Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time is a beautiful title for a book that is on networking, or making networks work for you. I picked up this book when a lot of young bright minds in a readers group went Gaga over this book. I loved the title and found it so appropriate that I picked up the book to read.
Never Eat Alone is a smart book that serves the prime purpose of presenting the author as the biggest networker in town. He throws all possible names of bigwigs who he networks with. He shares incidents of how he planned to meet them at the right moment in an event, or how he caught their attention by doing something unusual.
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I appreciate the planning he does before attending any conferences and making the most out of them. Not many people can do that level of planning. In places like it is not even possible as we rarely know till the last minute who is coming and who is not. Organizing conferences is another way of getting to know influential people intimately.
While I admire the grit that the author puts in all his relationships, especially with important people who can benefit just by association. I also feel it comes from a worldview that you control everything. There is no space left for serendipity when you carefully choose the people who are invited or scan the list of invitees. It leaves no space for the magic that can happen when you meet someone you know nothing about.
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It comes from the view that everything must be planned meticulously and then executed as per plan. I don’t see any plans going wrong or deviating in most examples quoted. Don’t believe it never happened with the author.
I also feel the author totally ignored that some relationships just happen without the need for any agenda. I do not see him giving examples of no agenda relationships that helped him grow as a human being, of which the professional is just a small part.
Interesting bits that I learned from this book
When you eventually get to speak to someone you have been trying to reach, never mention the hassles you had to cross to reach him or apologize for your persistence. Make it a comfortable conversation for everyone.
Strength of Weak Ties – Most important people in our network are those who are acquaintances. I fully agree with this from my personal experience.
Always try to find how can you help the person before seeking help. Works most of the time.
Rare is an occasion when a journalist will hear you out and change his or her views. They usually come with a story in mind and you must fit in it or they will twist your words to fit it. So true. It can be embarrassing to read what you never said but there is rarely a way to reverse it.
Keep the gatekeepers happy. They are important links in the chain if you want to reach the top. Yes, we often forget this simple fundamental point.
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Overall interesting read
Overall, an interesting read. There is too much of the author and his networking skills that make him sound like a superhero. I believe he is one in his own eyes.
I see this book written following a formula. It has a perfect rag to riches story of the protagonist who also happens to be the co-author. There are his heroic deeds and a mandatory failure story from college days. It is easy to read in small digestible chapters with lots of personal examples.
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Some of his tips, like the ones I mentioned above, are definitely helpful. We must remember that we all have our inherent personality types. Some of us are natural connectors while others are awkward talking to people they do not know well.
Take your call.