Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi

-Success breeds success and the rich do get richer.

-The individual who knows the right people, for the right reasons, and utilizes the power of the relationships, can become a member of the “club”.

-Success in any field, but especially in business, is about working with people, not against them.

-Reaching out to people is a way to make a difference in people’s lives as well as a way to explore and learn and enrich my own; it becomes the conscious construction of your life’s path.

-Real networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful. It is about working had to give more than you get.

-Building a career, and a life, with the help and support of friends and family and associates has some incredible virtues.

1. It’s never boring. Time-consuming, sometimes; demanding, perhaps. But dull, never. You’re always learning about yourself, other people, business, and the world, and it feels great.

2. A relationship-driven career is good for the companies you work for because everyone benefits from your own growth— it’s the value you bring that makes people want to connect with you. You feel satisfaction when both your peers and your organization share in your advancement.

3. Connecting—with the support, flexibility, and opportunities for self-development that come along with it—happens to make a great deal of sense in our new work world. The loyalty and security once offered by organizations can be provided by our own networks. Lifetime corporate employment is dead; were all free agents now, managing our own careers across multiple jobs and companies. And because todays primary currency is information, a wide-reaching network is one of the surest ways to become and remain thought leaders of our respective fields.

-He thought of relationships as finite, like a pie that can be cut into only so many pieces. Take a piece away, and there was that much less for him. I knew, however, that relationships are more like muscles—the more you work them, the stronger they become.

If I’m going to take the time to meet with somebody, I’m going to try to make that person successful. But David kept score. He saw every social encounter in terms of diminishing returns. For him, there was only so much goodwill available in a relationship and only so much collateral and equity to burn. What he didn’t understand was that its the exercising of equity that builds equity.

-In other words, the currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.

-1.Business cycles ebb and flow; your friends and trusted associates remain. A day might well come when you step into your boss’s office some afternoon to hear, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, b u t. .” Tough day, guaranteed. The experience will be a whole lot easier to handle, however, if you can make a few calls and walk into someones office soon after to hear, I’ve been waiting for this day to come for a long time. Congratulations . . . ” Job security? Experience will not save you in hard times, nor will hard work or talent. If you need a job, money, advice, help, hope, or a means to make a sale, there’s only one surefire, fail-safe place to find it—within your extended circle of friends and associates.

2. There’s no need to ponder whether it’s their lunch or yours. There’s no point in keeping track of favors done and owed. Who cares? Would it surprise you if I told you “Hollywood” David isn’t doing that well any longer? David hoarded the relational equity he had until he eventually looked around and discovered there was nothing more to hoard. Ten years after I met him at that Santa Monica café, I haven’t heard from him. In fact, no one else I know has heard from him either. Like so many industries, entertainment is a small world. Bottom line: It’s better to give before you receive. And never keep score. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.

3. The business world is a fluid, competitive landscape; yesterday’s assistant is today’s influence peddler. Many of the young men and women who used to answer my phones now thankfully take my calls. Remember, it’s easier to get ahead in the world when those below you are happy to help you get ahead, rather than hoping for your downfall. Each of us is now a brand. Gone are the days where your value as an employee was limited to your loyalty and seniority. Companies use branding to develop strong, enduring relationships with customers. In today’s fluid economy, you must do the same with your network.

-Find your “blue flame” – where passion and ability come together.

-Ask people what they think your greatest weaknesses are.

-Bill Clinton uses information as a bond to get to know you. Always write down important things about important people.

-The great myth of networking is that you start reaching out to others only when you need something. In reality, those who have the largest circle of contacts, mentors, and friends know that you must reach out to others long before you need anything at all.

-What to do while working:

(1) create a company-approved project that will force you to learn new skills and introduce you to new people within your company; (2) take on leadership positions in the hobbies and outside organizations that interest you; (3) join your local alumni club and spend time with people who are doing the jobs you’d like to be doing; (4) enrol in a class at a community college on a subject that relates to either the job you’re doing now or a job you see yourself doing in the future.

-There are a number of things that you can do to harness the power of your pre-existing network. Have you investigated the friends and contacts of your parents? How about your siblings? Your friends from college and grad school? What about your church, bowling league, or gym? How about your doctor or lawyer or Realtor or broker? Focus on your immediate network: friends of friends, old acquaintances

from school, and family (e.g. cousins).

-Always ask for it – the worst anyone can say is no.

-Mark Twain once said there are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.

-Find a mentor and learn from them: how do they speak and act?

-Introduce yourself to one new person a week. Someone on a bus, at a bar, coffee, watercooler with fellow employee etc.

How to Network

-Don’t schmooze – act with passion. To network well, make sure you reach out and appeal to someone’s emotions. Offer to help them. Seek out commonality. Bring virtue to it. In two minutes, you need to look deeply into the other person’s eyes and heart, listen intently, ask questions that go beyond just business, and reveal a little about yourself in a way that introduces some vulnerability (yes, vulnerability; it’s contagious!) into the interaction. All these things come together to create a genuine connection.

(President Clinton will reach out to shake his or her hand. Most of the time, he’ll use two hands or clasp a person’s elbow to create instantaneous warmth. He’ll make direct eye contact and, in that fleeting moment, ask a personal question or two.)

-Don’t come to the party empty-handed.

-Don’t treat those under you poorly.

-Be transparent. When meeting someone you were dying to meet say: “it’s a real pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve admired your work from afar for quite some time and have been thinking how beneficial it might be if we could meet one another.” Or if they’re impressed at what you know say “I always make a special effort to inquire about those I want to meet.”

-Don’t be too efficient.


-Before meeting new people find out what is important to them: their hobbies, challenges, goals – inside their business and out. Find out what the person is like as a human being, what he feels strongly about, and what his proudest achievements are. (Ask what sports they play? Non-profits they are involved with? Others you know who might know them? Etc).

-Check Google/Linkedin/Twitter

-Read literature from the company’s public relations department. You can even call and ask for background information based on your upcoming meeting.

-Read the annual reports to get a good idea of where the company is headed and what challenges and opportunities they will face.

-Find a point of common ground that is deeper and richer than what can be discovered in a serendipitous encounter. With knowledge about a person’s passions, needs, or interests, you can do more than connect; you’ll have an opportunity to bond and impress.

Selling an idea

To create excitement around our product, I wrote down a list of people I called “influentials”: the early adopters, journalists, and industry analysts who help spread the initial buzz about a product or service. Next, I made a list of potential customers, potential acquirers, and people who might be interested in funding us down the road. (In creating your own categories, each should correspond to your own goals.)

