never eat alone summary

Book Summary & Notes: Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

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Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated

by Kenneth Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz

Published: 2005 by Crown Publishing Group


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“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.”

Real Networking Means Making Others Successful

When he was younger, Keith Ferrazzi worked as a golf caddy in a country club. He observed that the members of that club invest their time in money on one another’s ideas, and they made sure their children enter the best schools and get the best jobs. At that golf club, he learned about the importance of relationships.


Keith saw that success breeds success, and that’s why the rich get richer. For him, poverty wasn’t only about lacking financial resources, it was being isolated from webs and associates that could help you be more successful.

Success is about working with people, not against them.

It matters less how smart you are, how much innate talent you have, or even where you came from, and how much you started with. It’s about understanding this one thing: You can’t get there alone.

Instead of thinking “How can you help me?” think “How can I help you?”

You must build your network before you need it.

The great myth of “networking” is that you start reaching out to others only when you need something like a job.

A good network is not fleeting acquaintances but a web of real and trusted friends. Investing time and energy with them will pay dividends. In reality, people who have the largest circle of the network know that you must reach out to others long before you need anything at all to create the kind of community that can help further your career.

Networking is connecting.

It’s sharing your knowledge, resources, time, and energy in a continual effort to provide value to others, while coincidentally increasing your own. It’s a constant process of giving and receiving–of asking for and offering help.

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

A clearly defined goal distinguishes you from those who simply waiting for things to happen. Having a goal becomes easier for you to develop a strategy to accomplish it.

Your ‘blue flame’ is where passion and ability come together. When that blue flame is ignited within you, it is a powerful force in getting you where you want to go.

Get more comfortable at being audacious in social situations:

  • Find a role model. We’re predisposed to seek out people like us–shy people tend to congregate with other shy people, and outgoing people congregate with outgoing people–because they unconsciously affirm our own behaviors.
  • Learn to speak. Gain confidence and overcome shyness.
  • Get involved. Join up clubs and be an active member.
  • Get therapy. This might help you address your own fears and social anxieties in a more productive way.

Tracking people you know will help you develop intimate relationships.

Bill Clinton used to jot down names and information about people he met in a little black address book he carried around with him. He made it a habit to record on index cards and write the names and information of every person whom he’d met that day. Two lessons are clear:

  1. the more specific you are about where you want to go in life, the easier it becomes to develop a networking strategy to get there and
  2. be sensitive to making a real connection in your interactions with others.


“Preparation is – if not the key to genius – then at least the key to sounding like a genius” – Winston Churchill

The goal of attending conferences is to maximize the brief windows of opportunity and to transform what could be a forgettable encounter into a blossoming friendship.

Try to help the organizer, it’s a great way to meet people at conferences: contact the organizer in advance and tell them you are willing to devote a chunk of your resources – be it time, creativity or connections – to make the event a smash hit.

Participate by asking questions at conferences: a really well-formed and insightful question is a mini-opportunity to get seen by the entire audience. Introduce yourself, tell people what company you work for, and then ask a question that leaves the audience buzzing.

The more new connections you establish, the more opportunities you’ll have to make even more new connections.

Network is like a muscle–the more you work it, the bigger it gets.

As Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, says: “The value of a network grows proportional to the square of the number of its users. In the case of the Internet, every new computer, every new server, and every new user added expands the possibilities for everyone else who’s already there. The same principle holds true in growing your web of relationships.

There is genius, even kindness, in being bold.

On cold calling:

“Don’t cold call – ever… instead, make a warm call… try to get others to make a connection… four rules to warm calling:

  1. convey credibility by mentioning a familiar person or institution
  2. state your value proposition how can I help you
  3. impart urgency and convenience by being prepared to do whatever it takes whenever it takes to meet the other person on his/her own terms
  4. be prepared to offer a compromise that secures a definite follow-up”

Try to make gatekeepers (like secretaries) your allies:

Always respect the gatekeeper’s power. Treat them with the dignity they deserve. Later, thank gatekeepers later by phone, flowers, or a note to make sure you will be treated kindly the next time you want to access.

Never eat alone. Never ever disappear. Keep your social and conference and event calendar full. Work hard to remain visible and active among your network of friends and contacts.

Shared interests are the basic building blocks of any relationship.

Here are some things to do in keeping in touch with business and personal friends:

  1. Fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee. It’s quick, it’s out of the office, and it’s a great way to meet someone new.
  2. Conferences. If I’m attending a conference, pull out a list of people in the area I know or would like to know better and see if they might like to drop in for a particularly interesting keynote speech or dinner.
  3. Invite someone to share a workout or a hobby (golf, chess, stamp collecting, a book club, etc.).
  4. A quick early breakfast, lunch, drinks after work, or dinner together. There’s nothing like food to break the ice.
  5. Invite someone to a special event, such as the theater, a book-signing party, or a concert is made even more special if I bring along a few people who I think might particularly enjoy the occasion.
  6. Entertaining at home. I view dinner parties at home as sacred and as as intimate as possible. Invite-only one or two people you don’t know that well. By dinner’s end, make those people leaving your home feeling as if they’ve made a whole new set of friends.

Follow-up first.

It is the key to success in any field. Making sure a new acquaintance retains your name (and the favorable impression you’ve created) is a process you should set in motion right after you’ve met someone.

Always express your gratitude.

After meeting someone, always address the thank-you note to the person by name. Use e-mail and snail-mail. Send them as soon as possible after the meeting or interview.

