David Burkus is associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University where he was recently named one of the nation’s Top 40 Under 40 Professors Who Inspire. He’s the author of four books and has delivered keynote speeches and workshops for Fortune 500 companies including Microsoft and Google. Since 2017, he’s been ranked as one of the world’s top business thought leaders by Thinkers50. He lives outside of 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 —