Take the time to list people such as:


Friends of relatives

All your spouse’s relatives and contacts

Current colleagues

Members of professional and social organizations

Current and former customers and clients

Parents of your children’s friends

Neighbors, past and present

People you went to school with

People you have worked with in the past

People in your religious congregation

Former teachers and employers

People you socialize with

People who provide services to you

People with whom you interact on Facebook

Other online connections in social media or community groups

→ Create call sheets by region and when you are in the region make sure you contact them.

Relationship Action Plan

-Set planned goals 3 years, 1 year, and 3 months from now.

-Put them into writing.

-Share them with others.

-Must be specific, believable, and actionable.

Warming the Cold Calls

-Understand that there is no perfect moment, and so you need to just go for it.

-Put your ego aside and persist in calling or writing. And when you finally connect don’t sabotage your efforts by expressing how annoyed you are that they didn’t get back to you as quickly as you would have liked.

“Hi, Serge. Its Keith Ferrazzi. Johns talked highly of you for some time, and I’ve finally got a nice excuse to give you a call. “Im calling for my friend Jeff Arnold, the founder of WebMD, who has a new, very powerful way to distribute digital content. With some of the new products you’ll be launching this quarter, it could make for the perfect partnership. I’ll be in New York next week. Let’s get together. Or, if getting together this trip isn’t convenient, I’ll make room in my schedule for whenever it’s more convenient for you.”

-> In fifteen seconds, create a warm call: (1) Convey credibility by mentioning a familiar person or institution—in this case, John, Jeff, and WebMD. (2) State your value proposition: Jeff’s new product would help Serge sell his new products. (3) Impart urgency and convenience by being prepared to do whatever it takes whenever it takes to meet the other person on his or her own terms. (4) Be prepared to offer a compromise that secures a definite follow-up at a minimum.

1) Convey credibility = Use a mutual person as an anchor.

2) State your value = Remember, IT IS ALL ABOUT THEM. What can you do for them?  First do some reconnaissance about the company and industry they’re selling in. Selling is, reduced to its essence, solving another person’s problems. And you can do that only when you know what those problems are.

3) Talk a little, say a lot = “I’m going to be in town next week. How about lunch next Tuesday? I know this will be important for both of us so I’ll make time no matter what.” Do NOT say “let’s meet sometime soon’. Make it definite. This call is just the move to get the actual appointment and is not meant to close.

4) Offer a compromise = In any informal negotiation, you go big at the outset, leaving room for compromise and the ability to ratchet down for an easier close. Close your pitch by suggesting that even if he didn’t want to hear anything about digital content, I’d love to get together with him just to meet, given our mutual friends admiration and respect. Try for a lot—it will help you settle for what it is you really need. (From Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion book – on Boy Scouts selling candy bars instead of raffle tickets.)

Warming up the Cold Email

• Live and die by your Subject line. If you don’t, your e-mail may never get read. Focus on your strongest hook, either the contact you have in common or the specific value you have to offer. Make them curious.

• Game the timing. There’s a lot of debate about the best time to e-mail, but I personally like to fire away when I think the person is apt to be spending time on e-mailing. Their morning, lunchtime, and the last hours of the workday are typical.

• Be brief. Once you’ve written a draft, the “best” version of it is usually 50 percent shorter. Yes, were half as interesting as we think! Your e-mail should fit into a single screen. If I have to scroll to get to the point, I’ve already lost interest.

• Have a clear call to action. What do you want them to do? Make your first request clear and easy. Request fifteen minutes on the phone, not just a vague phone call. Offer suggested dates and times, not just “a meeting sometime.” Short-circuit the process as much as you can, and don’t make them guess what you’re looking for.

• Read it out loud. I had an assistant who would do this with every e-mail she wrote, and it always made me laugh when I caught her in the act. But she was smart. Listening to herself, she ensured that the language was clear and conversational, and she timed it, too, with a forty-five-second limit.

-Dan Pink, in his book To Sell Is Humany tells us that the best subject lines tease one of two human needs: Utility or Curiosity. Either they clearly state the usefulness (“How to Fine-Tune Your E-Mail Subject Lines and Get Read”) or they set up an intriguing mystery that clicking will solve (“You Won’t Believe What I Did to Get My E-Mail Read”). And by the way, always make sure that your piece pays off the promise of the headline. There’s nothing generous about a bait and switch.

Manage the Gatekeeper

-Be overwhelmingly kind to assistants and secretaries.

-Always respect the gatekeeper’s power. Treat them with the dignity they deserve. If you do, doors will open for you even to the most powerful decision makers. What does it mean to treat them with dignity? Acknowledge their help. Thank them by phone, or with flowers or a note.

Turning a bad Gatekeeper around

“Im sorry, Mr. Johnson is traveling, and he’ll be gone all month,” his administrative assistant told me. “That’s okay,” I replied. “Why don’t you tell him a friend of Jane Pemberton’s called. Please tell him to call me back when he gets a chance.” With a first call you don’t want to come off as aggressive. Remember, you never, ever want to anger the gatekeeper. My second call was more of the same: establishing my presence and making it known I wouldn’t go away. “Hi, this is Keith Ferrazzi. I’m just calling back because I haven’t heard from Michael.” Here again, without being too pushy, you begin to create the presumption that his return call is imminent and expected. Johnson’s gatekeeper politely took down my message and thanked me for calling. I asked for his e-mail address, but she wouldn’t give it to me, stating privacy concerns. On the third attempt, she was less polite. “Listen,” she told me with a little edge in her voice, “Mr. Johnson is very busy, and I don’t know who you are.” Now, I could either match her tone and this would spiral downward, o r ... “Oh, I’m really sorry, I’m a personal friend of a friend of his.

I just moved into the city, and Jane suggested that I should meet Michael, and honestly, I don’t even know why besides the fact that Jane is a good friend of Michaels. Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s all wrong. Maybe Michael doesn’t know Jane well and he wouldn’t want to meet me. I apologize if this is the case.” By being so candid and even vulnerable, I put the assistant on alert. She now fears that perhaps she’s been too gruff, perhaps inappropriate, to a friend of a friend of her boss. After all, I’m just a guy following a friend’s advice. Most likely she’ll back off, worried that she’s closed the gate too tight. Then I made a suggestion: “Why don’t I just send Michael an e-mail?” And at this point, she’s thinking, “I want to be out of the middle of this thing.” So finally, I got his e-mail address. The e-mail I sent was simple: “Dear Michael, I’m a friend of Jane’s, and she suggested I talk with you... Jane thinks we should know each other.” If I had had something specific to discuss, I would have put it right up front, but the best value proposition I had was the mutual friend who felt this would be a win-win.

