Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
December 21, 2005
Although it's not a children's book, several people have asked my opinion about Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, which I have listed in my "What I'm Reading" list. They find the title particularly intimidating, because it gives the impression of some sort of relentless networking approach, by which you can never just be at home by yourself. As many of the people I know are engineers and/or bookworms, this is a pretty intimidating concept!
However, I liked this book a lot. It's not so much about the shallow networking that the title appears to imply. It's more about forming strong connections with people, and making the interactions that you have with people positive for both sides. It's about marketing, not selling. I think that it's a much better book than the title suggests. I would say that it's a poor title, but I think that the title catches people's attention and prompts them to ask about it. So it's actually a very clever title.
I've found some of the ideas directly useful already, and I intend to read it again to jot down some more ideas. (I listened on MP3 while walking the first time, so I couldn't jot things down very easily.) In particular, the book contains a wonderful section about finding the intersection of what you're passionate about and what you're good at, and trying to do more of that in your life. He calls it your "blue flame." This helped motivate me to start this blog, after literally years of wanting to do something constructive in the area of children's books.
The ideas from Never Eat Alone have influenced my development of this blog in another way, too. Since reading it, I find that I have opened up more in reaching out to people I know to tell them about what I'm doing. To tell them that this (literacy and children's books) is something that I really care about. I've written to people who I've known for a long time, but with whom I haven't had much recent contact. I've also written to people who I know through my work in the semiconductor industry, for whom this is a completely different side of me. I've written to new friends, who are just starting to get to know me. And of course I've written to my close friends and family members.
And I have been just amazed and inspired by the outpouring of support that people from all of these groups have given to me and to this project. People have sent back detailed comments and suggestions for books, and for the structure of the website. People have added links to my website from their own blogs (such as my friend Miles), or from their organizational websites (such as the Friends of the Santa Clara City Library). They have taken their time to forward my message and site link to their book-loving friends. They have taken time to send me links to related articles that they have run across, and to the blogs of other book-loving friends. And they have asked to be on the email list that I plan to start, even though I don't have a sign-up form yet, or know when I'll commence publication. Best of all, many of the people I contacted have taken the time to let me know what and how they're doing. This is a tremendous bonus, especially during this busy holiday time of year. If I hadn't read and absorbed "Never Eat Alone" I don't believe that I would have reached out to all of these people (not right now anyway), and I would have really missed out.
All in all, I highly recommend Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, especially if you:
- Would like to feel more connected with other people;
- Are thinking of starting a new business; or
- Own your own business, but aren't that good at marketing
You might also want to check out Keith's blog. I chose to use TypePad for my blog, because I liked the look of this one. It may give you more of an idea of what the book is about.