Is this business book for you?

Never Eat Alone 
Details: Hardcover, 320 pages, 2005 | price: $16.47 
By Keith Ferrazzi (with Tahl Raz) 

IN A NUTSHELL: From the book jacket: ?The ultimate networker reveals how to build a lifelong network of colleagues, contacts, friends and mentors?.  

THE KNOWLEDGE: Keith Ferrazzi was the youngest partner in the history of top consulting company Deloitte, has his own consulting business, and boasts a Rolodex of 5,000 people ? all of whom, he says, ?will all answer the phone when I call?. How does he do it? Well, one piece of advice is revealed in the title. Another is that he uses his Blackberry even while in the bathroom. (Thanks for the imagery, Keith!) For the rest, you'll have to read this innovative, interesting business book. A thoroughly modern networking tome, Never Eat Alone is stuffed with the latest lingo ? you'll learn about the ?deep bump? (building strong relationships in a short time ? Bill Clinton was a master of this); ?pinging? (reaching out to your network with occasional short emails, phone calls, or voice mails); and the ?Johari Window? (basically, a cooler way of referring to the technique of ?mirroring? the behavior and speech patterns of someone with whom you're speaking.) Ferrazzi also scores with his discussion of how to make valuable connections at industry conferences and how to handle yourself at a business or networking event. Some keys: learn to touch people (elbows are best); don't be afraid of expressing vulnerability (if you're having an off day, admit it); and make a graceful exit. And he provides five words that serve the dual purpose of making the person you're with at a networking event feel great and keeping the conversation going: ?You're wonderful. Tell me more.? Like most people who live and die by the size of their Rolodexes, Ferrazzi is guilty of the charge of exaggerated name-dropping, with Hillary Clinton, Michael Milken, and Universal Studio chief Jack Valenti among those whose names clunk heavily onto these pages. Impressive, but ... we get the point, Keith. You're more connected than Charlotte to her web. Now get back to serving up the meat. Luckily, there's much valuable and substantial advice to be found here. 

OUR TAKE: The subject of networking is an important one, but has been covered ad nauseam. Here's a book on the subject that feels fresh ? the networking equivalent of Seth Godin's Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside! Ferrazzi's relationship-building techniques are in tune with the times, and his suggested actions are do-able ... even for the socially challenged. Pick up this book, and you'll no longer eat alone.