Never Eat Alone

I had two days, three people I wanted to see, and only one available time slot to see them all. How do you manage a situation like this? I “cloned” the dinner and invited all of them to join me. Each would benefit from knowing the others, and I’d be able to catch up with all of them and perhaps even get some creative input about the new TV show. My friend, who has a fantastic sense of humor, would enjoy the group and add a little levity to what might have been just a stodgy business meeting. I asked my friend to join me a half hour in advance at the hotel I was staying at for a little one-on-one time. And if the details of the project I was discussing with the COO were private, I might schedule a little one-on-one time with him after dinner. The point is, I’m constantly looking to include others in whatever I’m doing. It’s good for them, good for me, and good for everyone to broaden their circle of 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. This proved one of my most popular recommendations from the first edition of this book. I know, because I started getting dozens of requests a week for these meetings. So remember my earlier advice: Make sure you lay out very clearly why those fifteen minutes will be valuable to them.

2. Conferences. If I’m attending a conference in, say, Seattle, I’ll 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. For me, a special event such as an evening at 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. I like to make these events as intimate as possible. To ensure they stay that way, I generally will invite only one or two people I don’t know that well. By dinners end, I want those people leaving my home feeling as if they’ve made a whole new set of friends, and that’s hard to do if it’s a dinner filled with strangers.

7. Volunteering. Work with an organization to create a day of service that can involve five to ten volunteers, or pull together a team to join a charity walk. Or, for something more informal, pull a group together to pack lunches and distribute them in an area where you know you’ll find many people in need.

-It was in those days that I learned how powerful the art of throwing dinner parties could be in creating wonderful memories and strengthening relationships in the process. Today I can safely say my strongest links have been forged at the table. The companionable effects of breaking bread—not to mention drinking a few glasses of wine—bring people together.

-Get an anchor tenant.

Every individual within a particular peer set has a bridge to someone outside his or her own group of friends. We all have, to some degree or another, developed relationships with older, wiser, more experienced people; they may be our mentors, our parents’ friends, our teachers, our rabbis and reverends, our bosses. I call them anchor tenants; their value comes from the simple fact that they are, in relation to ones core group of friends, different. They know different people, have experienced different things, and thus, have much to teach.

Landing an anchor tenant isn’t about entertaining your dinner-party regulars. They’ll come no matter what. But an anchor allows you to reach out beyond your circle in subsequent invitations and pull in people who wouldn’t otherwise attend. To put it in terms of the company cafeteria, now that you have the CEO eating lunch at the manager’s table, other executives will jump at the opportunity to eat at the table, too.

Journalists, I’ve found, are terrific anchor guests. They aren’t particularly well paid (which makes them suckers for free meals), their profession has a good deal of intrigue, they are always on the lookout for good material and see such dinners as a potential venue for new ideas, they’re generally good conversationalists, and many folks enjoy an opportunity to get their ideas heard by someone who might publicize them to a larger audience. Artists and actors, famous or not, fall into the same category. On those occasions when you can’t land as big a fish as you might have liked, you can try to pull in a person with proximity to power: a political consultant to an interesting politician, the COO of an interesting company under an interesting CEO, and so on. In these cases, it’s about brand association. Once you’ve landed an anchor tenant, finding the right mix of people is critical. For me, the invitation list needs to be a mix of professional folks I want to do business with today, contacts I aspire to do business with down the road, and those I call “light attractors”—guests who are energetic, interesting, and willing to speak their mind. Of course, a local celebrity or two never hurts. And it goes without saying that you should have your friends and family present, as well.

-Six to ten guests, I’ve found, is the optimal number to invite to a dinner. I usually invite fourteen now, but that’s after a lot of practice. I also invite an extra six or so people to pop in before or come after for drinks and dessert. This group should be closer friends who won’t get offended about not being at the main event but will appreciate being part of the group nonetheless. Generally, when you invite someone to dinner, you get a 20 to 30 percent acceptance rate because of scheduling difficulties. When invitees say they cannot come because of another dinner or engagement, I often suggest they come before the dinner for drinks and appetizers, or even after, for dessert and drinks.

These “bonus guests” will arrive a little before dinner has concluded. I’ll have folding chairs at the ready so they can pull up next to the dinner table, have dessert, and chat with the guests. Just when most dinner parties tend to slip and people begin to look at their watches thinking about what time they have to get up in the morning, the energy level spikes with a whole new group. Suddenly, the dinner turns raucous again.

-Thursdays are wonderful days for dinner parties. It doesn’t cut into peoples weekend plans and yet folks are willing to go a little late knowing that they have only one day left in the workweek.

-Get some salads and a roasted chicken from the deli. For dessert, buy some cookies and ice cream, and keep the wine flowing.

(1) Create a theme.

(2) Send invitations (email, written etc.) Make it official and get people to RSVP early.

(3) Don’t be a kitchen slave. Cook the food ahead of time or use takeout. Always go overboard with the wine.

(4) Create atmosphere. Make sure to spend an hour or two gussying up your place. Nothing expensive or out of the ordinary, mind you. Candles, flowers, dim lighting, and music set a good mood. Add a nice centerpiece to the dinner table. Get a young family member to walk around serving drinks if you don’t have a bartender or waiter. The point is to give your guests all the signals they need to understand that it’s time to enjoy.

(5) Forget being formal. Most dinner parties don’t call for anything fancy. Follow the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Silly). Good food. Good people. Lots of wine. Good conversation. That’s a successful dinner party. I always underdress just so no one else feels they did. Jeans and a jacket are my standard fare, but you judge for yourself.

(6) Don't seat couples together. The essence of a good dinner party lies in seating everyone properly. If you seat couples together, things can get boring. Mix and match, putting people together who don’t know each other but perhaps share an interest of some kind. I like to set placeholders where I want people to sit. Each placeholder is a simple card with the guest’s name on it. If I have the time, I love to put an interesting question or joke on the back of the card that guests can use to break the ice with one another. Or you can go out and buy funny greeting cards just to make things interesting.

(7) Relax. Guests take their cues from the host—if you’re having fun, odds are that they will, too. The night of the party, your job is to enjoy all the fruits of your labor. That’s an order.

