepts as well, trying to help his readers understand just why it is they should be bothering with this whole networking thing in the first place.

I like how I felt challenged by some of the activities he suggests. Throwing a dinner party for twelve people? That’s definitely outside my comfort zone. By his reasoning, though, I can see the value it would have.

I also, like his commentary on the concept of a “balanced life” toward the end of the book. The general idea is that with the best of networkers, they don’t differentiate between “good friends” and “good business connections”. The reason they are good connections is because they are good friends. Therefore, time spent with them is just like personal time spent with friends.

Some people would have a hard time with that, but that’s OK, too. As he points out, his style of networking is particular to him and may not be right for everyone. The important thing is that we each decide what works best for us in out networking practice.

And then do it.

Now all this stuff is good, of course, but what I love most about this work are his stories. Ferrazzi uses remarkably memorable anecdotes about his own experiences in the world of networking to illustrate his points. The good thing is, he not only talks about his tremendous successes, but also his abysmal failures as well. He has basically scouted the territory ahead for us and is there to advise us not to go into that dark alley ahead.

Go out and get this book if you don’t already have it in your library. Read it with pen in hand. Take notes. Apply these ideas to your practice. I’d be surprised if you didn’t find at least one new activity that you hadn’t considered before that will boost your networking practice up a notch.