A self-help business book that challenges conventional wisdom about networking.
As a business professor and contributor to TED and the Harvard Business Review, Burkus (Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual, 2016, etc.) has compiled plenty of anecdotes and case studies about how successful people have networked to form successful alliances, and he backs these stories with some theoretical underpinnings from the social sciences. Perhaps the most counterintuitive but convincing advice he offers is that your network’s weaker ties, the people with whom you have rarely connected for years or even decades, might prove more valuable than your closest connections. The reason? The people you know best usually know the same people and also know what you know. “Our weak ties often build a bridge from one cluster to another and thus give us access to new information,” writes the author. “Even though the strong ties in our life are more likely to be motivated to help us, it turns out that our weak ties’ access to new sources of information might be more valuable.” Each chapter ends with a set of exercises, “Practicing Online,” including a link to a template to download. In providing an overview of “how social networks operate and how they create opportunities in work and in life,” Burkus stresses the fluidity that a business landscape that changes so rapidly requires: how teams work best when they have a short shelf life, how positioning yourself to connect seemingly disparate camps pays dividends, and how important it is to know how to work inside your silo and when to step outside. The author extends his argument beyond career pragmatism, suggesting that networking events with the goal of expanding those networks are less effective than opportunities to do something together and really get to know each other. Furthermore, many prosperous business relationships begin as personal friendships, with those who like and trust each other looking for something they could accomplish together.
A fresh rethinking of a crucial process in today’s world.