(8) Host a virtual after-party. After an event, send your thanks along with a few photos and party highlights around via e-mail (“Bcc”ing everyone) or a private link. This friendly follow-up helps to pour water on all the seeds of connection planted at the event, and prompts your guests to do their own follow-up. They’ll be thankful!

Share Your Passions

-Friendship is created out of the quality of time spent between two people, not the quantity. There is a misconception that to build a bond, two people need to spend a great deal of time together. This is not the case. Outside your family and work, you probably can count the people you see a great deal of in the course of a month on two hands. Yet surely, you have more than ten friends. It is what you do together that matters, not how often you meet. That’s why you have to pay special attention to where you’re most comfortable and what activities you most enjoy. Usually it’s the events and activities you excel at that you’re most passionate about.

King of Content

-Generosity + Vulnerability + Accountability + Candor = Trust.

-Ultimately it’s your humanity that makes people care to listen. And it’s your admission that you, too, are human, that makes them trust you about everything else.


-Go public with failure. Being open about the fact that you’ve made mistakes tells people that you’ve got nothing to hide. Aside from that, if we would all just own up to our failures, we could stop perpetuating the crippling illusion that the ultra-successful get that way by succeeding over and over again. No! They get that way by failing over and over again, in increasingly ambitious experiments, until they succeed and succeed big. So be brave enough to put it all out there— the stuff that worked and the stuff that didn’t, with your insights on why and how to fix it next time—and watch as people snap to attention. They’ll trust you because of your experience and your honesty.

Be Interesting

-They always ask: “Would I want to spend an hour eating lunch with this person?”

-Expertise requires a much more specialized form of knowledge. It’s knowing what you have that most others do not. It’s your differentiation. It’s the message that will make your brand unique, attracting others to become a part of your network.

-I’ve never met a journalist with a gatekeeper. Moreover, I’ve never had my calls go unreturned after leaving a message that said, “I’ve got the inside scoop on how the gaming industry is going to revolutionize marketing. I’ve appreciated your work for a long time now; I believe you are the right person to break this story.” I’ve been leaving those kinds of messages on reporters’ voice mail for years, and reporters are hugely appreciative. Most of the time, the story doesn’t even involve my company or me. I’m just building the credibility I’ll need when the day comes to make my own pitch.

(3) Know yourself and your talents. I had no chance competing with the science geeks at ICI. In developing an expertise that highlighted my strengths, I was able to overcome my weaknesses. The trick is not to work obsessively on the skills and talents you lack, but to focus and cultivate your strengths so that your weaknesses matter less. I’d apply the 80/20 rule, in that you should spend some time getting better at your weaknesses but really focus on building your strengths.

Build Your Brand

  1. Develop a Personal Branding Message

  2. Package the Brand: Style matters. Whether you like it or not, clothing, letterheads, hairstyles, business cards, office space, and conversational style are noticed—big time. The design of your brand is critical. Buy some new clothes. Take an honest look at how you present yourself. Ask others how they see you. How do you wish to be seen? You have to craft an appearance to the outside world that will enhance the impression you want to make. “Everyone sees what you appear to be,” observed Machiavelli, “few really know what you are.”

  3. Take on the projects no one wants at work. Never ask for more pay until after you’ve been doing the job successfully and become invaluable. Get on convention panels. Write articles for online publications and company newsletters. Send e-mails filled with creative ideas to your CEO. Design your own Me Inc. brochure.

-Journalists get a majority of their stories from people who have sought them out, and not the other way around. And like everyone else in any profession, they tend to follow the herd. Which means once you get written about, other reporters will come calling. Assigned you as a subject, they’ll do a quick Google search, and presto: They’ll find you are an already cited source and will seek you out to cite you again. One article creates visibility, which in turn will put you in front of other journalists, creating the possibility of more articles and visibility. A journalist’s deadlines make magazine and newspaper work the art of the possible, not the perfect.

-You have to start today building relationships with the media before you have a story you’d like them to write. Send them information. Meet them for coffee. Call regularly to stay in touch. Give them inside scoops on your industry. Establish yourself as a willing and accessible source of information, and offer to be interviewed for print, radio, or TV. Never say, “No comment.”

-Know the Media Landscape: Nothing infuriates reporters and editors morethan to get a pitch from someone who clearly has no idea what their publication is about or who their audience is. Remember, media is a business, and the companies who are in the media are looking for ratings or to sell more issues. The only way they can do that well is by serving their specific audience. “Listen, I’m a devoted reader of this magazine,” I’ll tell editors while mentioning a few recent articles I’ve enjoyed. “I’ve got a story for you that I know your audience will be interested in, as I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.” That’s not a line, either. Before I call journalists, I’ll spend time reading their articles, figuring out what they cover, and what kinds of stories their publications like to run.

-Work the Angles: There are no new stories, it has been said, only old stories told in new ways. To make your pitch sound fresh and original, find an innovative slant. What’s your slant? Anything that screams, “Now!” Let’s say you’re opening a pet store. To a magazine devoted to entrepreneurs, perhaps you play up how your store is one recent example of the entrepreneurial boom in the opening of local retail stores. Suggest why this is happening and what the magazine’s readers could learn. Selling it to your local newspaper is easy. What caused you to switch careers? What is particular to your situation that highlights something going on within your community? And don’t forget catalytic moments.

-Think Small: Go local first. Start a database of newspapers and magazines in your area that might be interested in your content. Try college papers, the neighborhood newspaper, or the free industry digital newsletter you find in your in-box. You’ll get the fire started and learn how to deal with reporters in the process.

-Make a Reporter Happy: They’re a rushed, impatient, always-stressed bunch of overachievers. Work at their pace and be available whenever they call on you. Never blow off an interview, and try to facilitate the contacts they’ll need to produce a good story.

-Master the Art of the Sound Bite: Tell me why I should write about you in ten seconds or less. If it takes more than ten seconds to pitch your content, a television producer will assume you won’t be able to get your point of view across to an impatient audience. And a reporter might try to hustle you off the phone. Learn to be brief—in both your written and phone pitches. Brevity is cherished in the media. Look at the evolution of the modern sound bite: Some thirty years ago, a presidential nominee was allowed an average sound bite of forty-two seconds. Today, it’s somewhere under seven seconds. If the president is getting only a few seconds, how much time do you think you’ll get? Think in terms of talking points. Pick the three most interesting points about your story and make them fast, make them colorful, and make them catchy.

