Never Eat Alone Summary: Keith Ferrazzi & Tahl Raz

Never Eat Alone Summary

Never Eat Alone Summary provides a free book summary, key takeaways, insightful review, best quotes and author biography of Keith Ferrazzi’s book. Helping others make more friends help make you more friends. Warmth and a little vulnerability will make your connections stronger.

Author Keith Ferrazzi is a genius networker. He says that his Palm Pilot has 5,000 people. And all these people will take his calls. This is a strong claim to make. Starting off as a self-made person, Ferrazzi built his network by helping others. This is how he honed the skills for networking. In this book Never Eat Alone, he shares his techniques. His light and engaging tale will motivate people wanting to build their networks. The author promotes generosity as his key to success. This is a profound business concept. But, Ferrazzi says it works. It sure is worth a try. We recommend this handbook to everyone who wishes to be more social and expand their connections. It will also be invaluable for people who have nothing to do on Saturday nights.

“Whom you meet, how you meet them, and what they think of you afterward should not be left to chance.”

This Summary Will Help You Learn

  • Why is personal communication the core for fast career growth;
  • How to expand your networks; and
  • Ways to speak with people so that they become your friends and contacts.


  • Develop your career on your skills to make personal relations with others.
  • To make strong connections, you must be liberal with your time and current connections.
  • “Super connectors” refer to people who connect many social networks.
  • Business connections are more crucial in flat hierarchical structures.
  • Do not be hesitant in using your reputation with a client.
  • Bill Clinton had a record of the people he met in college and his political career. He kept a record of what they talked to him about. Clinton recognized the value of goodwill.
  • Networking is a continuous process. The worst time to begin is when you want something.
  • Rather than “cold calls,” make valuable “warm calls.”
  • When you meet others, set some rapport. Find common interests. Then follow up.
  • To begin a conversation with a new person, heed their style. Focus on them. Watch for their body language. And most importantly be interesting.

Never Eat Alone Summary

Social Connections

Few corporate leaders still take pride in rough individualism. But, most successful execs learn to create huge social networks. Building and maintaining relations, in many ways, go beyond individual skills. If one has the skill to connect with others personally, he/she can make a career on this. Effective networking has two meanings. First, meeting people. Second, helping them achieve their goals. Networking is a very misunderstood word. It needs being liberal with one’s time and relations in a constant process of give-and-take. People who are building networks must help one another as they include new people. When you help others, you benefit from a linear expansion. You produce more opportunities for a greater number of people. This, in turn, leads to an ever-increasing network. The more people, the better. The Internet also works on the same concept – being open to all. The more members are contributing, the bigger the Web becomes.

The New Organizational Structures of Today and Shift in Priorities

As organizations become flatter, social networks are becoming more important. In a less hierarchical structure, alliances are vital. The “zero-gain” culture in a hierarchical structure raises the chances that all parties will suffer. Cultivating relations to counter such environment is beneficial for all. It increases profits and gives a platform for positive cooperation.

This method sharply contrasts with the business customs of the 1950s. Workers during that time gave loyalty to get long-term employment. Companies gave job stability and were each worker’s focal point. But today, employees are independent agents. Their loyalty is now more toward their interpersonal relations than their employer. If anything, rugged individualism can damage your career in today’s workplace. To raise your career opportunities, nurture relationship-building abilities. The ones who foster teams and promote leadership.

There Could Be Some Pitfalls Too

Find the people you wish to meet. Look for learned mentors who have leadership or social skills you want to develop. Or, find people who can link you with areas of career growth. But, also be wary of some pitfalls. There was a consultant who wished to enter the entertainment industry. So, he called up his classmate in Los Angeles. This classmate connected him with a friend who was organizing deals for Hollywood studios. The consultant asked the dealmaker to introduce him to a critical entertainment exec. But, the dealmaker declined. He was not ready to exhaust his social capital for a stranger. The dealmaker suffered from a typical misunderstanding about relations. One can always replenish Goodwill. It is not in limited amounts.

Former President Bill Clinton’s Networking Skills

Former President Bill Clinton understood the worth of goodwill very early on. In college only, he started collecting the names of people he met. When asked why he had a very visionary answer. He said that one day he hopes to be the governor of Arkansas. Many years later, at networking events, his virtue paid off. He warmly greeted everyone he had met years ago. Not only this, he even recalled their interests. He showed what real connections and focused goals could do. But, this is not effortless. Winston Churchill was known to be a fantastic dinner guest and conversationalist. Still, he prepped for hours before any gathering. He would rehearse jokes and comments he would do with specific people.

