Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi book summary and pdf

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi [Book Summary & PDF]

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is a guide to establishing and managing some of the most important relationships in your business life. These relationships can be used to open up new doors and opportunities, achieve great success and reach your goals. Ferrazzi emphasises the importance of networking, meeting new people and reaching out to people beyond your usual social circle.





Who is this summary for?

This summary is a great read for just about anyone who works. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is a guide to establishing and managing some of the most important relationships in your business life. These relationships can be used to open up new doors and opportunities, achieve great success and reach your goals. Ferrazzi emphasises the importance of networking, meeting new people and reaching out to people beyond your usual social circle.

About the author

American Keith Ferrazzi is an author and the CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a research and consulting firm. Ferrazzi attended Yale and Harvard Business School. Never Eat Alone was a NY Times bestseller as was his other book; Who’s Got Your Back?

In this summary

This summary will follow the same format as Ferrazzi’s book, broken up into 6 parts: The Mind Set, Goal Setting, The Skill Set, Following Up, Connections and Compatriots, and finally Trading up and Giving Back.



”Success in any field, but especially in business, is about working with people, not against them.”

Ferrazzi explains that things such as intelligence, talent, education or where you come from are important, but without the support of other people, these things mean nothing. When striving to reach goals, you can’t get there alone.

Networking in business

It’s important to remember that business is not about working against people, it’s about working with people. Without other people, you won’t find success. The most successful businesses are run by people who have a strong network of relationships with other people. Ferrazzi explains that the basics of business is always going to be people selling to other people.

”No tabulation of dollars and cents can account for one immutable fact: Business is a human enterprise, driven and determined by people.”

Ferrazzi reminds us that networking should be about helping other people be more successful, it’s about giving as much as it is about taking. In order to build a career and a life, you’re going to need the help and support of associates, friends and family. You need to make sure you help them just as much, if not more.

Networking can take up a lot of time, but it won’t be boring. True networking will allow you to learn more about yourself, other people and business. Learning is always satisfying.

Keeping score

Ferrazzi explains that you need to stop keeping score. At some point, everyone needs to ask for help, whether it be for an internship, job interview or just some life advice. A lot of people are scared of asking for help. You need to learn how to be comfortable asking for help, and just as comfortable helping others.

Ferrazzi explains that connection is all about giving and receiving. Sometimes all it takes is putting someone in contact with someone else who will be useful to them, or providing some of your own time and expertise. By doing this, Ferrazzi explains that the pie gets bigger for everyone.

”A network functions precisely because there's recognition of mutual need. There's an implicit understanding that investing time and energy in building personal relationships with the right people will pay dividends.”

So don’t keep score of how many people you’ve helped or how many times you’ve offered your time or advice. Understand that the more people you can help, the more people will be willing to help you.

In order to build great professional relationships, you need to build trust. And the best way to do this is by asking what you can do for other people, not asking what they can do for you.


”A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Ferrazzi believes that the process of deciding your goals is really important. He explains that the process helps you find direction in your life. Ferrazzi outlines the three step process as follows:

  1. Find your passion. The first step in figuring out your goals is to understand what your real dreams are. Don’t worry about obstacles such as time or money, what do you really want to achieve? If you aren’t sure, ask the people who know you best for ideas.
  2. Putting goals to paper. The next step is to compile a list of things you’d like to achieve over the next 3 years. Ferrazzi recommends you work backwards, yearly increments, then monthly. This will help you develop short-term goals that will help you reach your overall long-term goals. These goals need to be connected to people, places and things that will help you reach the goals. If there are specific people you have in mind that will be able to help, write their names down next to the corresponding goals. Then decide how you will reach out and ask for assistance
  3. Create a personal ‘board of advisors’. The final step involves finding a group of people who will be able to support you and hold you accountable. Consider these people to be your mentors and friends.

”Your goals must be specific, believable, challenging and demanding.”

Networking tricks

Ferrazzi explains that you need to build your network before you actually need it. If you don’t start reaching out to people until you need a job or some assistance, you won’t have any existing relationships to draw upon.

”The great myth of “networking” is that you start reaching out to others only when you need something like a job. In reality, people who have the largest circle of contacts, mentors, and friends know that you must reach out to others long before you need anything at all.”