-Trumpet the Message, Not the Messenger: Remember it’s the product you’re selling and not yourself.

-Treat Journalists as You Would Any Other Member of Your Network or Community of Friends: As in any interview, your primary objective when you meet with a member of the press is to get the person across from you to like you. The reporter is human and your empathy for his or her hard work will go a long way. Even when I feel like a piece did not do me justice, I thank the writer for his hard work. I’ll send a short thank-you e-mail no matter the size of the publication. Journalists, by the nature of their profession, are natural networkers. Couple that with a media community that’s not all that large, and you’ll understand why you want these guys on your side.

-Be a Name-Dropper: Connecting your story with a known entity—be it a politician, celebrity, or famous businessperson—acts as a de facto slant. Bottom line: The media want recognizable faces in their pages. If your story will give them access to someone they otherwise haven’t been able to get, they’ll make concessions. Or, sometimes, you can link a celebrity to your story without really knowing the person. Leave it to the journalist to track down the star. You’ve done your job by giving him reason to seek her out.

-You’ve Got to Market the Marketing: Once you’ve put in all that hard work and landed a nice article, it’s no time to be modest. Send the article around. Share it through social media. Give it to your alumni magazine. Update your class notes. Use the article to get even more press coverage. I’ll attach a recent article about me to an e-mail and in the subject line write, “Here’s another one of Ferrazzi’s shameless attempts at self-promotion.”

Getting Close to Power

-“Power by association” is the power that arises from being identified with influential people. You can see this phenomenon at work everywhere. Power that arises from internal associations, for example, can include personal assistants and gatekeepers who may not be very high on the ladder in terms of company hierarchy but who are powerful simply because of their proximity and access to the chief executive officer. External associations, such as powerful politicians, influential news reporters, mass media personalities, and so on, also help to enhance ones profile inside and outside an organization. That’s why a smart start-up company, for example, will seek to populate its board of directors with recognized business personalities who can impart credibility to a new business. Certainly, having the ear of influential celebrities or journalists can mean more favorable coverage of you and your company or an unprecedented amount of coverage for your charity.

-I’ve found that trust is the essential element of mixing with powerful and famous people—trust that you’ll be discreet, trust that you have no ulterior motives behind your approach, trust that you’ll deal with them as people and not as stars, and basically trust that you feel like a peer who deserves to be engaged as such. The first few moments of an encounter are the litmus test for such a person to size up whether he or she can trust you in these ways or not.

-Join Young People’s Organisations: There is strength in numbers, and when you join such a group, and become a central figure in that groups activities, you’ll become someone whom other powerful people will seek to deal with.

-Throw political fundraisers.

-Join Non-profit Boards: Start out by finding four or five issues that are important to you and then support them locally. Successful nonprofits seek out a few famous people to sit on their boards to help them get publicity. Eventually, the goal is to become a board member yourself and sit side by side with these people. But be sure you care and indeed want to help the cause.

Golf: Golf, among all other sports, remains the true hub of Americas business elite. I’ve seen up close and personal how high-profile CEOs and executives lobby desperately—often for years—to be admitted into a private golf club. Why do these men and women of power endure this humiliation to play a round or two? It is, of course, the relationships, the building of friendships, the camaraderie that is created with people who they know could be very important to their company or career. It comes down, again, to trust. A CEO can tell if a future business partner is discreet, if he or she plays by the rules, if he or she can handle stress or is a pleasure to be around. It is both a chance to meet new people and see if these new people are up to snuff.

Engineering Serendipity

You may not be able to rearrange your office floor plan, but you can similarly design your own life to maximize serendipity, with a little awareness. You’ll have to leave time on your schedule for things that in the moment may seem so far removed from your immediate goals that they seem silly—a trip to the park, coffee with an old classmate, going left when you would normally go right. Say yes to new experiences when you would normally say no.

The key is in adopting the attitude that this effort isn’t a distraction or even a diversion, but is, in fact, contingent on your success. In the book Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, my old friend Tony Tjan and his coauthors studied people they called “Luck Dominant,” and found that 86 percent of them credited their success to “being open to new things and people.”    

Follow-up or Fail

-When you meet someone with whom you want to establish a relationship, take the extra little step to ensure you won’t be lost in their mental attic.

-Give yourself between twelve and twenty-four hours after you meet someone to follow up. If you meet somebody on a plane, send them an e-mail later that day. If you meet somebody over cocktails, send them an e-mail the next morning. For random encounters and chance meetings, e-mail is a fine tool for dropping a quick note to say, “It was a pleasure meeting you. We must keep in touch.” In such an e-mail, I like to cite something particular we talked about in the course of our conversation—whether a shared hobby or business interest—that serves as a mental reminder of who I am. You might follow the e-mail up with a Linkedln request if you see they use the site. Depending on the circumstances and how well we clicked, I might send a Facebook request as well. There are some people who are cagey about using Facebook for work contacts, so I’m always careful to give them an easy out: “If you use Facebook for new friends, I’d love to connect here. If not, no worries—I’ll be in touch.” When I leave the meeting, I put the name and e-mail address of the new acquaintance in my contact list and program my calendar to remind me in a month’s time to drop the person another e-mail, just to keep in touch. Why go to all the trouble of meeting new people if you’re not going to work on making them a part of your life?

-In a follow-up, always reiterates the commitments everyone has made, and ask when a second follow-up meeting can be arranged. When the other person has agreed to do something, whether it’s meeting for coffee next time you’re in town or signing a major deal, try to get it in writing. It shouldn’t be formulaic or ironclad, just something such as “It was great talking to you over lunch yesterday. I wanted to follow up with some thoughts we discussed yesterday. I believe Ferrazzi Greenlight can serve the interests of your company, and I’ve had time to work out the finer details. The next time I’m in town, I’d love to get on your calendar and chat for five or ten minutes.” Nine times out of ten, the person will casually write back accepting your offer to meet again. Then, when the time comes to take that person up on his offer to talk again, you can call him with the force of his e-mail commitment “in writing” behind you.

-Another effective way to follow up is to forward relevant articles to the people in your network who might be interested.

• Always express your gratitude.

• Be sure to include an item of interest from your meeting or conversation—a joke or a shared moment of humor.

• Reaffirm whatever commitments you both made—going both ways.

• Be brief and to the point.

• Always address the thank-you note to the person by name.

• After e-mailing, send requests to connect through social media.

• Timeliness is key. Send them as soon as possible after the meeting or interview.

