Networking with a Master

Rita McGrath
4 min readAug 23, 2022

Keith Ferrazzi’s work on how people become successful is all about relationships. He’s written 4 books, which arc from person-to-person relationships and building a personal network to his latest in which he looks at the new world of work. Jeff Pfeffer praised his approach to networking in his new book on power. He’s joining me on Friday. Here’s an overview!

Never Eat Alone (2005)

This runaway best-selling book changed the way people think about networking. It also unpacked the path to success for many. The promise? If you use the concepts in the book, you’ll never have to eat alone!

Networking, described in the book, is the art of giving others what will help them achieve their goals. Keith’s early years spent working at a golf course taught him that there is almost always something you can do to create value for others — in his case, walking the course in the advance of the arrival of his wealthy employers to provide them with insight into how a ball would roll. The lesson there? Be prepared, ask questions and learn.

You need to invest in relationships before you expect to get anything out of them. Creating trust, building confidence and showing reliability all take time. People always need solid and trusting connections with other people. Keith suggests identifying three people that you’d like to get to know and investing half an hour regularly to do your research, prepare and pave the way for adding value, generously. The book also recommends some very structured ways of building your networks.

Relationships, he suggests, get stronger the more you use them. Both receiving help and asking for help strengthen the bonds. Spending time on small talk, rather than rushing to the matter at hand can deepen connections. As Keith says, “Success in life = The people you meet + what you create together.

For a behind-the-scenes look at what Keith calls “intimacy dinners” check this out.

Who’s Got Your Back? (2009)

This 2009 book suggests that one secret to success at work, and maybe in life, is to find a small group of inner circle confidantes and advisors Keith calls “lifeline relationships.” And surprisingly, after doing hundreds of…

Rita McGrath

Columbia Business School Professor. Thinkers50 top 10 & #1 in strategy. Bestselling author of The End of Competitive Advantage & Seeing Around Corners.