80 percent of building and maintaining relationships is just staying in touch.

Connect with the superconnectors.

These people can improve your network dramatically. Super-connectors are headhunters, lobbyists, fundraisers, politicians, journalists, restaurateurs, and public relations specialists.

In one study, 56% of people surveyed found their jobs through personal connections. Of those personal connections that reaped dividends for those surveyed, few were good friends.

Often, the most important people in our network are those who are acquaintances. Researchers call it the “strength of weak ties”.

Small talk

It happens between two people who don’t know each other. Those who can confidently make conversation with anyone in any situation tend to be more successful. The goal is to start a conversation, keep it going, create a bond, and leave with the other person thinking, “I dig that person”.

When all else fails in small talk, say: “You’re wonderful – tell me more”.

When it comes to making an impression

  • First, give the person a hearty smile. It says, “I’m approachable.”
  • Maintain a good balance of eye contact.
  • Unfold your arms and relax. Crossing your arms can make you appear defensive or closed.
  • Convey their friendly intentions by shaking hands; some go further by shaking with two hands.
  • Focus on their triumphs. Laugh at their jokes.
  • And always, always, remember the other person’s name. Nothing is sweeter to someone’s ears than their own name.

Successful communication depends on the degree to which we can align ourselves and our style to match those we interact with: deliver your message in a tone and style that fit the other person best.

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Connecting is a philosophy of life, a worldview.

Its guiding principle is that every person you meet is an opportunity to help and be helped. No one gets ahead in this world without a lot of help

The only way to get people to do anything is to recognize their importance and thereby make them feel important. Every person’s deepest lifelong desire is to be significant and to be recognized. Discover what matters to them. Help someone accomplish his/her deepest desires.

Real power comes from being indispensable: indispensability comes from being a switchboard, parceling out as much information, contacts, and goodwill to as many people – in as many different worlds – as possible.

Learn to become indispensable.

Start thinking about how you’re going to make everyone around you successful. Think of it as a game – when someone mentions a problem, try to think of solutions. Don’t wait to be asked, just do it.

As Dale Carnegie puts it, “You can be more successful in two months by becoming really interested in other people’s success than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in your own success”

A shared meal in your own home is a powerful way to comfort, nurture, and connect people.

Anchor Tenants

Try to use anchor tenants: people who are wiser, older, more experienced. They can be your mentors, parents, friends, teachers, bosses. They will allow you to reach out beyond your circle and pull in people who wouldn’t otherwise attend.

Few rules that might help you:

  1. Create a theme.
  2. Use invitation. Whether by email or handwritten note, at least a month in advance.
  3. Don’t be a kitchen slave. Hire a caterer or cook the food ahead of time or just use takeout.
  4. Create atmosphere. Candles, flowers, lighting, music sets a good mood.
  5. Forget being normal. Follow the KISS (Keep, It Simple, Silly) principle.
  6. Don’t seat couples together.
  7. Relax. have fun.


Be interesting.

Speak beyond yourself. It’s not just about being a good conversationalist, but being a person of content.

What will set you apart from everybody else is the relentless you bring you learning and presenting and selling your content.

“Everyone sees what you appear to be… few really know what you are” – Machiavelli

The one thing that no one has figured out how to outsource is the creation of ideas. Have a unique point of view is one of the only ways to ensure that today, tomorrow, and a year from now you’ll have a job.

There is no better way to learn something and become an expert at it than to have to teach it.

Ten tips on help you on your way toward becoming an expert:

  1. Get out in front and analyze the trends and opportunities on the cutting edge.
  2. Ask seemingly stupid questions.
  3. Know yourself and your talents.
  4. Always learn
  5. Stay healthy
  6. Expore yourself to unsual expericnes
  7. Don’t get discouraged
  8. Know the new technology.
  9. Develop a niche.
  10. Follow the money.

Powerful content communicated in a compelling story can energize your network and help you achieve your mission. For example, Dalai Lama understands that the message must be both simple and universal. In telling a gripping story, it must ve a) simple to understand and b) everybody can relate to. What truly moves us as human beings and prompts us into action is emotion.

Focus on your personal brand.

To become a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value. try to initiate projects on your own and in your spare time. it is built on a personal message that will become a personal advantage.

Branding bottomline: to be distinct or extinct. .

Expose your brand and create increased visibility. It might be important for your career, and for extending our network of colleagues and friends. People who are known beyond the walls of their own cubicle have a greater value.

Big company CEOs realize that to make things happen – whether it’s a public policy or a big deal with a public company – you need others.

Build relationships with the media. Start a database of newspapers and magazines that may be interested in your content.

The most important lesson of all: Never give in to hubris. Arrogance is a disease that can betray you forgetting your real friends and why they’re important.

Find mentors, find mentees, repeat.

Finding a talented and experienced mentor who is willing to invest the time and effort to develop you as a person and a professional is far more important than making career decisions based purely on salary or prestige. Attach yourself to great people and great teachers. They check your ego at the door.

You can’t simply ask somebody to be personally invested in you. There has to be reciprocity – whether it’s hard work or loyalty that you give in return.

Real networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful. It’s about working hard to give more than you get.

The best approach is to give help first, and not ask for it.

Nutshell: The key to success revolves around the power of relationships. This book provides powerful insights, tactics for building and developing the right relationships.

Suggested further reading:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes

Endless Referrals by Bob Burg

Thanks for reading! Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated : And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

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