Ferrazzi explains that you ned to be considerate and careful when networking, to avoid being seen as a networking ‘jerk’. There are a few rules you should follow:

  • Don’t schmooze.
  • Don’t ever gossip or believe gossip.
  • Never show up empty handed.
  • Treat everyone as equals.
  • Be transparent.
  • Be genuine.


Always be prepared

Ferrazzi explains the importance of doing your homework before you meet any new people. You want to leave them with a good lasting impression. The best way to do this is to research who they are, what their business is and what else is important to them. Researching people should be easy enough, google their name and see what you can find. The goal is to build a personal relationship that will benefit you both.

Cold calls and warm calls

Meeting someone for the first time or making a cold call is always going to be difficult. It’s easy to procrastinate or avoid doing it all together. Ferrazzi explains that the best way to make the cold call is to plunge right in, don’t hesitate. Further to this, Ferrazzi explains that you need to warm up the cold call. You can do this by establishing a sense of credibility. Find a mutual friend or acquaintance, someone that you have in common so you aren’t a complete stranger. When talking, make sure you get your message across in a quick and concise way, don’t beat around the bush! And remember, you should be focusing on what you can do for them.

Ferrazzi explains that sometimes the hardest part is actually getting in touch with the right people. Many so called ‘important’ people have assistance and secretaries who seem to get in your way. The key is to have these people on your good side, they have the power to get you in touch with the right people. Appreciate and acknowledge their help.

Never eat alone

Ferrazzi explains the importance of keeping your social calendar full. Reach out to people over breakfast, lunch or dinner. Have multiple engagements line up in a week so you know you’ve got plenty of pipelines flowing. Its important to remain an active member in the social circles, you don’t want to slip off the radar and become invisible.


”Follow up, or fail: In such a fast-paced, digital world, it's incomprehensible that only a small percentage of us decide to follow up once we've met someone new. When you meet someone with whom you want to establish a relationship, take the extra little step to ensure you won't be lost in their mental attic.”

When you meet someone new, it’s so important that you can ensure that they remember you and your name. In order to do this, you should follow up with them between twelve and twenty-four hours after meeting. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just a simple email will do. And when you meet them, try to give them a reason to follow up with you!

Conferences and connecting

Ferrazzi explains that the key function of a conference is to meet like-minded people. These are the people who will help you and be able to offer advice. Ferrazzi has a few tips to get the most out of a conference:

  • Help the organiser, or be the organiser.
  • Listen to everyone.
  • Speak up.
  • Know who you need to talk to before you arrive.
  • When it’s break time, you need to be networking.
  • Follow up with everyone you meet.
  • A conference isn’t about the speakers but the people who are attending.


The key is to always be looking to expand your circle of friends and acquaintances. Ferrazzi explains that the best way to do this is to connect your inner circle with someone else’s circle. This way, you double the amount of people in your circle and those that you can call upon.

”It's like the Internet, an interconnecting series of links in which each link works collaboratively to strengthen and expand the overall community.”

Don’t have a close network, ensure that your network is fluid and open, always welcome new people in.

Small talk

Small talk, the conversation that happens between two people who have just met, can be quite difficult. But Ferrazzi explains that it is often the most important conversations that we have. When you meet someone new, have a goal to start a conversation that can continue for some time and establish a rapport with the other person. You should be confident that when you leave, you’ve left a good, lasting impression. Ferrazzi emphasises the importance of being yourself, even to being vulnerable can be very effective. The key is to share information, this brings more power than withholding information ever can. It’s also important to remember that non-verbal cues are just as important as what you are saying. Make eye contact, smile, lean in etc. End small talk with an invitation to continue your relationship.


Ferrazzi explains that when you are making new connections, it’s important that you understand their mission. This is what makes them tick, what matters most to them. If you can unlock this, then you’ll be one step close to establishing a long-lasting relationship. When figuring out someones mission and motivation. the three main places to look are making money, finding love or changing the world.


Ferrazzi reinforces the point that it’s not about you or your success, you should focus on how you will make everyone else successful. If you can become indispensable, you will have a significant amount of power. To best indispensable you need to have plenty of information to offer, lots of useful contacts and goodwill.

