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What if all the advice we’ve heard about networking is wrong?
What if the best way to grow your network isn’t by introducing yourself to strangers at cocktail parties, handing out business cards, or signing up for the latest online tool, but by developing a better understanding of the existing network that’s already around you?
We know that it’s essential to reach out and build a network. But did you know that it’s actually your distant or former contacts who will be the most helpful to you? Or that many of our best efforts at meeting new people simply serve up the same old opportunities we already have?
In this startling new look at the art and science of networking, business school professor David Burkus digs deep to find the unexpected secrets that reveal the best ways to grow your career.
Based on entertaining case studies and scientific research, this practical and revelatory guide shares what the best networkers really do. Forget the outdated advice you’ve already heard. Learn how to make use of the hidden networks you already have.
About the Author
DAVID BURKUS is a best-selling author, an award-winning podcaster, and management professor. In 2015, he was named one of the emerging thought leaders most likely to shape the future of business by Thinkers50, the world’s premier ranking of management thinkers.
His latest book, Under New Management, reveals the counterintuitive leadership practices that actually enhance engagement and drive performance in companies. He is also the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas. David is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review and Forbes. His work has been featured in Fast Company,Inc., the Financial Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and on CBS This Morning.
David’s innovative views on leadership have earned him invitations to speak to leaders from a variety of organizations. He’s delivered keynote speeches and workshops for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Stryker; at in-demand conferences such as SXSW and TEDx events; and to governmental leaders and military leaders at the U.S. Naval Academy and Naval Postgraduate School. He’s also the host of the award-winning podcast Radio Free Leader.
When he’s not speaking or writing, David is in the classroom. He is associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University, where he teaches courses on organizational behavior, creativity and innovation, and strategic leadership. In 2015, David was named one of the Top 40 under 40 Professors Who Inspire. He serves on the advisory board of Fuse Corps, a nonprofit dedicated to making transformative and replicable change in local government.
David lives in Tulsa with his wife and their two boys.
“David Burkus moves beyond feel-good anecdotes to instead build his powerful advice on a compelling foundation of social science and network theory. It will change the way you think about networking.”
— Cal Newport, best-selling author of Deep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You
“David Burkus is one of the world’s most highly-regarded young business thinkers — and this book shows why. FRIEND OF A FRIEND is packed with unexpected insights about networking, all built on top of a solid foundation of social science. For years, we’ve all gotten same advice about making and maintaining contacts. This book offers a fresh — and human — approach.”
— Daniel H. Pink, best-selling author of To Sell Is Human and Drive
“There’s a better way to network than hitting up mixers and throwing business cards in people’s face, David Burkus shows you how — with some hard-hitting science and fascinating stories to back it all up.”
— Jordan Harbinger, host of “The Art of Charm” podcast
“David Burkus is a gifted translator of social science research. In FRIEND OF A FRIEND, he shares not just tips on how to network more successfully, but also a new, research-based framework to help us cultivate more meaningful relationships. You’ll never look at networking the same way again.”
— Dorie Clark, best-selling author of Entrepreneurial You and Stand Out, and adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
"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." - Kirkus Reviews