• Many people wait until the holidays to say thank you or reach out. Why wait? Your follow-ups will be timelier, more appropriate, and certainly better remembered.

• Don’t forget to follow up with those who have acted as the go-between for you and someone else. Let the original referrer know how the conversation went, and express your appreciation for their help.


-Start giving speeches at small conferences and getting to know people.

-The person responsible for these kinds of events is generally overworked and stressed out. I like to call these people a few months ahead of the event and say, “I’m really looking forward to the conference you’re putting together. I’m interested in helping make this year be the best year ever, and I’m willing to devote a chunk of my resources—be it time, creativity, or connections—to make this years event a smash hit. How can I help?”

-As a speaker at a conference, you have a special status, making meeting people much easier. Attendees expect you to reach out and greet them. They, in turn, give you respect that they don’t accord their fellow attendees. Instant credibility and faux fame is bestowed upon you when you’re on a stage (and pretty much any stage, at that).

First, you need something to say: You need content (which I’ll discuss in another chapter). You need to develop a spiel about the niche you occupy. In fact, you can develop a number of different spiels, catering to a number of different audiences (again, I’ll get to that later).

-When sessions open up for questions, try and be among the first people to put your hand in the air. A really well-formed and insightful question is a mini-opportunity to get seen by the entire audience. Be sure to introduce yourself, tell people what company you work for, what you do, and then ask a question that leaves the audience buzzing. Ideally, the question should be related to your expertise so you have something to say when someone comes up and says, “That was an interesting question.”

-You must remember to talk with speakers before they’ve hit the stage. Often, that anonymous schlub slurping yogurt at breakfast table will take on the aura of a celebrity after he’s spoken onstage. Find them before they’ve gained celebrity status, and you have a better chance to connect. Or ask the conference organizer (who has become your buddy anyway) to point them out if you don’t know what they look like.

Power of Weak Ties

-As a result of the study, Granovetter immortalized the phrase “the strength of weak ties” by showing persuasively that when it comes to finding out about new jobs—or, for that matter, new information or new ideas—“weak ties” are generally more important than those you consider strong. Why is that? Think about it. Many of your closest friends and contacts go to the same parties, generally do the same work, and exist in roughly the same world as you do. Thats why they seldom know information that you don’t already know. Your weak ties, on the other hand, generally occupy a very different world than you do. They’re hanging out with different people, often in different worlds, with access to a whole inventory of knowledge and information unavailable to you and your close friends.

People to Meet

-The first thing I did was ask people to introduce me to their friends in Chicago. As I met with the people my friends had suggested, I began to inquire what boards I could join to get more involved in the life of the city. Doing so, I knew, would inevitably lead to increased business for my new company. I was so young that no one really took me seriously. The traditional options, like the symphony board or country clubs, were not open to me. I had lots of offers to join the junior boards. But they were basically social groups. I wanted to be more of an activist, to make a real difference in the community. I didn’t just want to host wine tastings at a twenty-something dating mixer.

-While in-person meetings will create the deepest ties, it may be that you don’t live in a city or a town that is lousy with people who share your professional interests. In that case, take to the Internet. Launch a group on Linkedln or Facebook with the help of people in your existing network. Host monthly Google Hangouts. Poll people to see how the group can be helpful to one another— sharing information, trading referrals, coaching each other on challenges. If your group takes off, you can eventually take it to the next level with an annual in-person meeting in a convenient city. Reserve a hotel block, book a speaker, get a haircut, and you’re good to go

-Restaurant owners: make a restaurant your home and become a regular to get outstanding service to impress others.

-Fund-raisers, whether they work for a political organization, university, or nonprofit group, tend to know absolutely everybody. And while they have the unenviable job of trying to convince people every day to part with their well-earned money, they are almost always incredibly well liked. Its a selfless job often done for the best of reasons, and most people recognize that anyone who has a good friend who is a fund-raiser has an open door to a whole new world of contacts and opportunities.

-Journalists are powerful (the right exposure can make a company or turn a nobody into a somebody), needy (they’re always looking for a story), and relatively unknown (few have achieved enough celebrity to make them inaccessible). For years, since I was back at Deloitte, I’ve called on journalists at different magazines, taking them to dinners and pumping them full of good story ideas. I now know people in top positions at almost every major business magazine in the country.

-Go up to the people you don’t know at parties – because that is how you expand your network.

Expanding Your Circle

-Are there worlds you want more access to? If so, see if you can find a central figure within that world to act as your own one-person host committee. In a business context, say you plan on selling a new product that your company is introducing several months down the line, and most of your customers will be lawyers. Go to your personal lawyer, tell him about the product, and ask him if he’d be willing to come with a few of his lawyer friends to a dinner that you’d like to host. Tell him that not only will he and his friends get an early look at this fabulous new product, but they’ll have an opportunity to meet your friends, who could become potential clients. They’ll become responsible for holding events that will usher you into their group of friends. You’ll become responsible for doing the same for them.

If you are sharing someone else’s circle of friends, be sure that you adequately acknowledge the person who ushered you into this new world, and do so in all the subsequent connections that he or she helped foster. Never forget the person who brought you to the dance. I once mistakenly invited a brand-new friend to a party without inviting the person who introduced us. It was a terrible mistake, and an unfortunate lapse in judgment on my part. Trust is integral to an exchange of networks that demands treating the other person’s contacts with the utmost respect.

-It wasn’t enough to get things done. You had to get things done and make the people around you feel involved, and not just part of the process but part of the leadership. I learned that commitments weren’t commitments unless everyone involved knew what was on the table with absolute clarity. I learned how truly small the world is, especially the world of the rich and powerful.

Most important, I learned that arrogance is a disease that can betray you into forgetting your real friends and why they’re so important. Even with the best of intentions, too much hubris will stir up other people’s ire and their desire to put you in your place. So remember, in your hike up the mountain, be humble. Help others up the mountain along with and before you.

The Art of Small Talk

-The one trait that was common among the class’s most accomplished graduates was “verbal fluency.” Those who had built businesses and climbed the corporate ladder with amazing speed were those who could confidently make conversation with anyone in any situation. Investors, customers, and bosses posed no more of a threat than colleagues, secretaries, and friends. In front of an audience, at a dinner, or in a cab, these people knew how to talk.

-When the conversation is going badly be honest: “You know, Sherry, I’ve got to apologize. We don’t know each other very well, but I tend to be a whole lot more fun than I’m being this evening. Its been a tough day. I just had a board meeting where my board members put me through the wringer. More important, I just suffered a pretty difficult breakup, and its still got me down.” -> A risky opening, a flash of vulnerability, a moment of truth, and the dynamics of our conversation changed instantly.