”The best sort of connecting occurs when you can bring together two people from entirely different worlds. The strength of your network derives as much from the diversity of your relationships as it does from their quality or quantity.”


Ferrazzi explains the importance of what he calls “pinging”. Pinging is a quick, casual way to stay in touch. The key to maintaining a healthy relationship is to remain in regular contact. It’s important that you establish your own personal way of touching base with people, and do it regularly.

”Yes, there's grunt work involved. Pinging takes effort. That's the tough part. You have to keep pinging and pinging and pinging and never stop. You have to feed the fire of your network or it will wither or die.”



Ferrazzi stresses the importance of building your own brand. A personal brand does three important things:

  1. Provides and identity that is trustworthy and credible.
  2. Sends a message to your contacts.
  3. Attracts more people to you, allows you to stand out.

In creating your own personal brand, the first thing you need to do is develop a personal branding message. Something that people will think of when they hear your name. Next you need to work on your image, remember that we are all visual people so you need to look professional. Next, you need to get your message and brand out there, everyone needs to know about you and what you stand for. Ferrazzi explains that you need to be your own PR representative, manage your own media and know the market.


Ferrazzi explains that you need to make sure you are reaching out to the right kind of people. People who have power, are influential and will be able to make a difference in your life. He calls this ‘power by association’.

”There's nothing wrong with looking for ways to spend time with people who have accomplished more and have more wisdom than you. Once you put yourself in position to connect with the famous and powerful, the key is not to feel as if you're undeserving or an impostor. You're a star in your own right, with your own accomplishments, and you have a whole lot to give to the world.”

However important it is to reach out to powerful people, it’s just as important to maintain your current relationships. Don’t let someone who is more powerful make you forget the people who’ve been helping you for years. Every connection you make is important.

It’s a great idea to find a powerful and influential person to be a mentor to you. Ferrazzi believes that having a mentor can be really beneficial, and it’s also important to have your own mentees.

”If you take mentoring seriously, and give it the time and energy it deserves, you'll soon find yourself involved in a brilliant learning network. You'll be the recipient of more information and more goodwill than you ever imagined, as you play the role of both master and apprentice in a powerful constellation of people all simultaneously teaching and being taught.”


Key takeaways

  • It’s important to be prepared when meeting new people. Do your research.
  • Always be networking.
  • Don’t keep score.
  • It’s not about what people can do for you, but what you can do for them.
  • Conferences are important, not for the keynote speakers, but for the people who are attending the conference.
  • Work on the art of small talk.
  • Aim to be interesting, leave people wanting more.
  • Stay in touch with your contacts.
  • Create your own personal brand.
  • Follow up after you’ve met someone within 24 hours.
  • Find a mentor, and have your own mentees.
  • Reach out to powerful and influential people.

Further reading

If you enjoyed reading about how to deal with other people the definitely check out How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The principles in the book are simple, but something a lot of us fail to use or remember. This book will help you to convince people to your way of thinking, avoid arguments and become more like. If you're in a leadership or sales type role, I strongly recommend this book.

If you’re a leader it’s also worth checking out Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. This book is ideal for anyone who leads, whether it be a small team, an entire organisation, a community or a family. As a leader, it’s important to create a culture that leaves everyone happy and fulfilled, and this is exactly what Simon describes. Simon emphasises that when an environment is built on trust, teams will work together, have each other's backs, survive and thrive.

Guidelines is my eBook that summarises the main lessons from 33 of the best-selling self-help books in one place. It is the ultimate book summary; Available as a 80-page ebook and 115-minute audio book. Guidelines lists 31 rules (or guidelines) that you should follow to improve your productivity, become a better leader, do better in business, improve your health, succeed in life and become a happier person.

The Art of People is a guide written by Dave Kerpen on how to manage some of the most important people and relationships in your life. Kerne emphasises that people matter. They matter more than anything, in managing your job, career, life, and relationships. People can make all the difference between an average life and a great life.

Action steps

  • Download the complete book on Amazon.
  • Assess your current network, who else can you reach out to?
  • Tap into your current contacts and see if you can merge networks.
  • Work on the art of small talk.
  • Consider finding a mentor or being a mentor.

This summary is not intended as a replacement for the original book and all quotes are credited to the above mentioned author and publisher.