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“Life is about work, work is about life, and both are about people”
Reading the book “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferazzi, I was inspired by the spirit of generosity it advocates. I found it a useful reminder of things I knew to be true already, and also a very practical guide to building authentic relationships in business.
The title of this book already hints to its entertaining style. One of the things I did not expect was its honest and authentic tone, while being extremely practical and thoughtful. It is described as a match for the classic Dale Carnegie book ‘Make friends and Influence People’ and a more modern version at that. Well, I never read ‘Make friends and Influence People’ myself, so I cannot comment on that. This certainly seems to be the kind of book one needs to read when you set out on a business where building relationships is paramount. And which business these days does not involve building relationships?
Keith is a first generation Italian American and shares most of the stories from his personal experience, and that of his family. It makes for an entertaining and beguiling read. For instance, the story of how his dad, a factory worker, got him a scholarship at the private school by boldly making an appointment with his boss’s boss to ask him to organise a scholarship for his son. This set Keith up with a good start in life, and he relates it to a principle such as “The Genius of Audacity”. Keith relates lots of stories and experiences from his own life as a consultant, marketer and CEO in the book and links them to principles such as “Don’t keep Score”, “Build it before you need it”, “Do your homework” and “Trading up and giving back”.
The tone of the book is thoroughly American and Keith strikes you as someone who works incredibly hard at maintaining his large network almost to an obsession. What saves it and distinguishes it from other American self-help books for me, was the wealth of pragmatic tips and tools such as having a relationship action plan (it is not what you know, but who you know), maintaining a strong ‘heart’ to be authentic to yourself, and caring for people and connecting on the basis of generosity in your world, as opposed to be the networking jerk. Basically it is about helping friends to connect with other friends.
As one of the references on the back cover gushes “Buy this book for yourself, and tomorrow go out and buy one for your kid brother!” I have been recommending it to anyone and everyone who is in business or the corporate world today.