As many of us have discovered, who you know is often more important than what you know. So important that networking is nearly a full-time job on its own, according to the book, “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time,” by Keith Ferrazzi. Yes, it’s filled with much wisdom and he reveals his “secrets to success“! Below is my review of the book:

First, Ferrazzi was the son of a working class dad (like mine) only his dad (unlike mine) went to the CEO of the steel company he worked for and asked the CEO to please help his son. The CEO, on the board of the local private school, immediately got Ferrazzi into a prestigious school where all the wealthy kids were driven in chauffeured limos. This school got him into Yale, which got him into Harvard Business School. When he needed to get connected to anyone, say in DC, his teachers at the private school would get him connected to other alum (like the Asst. Secretary of Commerce) who then would seemingly do anything for him. Yes, he went to a prestigious school and he repeats this over and over again from beginning to end.

When Ferrazzi took his first job at Deloitte, he sucked so bad at his job that, instead of firing him, his boss gave him a $150,000 budget to just go around and schmooze and market Deloitte services without (apparently) having to do any actual work.

Everywhere Ferrazzi went, no matter who he met — e.g., Michael Milken, Phil Knight, various other CEO’s, politicians, movie studio big-wigs, etc. — that person would immediately take him under their wing and show him the ropes. Apparently, name-dropping is one of the keys to success. I don’t think Ferrazzi ever met a name he hasn’t dropped from Rob Reiner, Howard Dean, Arnold Palmer and William F. Buckley to Michael Ovitz, Hillary Clinton, and Jack Valenti.

The other important lesson, it seems, is to never actually do your present job. While Ferrazzi was a Chief Marketing Officer, he spent all his time getting a CEO position at an internet start-up. While a CEO, he spent all of his time trying to get a better position. For example, while CEO, any time Michael Milken would fly anywhere for a cancer cause or business, he would fly along “just to watch him and learn” — all the while (we assume) on the clock at the company he was supposed to be running?

Basically, no matter what job he held, he had an almost endless supply of time, money and resources to do nothing but non-stop marketing of himself. Never, at any time, did he hold a position that he actually had to be accountable for his work, say, by billing 1800+ hours a year. The main point that struck me is that Ferrazzi apparently has no family obligations whatsoever (no spousal commitments, no attending school functions or children’s sporting events, no parents to visit or take care of) and he behaves as if every other person is in the same care-free state of living as he. He defends his way of living by saying that being balanced is B.S. — I guess it is if you don’t have a life.

Among the many useful tips for professionals include “always learn” where he recommends that you attend 3-5 conferences per year and “stay healthy” where he details how he takes a weeks vacation every other month plus takes a one day “spirituality retreat” at least once every month.

You also need to spend lots and lots of time at fancy events (including the Democratic National Convention, the Yale CEO convention, the Vanity Fair party at the old Russian Embassy, and White House dinners) and belong to lots of foundations and exclusive clubs. You also need to host at least 3 to 10 political fundraisers at your house each year for regional and national candidates. This is all besides the weekly dinner parties you throw for all the celebrities you don’t even know but whom attend because your dinner parties are just so fabulous. Oh, and you need to golf. Again, actual work is not important here.

Lots of good tips here. I can’t wait to put them into action — just as soon as my Dad can get me into that prestigious grade school.

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time is available at Amazon.

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