The book of the month this month is “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi.

This book is all about relationship building and the business and life success that comes from building relationships.

When I wrote the book Magnetic Capital, I realized that there were 5 principles that are essential to raising money. Briefly, the 5 are:

  1. Relationship
  2. Trust
  3. Results
  4. Compelling Opportunity
  5. Alignment between the goals for the money and the goals for your project.

I chose this book for the book of the month because raising money and real estate investing is a relationship business. It’s one of the 5 principles and if you don’t master this one, you’re going to struggle as an investor, as a developer, as a syndicator.

Never Eat Alone is not a new book. It was first published in 2005 and I think I read it around 2010. But it’s one of those books that continues, even 15 years later to be selling well, and to have impact. I know this because I recommend to all my consulting clients and they tell me how much of an impact the book has had on their approach to relationship building.

The author comes from humble beginnings. His father was an iron worker and an immigrant. All his father knew was hard work and low wages. But his father also knew there was another system at play that he wasn’t part of. He asked one day to speak with the CEO of the steel company, a pretty audacious move. But the CEO was so intrigued with the request that Keith’s father was granted the meeting. The result of that meeting was an opening that forever changed the course of the author’s life. Keith went to the most prestigious private elementary  school in the area and then ultimately to Yale University and eventually Harvard Business School.

The success that becomes available from a school like Harvard has more to it than the quality of the information. The real differentiator is the relationships that come from being in that environment.

The author has developed global relationships that include the corridors of power in Washington, Hollywood’s A-list, and eventually led him to being elected as a global leader for tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Keith Ferrazzi distinguishes genuine relationship building from the crude desperate business card dealing networking we so often encounter at conferences.

The core of the book is a shift in mindset. Some people immediately are looking for something. True relationship building means never keeping score. It’s never simply about getting what you want. It’s about making sure that people who are important to you get what they want too.

It’s about maintaining presence in people’s minds. It’s about connecting with people in your circle of contacts all the time, not just when you need something from them. In today’s world of social media connectedness, this is both easier than ever, and in some ways more difficult than ever. It’s easier because the effort to reach out has never been easier. The environment has become so much noisier than ever before. So your interactions have to add more value to stand apart from the rest of the pack.

The author addresses the difference between a cold call and a warm interaction. People are bombarded by so much content these days, that most of it gets ignored. Interruption marketing worked 20 years ago, not any more. People are tired of being interrupted.

If you’re going to get someone’s attention, then you need to be interesting. That sounds obvious, but people rarely examine what comes out of their own mouth and ask the question “Is this interesting?” That means it needs to sound fresh and different.

If you’ve struggled to build the quality of relationships with the kind of people who could make a meaningful difference to your business, the book Never Eat Alone is for you.