Building Relationships Today

Most people try to start networking when they want something. This is a huge mistake. Because the worst time for networking is when one is desperate. In contrast, the ideal time is when you do not want anything.

To expand your circle, try these:

  • Start a new project which will impart new skills and introduce to new people.
  • Run for positions in local establishments that interest you.
  • Join a professional group or your alumni to meet people. You can also find a new position there.
  • Take classes on topics relating to your work.

Acquiring new skills can make you an inspirational leader. This is very valuable in a competitive environment. Because everyone likes working for inspiring leaders. With the fast communication of today, the word can spread quickly to good/bad managers. One hears about lousy management policies, or ill-treated workers instantly.

In contrast, people also widely appreciate quality management. Late Katherine Graham was the publisher of Washington Post. She ran this company with high integrity. When she became publisher after her husband’s death, many thought she was too shy. Still, she managed the company with compassion and sincerity. This helped her build strong ties. Even with those who did not agree with the content of her newspaper.

Warm Up Exercises

If there is an appointment, always prepare. Put together a plan. Do not leave things to luck. Use the library, internet, etc. to learn maximum about the firm you are visiting. Read the company’s latest financials and new products. During the meeting, find the personal interests of the executive. Find if he/she has a business issue you can solve.

Meeting new people could be challenging. But, do not make a cold call. Instead, make a “warm call.” Start with an introduction through a common person.

In a warm call:

  • Set your credibility by citing your contact or your relevant earlier work.
  • Explain clearly why your call is important to your contacting person.
  • State your readiness to meet with the contact at their convenience.
  • If you are unable to set a specific date, formalize the next action for your business.

This is easier said than done. Especially when there is a big company to deal with. So, be creative to get the correct person. Go through your contacts and check if anyone knows somebody at the target firm. For example, Sony’s ad-agency introduced it to an entrepreneur who was providing new technology. By acting as a channel, the agency showed its helpfulness to Sony.

Be Visible

This approach is necessary for networking too. For a network to be worthwhile, it should be visible. Hence, being the centerpiece of your network, be noticeable and accessible. Keep a purposeful social schedule. Take a cue from the professionals. A CEO keeps in touch with their firm and sector by talking daily to some 50 people. In a bigger context, take the example of Hillary Clinton. On one for her political trips to the West Coast, she did many activities. She woke up at 5 in the morning every day. It was to call her office on the East Coast. She made 4-5 speeches, attended cocktail dinners. Meeting people from different homes was also part of her daily routine. And before confirming the next day’s activities, she reviewed her tasks with her staff. She met nearly 2,000 people in one day.

Networking on a big scale needs special social abilities and grit. What to do when you have many people to meet but not much time? Well, invite them for dinner together. What if you need alone time with some guests? Invite one before dinner and ask the other to stay after dessert. When you do such meetings, be considerate of the chemistry among your guests. Invite people of different backgrounds and personalities. This will make the meeting fun and exciting.

“The law of probability ensures that the more new people you know, the more op­por­tu­ni­ties will come your way and the more help you’ll get at critical junctures in your career.”

Tap into the Power of Conferences

If used properly, conferences can be great places to network and do business. To reap the most from a conference, assist in organizing it. This will give you great access to the speakers and attendees. Want to try a more aggressive approach? Try arranging your meeting while at the conference. Invite the chosen group to a special event or location.

Stay in Touch

When meeting new people, create a rapport. Talk about interesting things. Try to show that there is a common interest. Also, a meeting san a follow-up is useless. So, send a letter or an e-mail within 24 hours of your first contact. Follow-ups strengthen personal relationships. Express how much you liked the first meeting. Then, try arranging the second one. Offer to assist your new contact. Do not recall what they offered to do for you. Plus, never forget to thank the person who introduced you together.

Your networks can be precious. A sociological study was performed in 1974. It found that 56% of males in Newton, Massachusetts, got their jobs via friends. Of these people, only 55% met that person on a regular basis. Interestingly, 28% said they hardly spent any time with that person. It is clear that even weak connections have power.


A set of casual acquaintances could be a connection to a whole new network. This can include fresh ideas, friends and personalities. A social network may have thousands of people. But, only a few of these people act as the channel to most of the others. Such “super-connectors” also serve as the center of other networks. Stanley Milgram, a psychologist, researched this interpersonal super-networking. He asked a few people in Nebraska to send a parcel to a stranger through other people. This stranger was a Boston stockbroker. It was to be mailed until it reached someone knowing the broker.

One-third of the letters reached the broker after an average six mailings. Milgram found that most of his participants sent the letter to the same three people in Nebraska. These 3 “super-connectors” connected the Nebraska group to people who contacted the broker. Milgram concluded the notion of “six degrees of separation” through this test.