• First, give the person a hearty smile. It says, I’m approachable.”

• Maintain a good balance of eye contact. If you maintain an unblinking stare 100 percent of the time, that qualifies as leering. That’s plain scary. If you keep eye contact less than 70 percent of the time, you’ll seem disinterested and rude. Somewhere in between is the balance you re looking for.

• Unfold your arms and relax. Crossing your arms can make you appear defensive or closed. It also signals tension. Relax! People will pick up on your body language and react accordingly.

• Nod your head and lean in, but without invading the other person’s space. You just want to show that you’re engaged and interested.

• Learn to touch people. Touching is a powerful act. Most people convey their friendly intentions by shaking hands; some go further by shaking with two hands. My favorite way to break through the distance between the person I’m trying to establish a bond with and me is to touch the other persons elbow. It conveys just the right amount of intimacy and, as such, is a favorite of politicians. It’s not too close to the chest, which we protect, but it’s slightly more personal than a hand.


-Develop conversational currency. Cultivate a niche interest and be able to discuss something interesting.

-Adjust your Johari Window – be more open or more closed depending on who you are speaking to. For example, sales people appreciate the more brash style while the CEO may not.

-The key is knowing that in conducting small talk, we should be aware of the different styles at play and adapt to the person were talking with. I know I can be gregarious and fun and outspoken when meeting with the Ferrazzi Greenlight staff. In a meeting with, say, investment bankers, who are typically hard-driving and analytical, I ratchet down the excitement and focus on being more deliberate and precise. If we address someone with the wrong style, the window may close shut with nothing revealed. No connection is made.

-One helpful technique I use is to try to envision myself as a mirror to the person with whom Im speaking. What’s the cadence of her speech? How loudly does she talk? W hats her body language? By adjusting your behavior to mirror the person you are talking to, she’ll automatically feel more comfortable. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should be disingenuous. Rather, it shows that you’re particularly sensitive to other people’s emotional temperaments. You’re just tweaking your style to ensure that the windows remain wide open.


-A man’s life motivations often come down to one of three things: making money, finding love, or changing the world.

-Make people feel important. Every person’s lifelong desire is to be significant and to be recognized.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”

-There are three things in this world that engender deep bonds between people: health, wealth, and children.

-If someone I know is looking for a job, I reach out through my network for leads. If they’ve already found a job they’re interested in, I call the decision maker. Sometimes I’ll simply help someone revise his or her resume, or act as a reference. Whatever I can do. And I do the same for businesses. For the restaurants I frequent, for example, I make it my mission to send as much business their way as possible. I work hard to funnel customers to all my contacts who are consultants, vendors, and suppliers of all stripes. I know they are good, I trust them, and I want others to benefit from their expertise as well.

-Professor Adam Grant at Wharton found that people fall into one of three orientations: There are givers, who seek opportunities to give to others without expectation of anything in return; takers, who hoard resources and look for ways others can serve them; and finally matchers, who like to give as much as they get.

The most successful people aren't just givers, but a particular subset. They are those who give freely but also maintain a high degree of self-interest. They are strategic with their giving, and in the long run, it protects them from becoming doormats and washing out. Grant's explanation for how they do it provides a few useful crib notes to guide you in purposeful giving:

• Give to Givers: Smart givers recognize takers and are cautious about giving to them, preferring to focus their efforts on those who might pay it forward.

• Feed Your Network First: They channel giving to bolster their social ties— in other words, they are aware of the need to nurture their own networks.

• Calendar Time for Giving: They "consolidate their giving" into chunks of energy and attention, which increases their sense of gratification and allows them to protect other time for productive work on their own projects.

-Grant focuses on finding "bargains": the five-minute favors that allow him to be very helpful to someone at very little cost to him in time or effort. Examples might include providing recommendations, forwarding resources, or answering questions.

Social Arbitrage

-Social arbitrage is setting people up and takes no effort.

-People who have contacts in separate groups have a competitive advantage because we live in a system of bureaucracies, and bureaucracies create walls,” says Burt. “Individual managers with entrepreneurial networks move information faster, are highly mobile relative to bureaucracy, and create solutions better adapted to the needs of the organization.”

-To become a knowledge broker: book summaries and reviews, events calendars, and op-eds are all easy ways to package and share knowledge. But if, for example, you’re going to do a book summary, don’t just write for an audience of “businesspeople” and send it to your entire company. Instead, write it specifically for, say, the sales team of which you’re a member, with its specific challenges and preferences in mind. It’ll be a smaller group, but I guarantee greater impact.

-Only use social media when on planes, trains and automobiles – down time.


-When the conversation starts, don’t interrupt. Show empathy and understanding by nodding your head and involving your whole body in engaging the person you’re talking with. Ask questions that demonstrate (sincerely) that you believe the other person’s opinion is particularly worth seeking out. Focus on his triumphs. Laugh at his jokes. And always, always, remember the other person’s name. Nothing is sweeter to someone’s ears than his own name. At the moment of introduction, I visually attach a person’s name to his face. Seconds later, I’ll repeat his name to make sure I got it, and then again periodically throughout the conversation.

-According to Dale Carnegie you should: become genuinely interested in other people; be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves; Let the other person do a great deal of the talking; smile; talk in terms of the other person’s interests; give honest and sincere appreciation.

-A CEO can learn from a manager, and vice versa. Some smart companies, recognizing this fact, actually have programs in place that view new hires as mentors to the company. After a month on the job, they’ll ask these new employees to jot down all their impressions with the idea that a fresh pair of eyes can see old problems and make innovative suggestions that others can’t.

Find Mentors

-That night I hung out with Pat and the senior partners into the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t try to be anyone I wasn’t. I didn’t overstretch and pretend to know more than I did. Many people believe that’s what it takes when reaching out to those above you, but in truth that often results in your making a jerk out of yourself. I remembered that my father and mother had told me to speak less in such situations; the less you say, the more you’ll likely hear. They were warning me, given my predisposition for dominating a conversation from an early age. That’s the way you learn from others, Dad said, and glean the small nuances that will help you engender a deeper relationship later on. There’s also no better way to signal your interest in becoming a mentee. People tacitly notice your respect and are flattered by the attention. That said, quiet for me isn’t exactly quiet. I asked tons of questions, suggested things that I saw from the summer, and conspired with these leaders of the firm on what was important to them—making the firm a success.

