Category Archives: USA

Book Review: Never Eat Alone — with Keith Ferrazzi

 
Do you know, what it’s like to drive a real Ferrazzi ?  Well, as far as this book is concerned (with a German Edition available as well), this Ferrazzi (model "Keith") clearly is driven by making both a connection and a difference.
 

Once you got used to sentences starting with expressions such as "networking super-hubs like me" ;-), you find this book to be a suprisingly complete guide to Book cover: "never eat alone" by Keith Ferrazzienhancing your very own interpersonal skills — always one connection at a time.
   At the beginning Keith Ferrazzi convincingly explains, why he believes reaching out to other people and offering your help being together the most effective (if not the only) way towards a happy as well as successful life, constantly telling examples from his own experience. You learn how to define your personal goals and then identify the right people to help you complete it. Then one gets instructions on how to get into the right mindset, while avoiding common pitfalls.
   Afterwards, Keith Ferrazzi teaches you the trade of how to successfully making connections, from in-advance research on the people you would like to meet, over pre-warming "cold" phone calls and adding meaning to small talk by showing some vulnerability, to detailed Book cover: "never eat alone" by Keith Ferrazziadvice on how to make sure, the people you once contacted won’t forget about you, while you still successfully survive the information flood caused by phone calls, appointments and contacts you gather.
   Then you proceed to the advanced concepts, containing guides to mastering typical business scenarios: You learn to systematically expand your network by e.g. finding "anchor tenants" out of other social groupings, getting most out of conferences by adding your own events and finally, well, not eating alone by inviting other people for dinner.
   Here it has to be said, that Keith Ferrazzi knows the art of pulling together the right people inside out and that his single chapter of tips on running successful dinner parties probably makes up for more substance than some entire magazines devoted to solely that topic.
 

Though some of the author’s advice may need some adjustment to your particular cultural environment, following his guidelines building your own brand by neither giving in to hubris, nor getting boring, will inevitably allow you to get along with other people in your own life much more joy- and successfully.
 

Want to give Ferrazzi’s practical approaches a try ?  Take this video as an example:
 

 
Unfortunately the book-accompanying website has been replaced by the one of its reportedly even more renowned successor Who’s got your back ?. But it’s still worth a visit, especially for Keith Ferrazzi’s blog, containing a multitude of valuable networking tips (many of which "never eat alone" discusses in greater detail…), and its community section where you can connect to and exchange with many other people practicing Ferrazzi-style business networking.
 

An Opposable Mind: Business Week interview with Roger Martin on "Integrated Thinking™ " as an approach to solving complex problems

This week in an approach to broaden my problem-solving skills and just after having subscribed to ROTMAN Magazine, I came across this highly interesting Business Week Feedroom interview with Roger Martin, the dean of Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (thus more often than not named “Dean Martin” by the incident… ;-)), who coined and trademarked the term of Integrated Thinking, promoting a "Design" approach towards solving of complex problems.
   This essentially is based on the assumption, that it may be hard to solve new and complex problems by simply applying already existing "models" derived from challenges successfully managed in the past without having to face significant trade-offs caused by the obvious contradictory nature of these pre-existing solutions.
   What to do, if you are in a highly competitive market (and who isn’t these days…) ?  Cut costs or drive innovation by further increasing them ?
   In his ROTMAN magazine article Choices, Conflict and the Creative Spark [PDF, 385 KB] Roger Martin discusses how a more holistic way of addressing an issue can lead out of the dilemma of having first to choose between and then to act upon one of seemingly contradictory models by instead drawing from all of them to create a completely new approach.
 

So integrated thinking people are those, who…

…the capacity to hold two diametrically-opposed ideas in their heads. And then, without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other, they are able to produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea.

The advantage:

Integrative Thinking shows us a way past the binary limits of ‘either/or.’ It shows us that there is a way to integrate the advantages of one solution without canceling out the advantages of an alternative solution, affording us, in the words of the poet Wallace Stevens, “the choice not between, but of.”

And despite the common believe, that this integrated way of working on complex issues likely was unique to people mostly considered "geniuses" of their time, Martin argues, that the capability of creating new successful and elegant ideas from (at least by "proven" measures…) opposable concepts indeed may possibly be trained and learned by many of us. This would lead to the de-facto conclusion, that Integrative Thinking is largely a tacit skill in the heads of people who have cultivated their opposable mind.
 

And at this very point of time Dean Roger Martin and his students are working on a proof of the assumption…

What does it need to be successful ?

 
At the year’s end mostly everybody seems to have some sort of outlook and “best wishes” on their blog, website, paper, newsletter — or whatever one sends to customers to make sure they stay well and buy again from you within the next 12 months coming.
 
While there can be huge differences between, what some "important" people think, may or may not "hit" next year, I’ll leave you into 2007 with an – as I think – really straight-to-the-point videocast of Richard St. John‘s presentation at the 2005 TED Conference. There the brightest minds of their kind meet to present their key findings first to the $ 4,000 paying attendees and now, finally, to the "public" rest of us.
 
The 3 minute presentation (which I can completely agree upon) delivers solid answers on how to be successful — independently from what you are going for in a particular case.
 
There also is a directly playable embedded version of the movie inside the German section of this post. QuickTime is required in order to view the movie.
 
See you next year !
 
 
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Guy Kawasaki “Pitching” MP3 Audio Download

Now he’s become a podcaster, either ! Guy Kawasaki now has an MP3 audio post – read by himself (!) – of his new book’s ( The Art of the Start ) third chapter on his blog for free download. There is also a podcast-feed.
 
The Art of the Pitch is an introductory guide to the process of reaching agreement — when seeking an investment, closing a sale, forming a partnership, or recruiting an employee.
   This contains many points from How to Be a Demo God, but now put into perspective concerning the pitch’s goals. Plus, near the recording’s end, there is a valuable "Bonus Track" on using certain presentation software…
 
NOTE: I mirrored the track for easier download and also set up an "off-site" sub-category within the podcasts, so you can easily tell other people’s work from our own.
 

By the way: This most beautiful flash MP3 audio player is one of the great things you get from ODEO.
 

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