Besides “super-connectors,” you can build networks via lobbyists, PR people, headhunters, and fundraisers. This influences your business. Earlier salespeople spent their time arranging meetings. But, now salespeople spent their time developing relations.

“Poverty, I realized wasn’t only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself.”

Why Small Talk Is Big

Making effective small talk is also a skill. It can help you build rapport and leave a positive mark. A Stanford University School researcher performed a study on school’s graduates. He found that being a smooth talker was a key factor in their success. This refers to the ability to converse with different kinds of people at distinct intellectual levels. It does not imply being non-controversial. Being different helps you come in notice while showing you have strong opinions.

Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People. He found the power of excellent conversation. While searching for work, he signed up to teach a debating class at YMCA. His initial classes did not have more than ten students. After some classes, he asked the pupils to speak about their experiences. He observed that their confidence grew as they spoke more. Over time his class became very famous. So much so that he had to train instructors. His simple approach trained people to be great listeners. He asked them to smile, be sincere and honest and let others talk. These are ideas which still work.

How to Start Conversation with Strangers

To begin a great conversation with a stranger:

  • Be alert to body language – Smiling makes you appear welcoming and approachable. Keep eye contact while speaking. Relax your arms. Move your head slightly to show you are listening intently.
  • Make the other person feel like the center of attention – Do not look here and there.
  • Discuss something interesting and topical – Speak your mind, but also let others speak.
  • Be aware of peoples’ different styles – Understand communication differences. Suit your speaking style to the other party.

“Before my eyes, I saw proof that success breeds success and, indeed, the rich do get richer.”

Never Eat Alone Review

Never Eat Alone is a handbook for networking in a mutually beneficial and socially healthy way. Ferrazzi does not propose an approach of shaking everybody’s hand in the room or exchanging business cards. Rather, he proposes a more humane approach which will appeal to most readers. The book is divided into four parts which themselves are divided into many short chapters. Interspersed all through are brief one-page profiles of individuals who are especially great at nurturing relationships such as Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, etc. Though the profiles make for an interesting read, it is the rest of the book which contains usable action points and advice.

Ferrazzi might overstate his claims sometime, but his eloquent and clear steps for gaining access, getting close and remaining close make for a considerable leg up. Each of his 31 brief chapters emphasizes a particular concept or technique. Apart from the variations on the premise of hard-work, Ferrazzi gives counterintuitive standpoints which ring true. There are many networking suggestions on the Internet, and most people have the same things to say. Each article is only slightly different from the plethora of other articles on networking. However, Ferrazzi has some chapters in his handbook which cover areas you will not read elsewhere.

Ferrazzi writes this book from his personal experiences, how he made the biggest networking mistakes early on in his career and how he learned from them. Such derivation from his own experiences makes the book relatable. It is a business handbook which reads like a story – replete with anecdotes and personal triumphs/failures.

As with other others, there were also sections in this book which seemed a little stretched and sections which were short where readers may wish Ferrazzi would elaborate more. But, this book offers some great lessons and something new.

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Never Eat Alone Quotes

“Whom you meet, how you meet them, and what they think of you afterward should not be left to chance.”

“The law of probability ensures that the more new people you know, the more op­por­tu­ni­ties will come your way and the more help you’ll get at critical junctures in your career.”

“Poverty, I realized wasn’t only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself.”

“Before my eyes, I saw proof that success breeds success and, indeed, the rich do get richer.”

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

“A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need.”

“In the information age, openness – whether it concerns your intentions, the information you provide, or even your admiration – has become a valuable and much sought-af­ter attribute.”

“But the fact is that small talk – the kind that happens between two people who don’t know each other – is the most important talk we do.”

“In building a network, remember: Above all, never, ever disappear.”

“You have to view getting to know new people as a challenge and an opportunity.”

“Even when there is dis­agree­ment, I’ve found people will respect you more for putting your cards on the table.”

“When you’ve figured out what your content is, tell an inspiring story that will propel your friends and associates into action with spirit and fear­less­ness, motivated and mobilized by your simple and profound sto­ry­telling.”

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About the Authors

Keith Ferrazzi founded the Ferrazzi Greenlight. It is a marketing and sales consulting company. He has contributed to Inc.Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street JournalTahl Raz is an editor at Fortune Small Business. He has contributed to Inc.The San Francisco Chronicle and The Jerusalem Post.


Having read this Never Eat Alone Summary, what do you think? Is it helpful at all? Please feel free to leave your comment. We are happy to further discuss with you.

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