-“Look, I’ll make you a deal,” I said. “If I accept your offer, all I ask is that you give me three dinners a year at this very restaurant for as long as I’m at Deloitte. I’m in if you’re in.”

-Because I went to Deloitte Consulting, I was given more responsibilities and I learned more about consulting in the eight years that followed than most people learn in twenty. Second, I found I could make a difference given my access to the senior partners. Third, and most important, I realized that finding a talented, 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. Besides, back then the money wasn’t important. You learn in your twenties, as the saying goes, and earn in your thirties.

-They taught me some hard lessons about staying focused; that bold ideas weren’t enough if they couldn’t be executed; that the details are as significant as the theories; that you had to put people first, all people, not just those above you.

Making a Graceful Exit

-I’ll mention something meaningful that was said in the course of our conversation and say, “There are so many wonderful people here tonight; I’d feel remiss if I didn’t at least try to get to know a few more of them. Would you excuse me for a second?” People generally understand, and appreciate the honesty. There’s also always the drink option. I’ll say: “I’m going to get another drink. Would you like one?” If they say no, I don’t have an obligation to come back. If they say yes, I’ll be sure to enter into another conversation on my way to the bar. When I return with a drink, I’ll say, “I just ran into some people you should meet. Come on over.”

-In order to establish a lasting connection, small talk needs to end on an invitation to continue the relationship. Be complimentary and establish a verbal agreement to meet again, even if it’s not business. “You really seem to know your wines. I’ve enjoyed tapping your wisdom; we should get together sometime to talk about wine. We can both bring one of our more interesting bottles.”


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

• People you’re contacting to create a new relationship need to see or hear your name in at least three modes of communication—by, say, an e-mail, a phone call, and a face-to-face encounter—before there is substantive recognition.

• Once you have gained some early recognition, you need to nurture a developing relationship with a phone call or e-mail at least once a month.

• If you want to transform a contact into a friend, you need a minimum of two face-to-face meetings out of the office.

• Maintaining a secondary relationship requires two to three pings a year.

• Social media pings (status updates, retweets, comments, etc.) are terrific for ongoing relationship maintenance, especially for the fringe of your network, but they don’t replace the need for one-to-one pinging with the people in your highest-priority network, those people connected to your current goals.

-Most people are delighted, and their curiosity piqued, when someone they don’t know all that well sends them a note, however short.

-McKinsey and Company actually has a rule of thumb that one hundred days after a new CEO takes charge of a company, McKinsey assigns one of their consultants to call to see how McKinsey might help. One hundred days is, McKinsey figures, just enough time for the new CEO to feel that he or she knows what the issues and problems are, but not enough time to have gotten his or her arms around the solutions.

-For people important to my career or business, I tend to favor the value-add ping. Here I’m trying to provide something of value in my communication, recognizing when someone I know gets a promotion, or the company he or she runs has a good financial quarter, or he or she has a child. I also like to send relevant articles, short notes of advice, or other small tokens that convey that I am paying attention to what’s important to them and am eager to help.

-My personal favorite pinging occasion remains birthdays. It used to be that as you got older, the people around you started forgetting your big day (mostly because they think they want to forget their own). Now that anyone active in social media receives ubiquitous reminders, most of us wake up to a hearty, networkwide congratulations on our public profiles on our birthdays. It's honestly heartwarming— all that quantity feels good. But we still want quality, too, although people are quick to deny it.

-Normally, I get laughter and a grateful "Thanks." This time, after I had finished, the phone went silent. "Kent, you there? It's your birthday, right?" Nothing. Not a word. I thought I'd made a jerk out of myself and missed the day or something. "Kent?" Finally he stammers out, "Yeah." He was choked up, audibly holding back tears. "You all right?" "You remembered my birthday?" he said. People are always shocked by this. "You know, Keith, this year none of my brothers or sisters or family . . . well, nobody remembered my birthday. Nobody remembered," he said. "Thank you so much." He never forgot. People never do.


-The kind of false idea of balance as some sort of an equation, that you could take this many hours from one side of your life and give it to this other side, flew out the window. And with it went all the stress of trying to achieve that perfect state of equilibrium we read and hear so much about. Balance can’t be bought or sold. It doesn’t need to be “implemented.” Balance is a mind-set, as individual and unique as our genetic code. Where you find joy, you find balance. My wacky schedule works for me and perhaps only for me. The blurring of professional and personal lives isn’t for everyone. The important thing is to see connecting with others not just as another manipulative tool used toward achieving a goal but rather as a way of life. When you’re out of balance, you’ll know because you’ll be rushed, angry, and unfulfilled. When you’re balanced, you’ll be joyful, enthusiastic, and full of gratitude.

-So we try to save time by eating our lunches at our desk. We have less serendipitous conversations with colleagues, strangers, and other “nonessentials” at the watercooler. We consolidate our schedules to include only the most important actions.

People tell us, “If you just get more organized, if you strike a balance between work and home, and limit yourself to the important people in your life, you’ll feel better.” That’s just totally misguided. What they should be saying is “I gotta get a life filled with people I love.” The problem, as I see it, isn’t what you’re working on, it’s whom you’re working with.

You can’t feel in love with your life if you hate your work; and, more times than not, people don’t love their work because they work with people they don’t like. Connecting with others doubles and triples your opportunities to meet with people who can leadto a new and exciting job.

-America’s focus on individualism works against reaching out to others. Comparative studies on levels of job stress and worker dissatisfaction show that people of individualistic cultures typically report much higher stress levels than do the people who work in more community-oriented cultures. In spite of our high standard of living, wealth and privilege haven’t produced emotional well-being. Instead, as these studies show, it’s a sense of belonging that brings us happiness.

-Oscar Wilde once suggested that if people did what they loved, it would feel as if they never worked a day in their life. If your life is filled with people you care about and who care for you, why concern yourself with “balancing” anything at all?

-The single best predictor of college success had nothing to do with any metric we associate with collegiate achievement, now or then. It wasn’t GPA, SAT scores, or a number of any kind for that matter. It was, instead, the ability of a student to create or to join a study group. Kids who studied in groups, even only once a week, were more engaged in their studies, were better prepared for class, and learned significantly more than students who worked on their own. They even had more fun. Nothing else even remotely approached the power of that single variable in explaining college success

-We need to ask ourselves the kinds of questions that are the most important: What is your passion? What truly gives you pleasure? How can you make a difference?