Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

The Big Idea: the key to success in life is relationships + creating with others.

  • Real networking is about helping others succeed.
  • Make goal setting a lifetime habit.
  • Young Bill Clinton would record the names and backgrounds of everyone he met on index cards.
  • Older Bill Clinton is famous for creating instant rapport with everyone who meets him.
  • Build your network long before you need it.
  • Before you meet someone, always do your homework (personal, professional, hobbies, company.)
  • Invest time in organizing your contacts using databases and LinkedIn.
  • Learn how to make a warm call. Never cold call.
  • Learn how to send a warm email. Never cold email.
  • Treat the gatekeeper with warmth.
  • Keep your social+work calendar full of events.
  • Formal networking events are lame. Instead, network on planes, at the YMCA, at church, at conferences, at dinner parties, at charity fundraisers, etc.
  • Good follow-up will separate you from everyone else. Develop a system for following up, thanking others, and finish with “next step.”
  • The real value of conference is not the content, it’s the networking. Do your research on the attendees, organize meta-events, or help the conference organizers.
  • Nourish your relationships with super-connectors.
  • Small talk is underrated as a way to connect with others.
  • Take the time to understand what motivates someone. Usually, it’s: health, wealth, or children. Help others achieve their goals.
  • Real power comes from being indispensable. Help to connect others. It costs you nothing but might change others’ lives.
  • When you hear someone has a problem, try to think how an introduction you make might lead to a solution.
  • Always be pinging. Pinging takes effort. Create an automated system for pinging.
  • An anchor tenant is someone particularly unique or interesting to make your dinner parties memorable for everyone.
  • Arrange regular dinner parties to connect people.
  • The main value of social networking is curation and learning of knowledge.
  • Robert Scoble is very selective about who he follows. Through this, Scoble stays on top of key trends in technology and then curates information to his followers. He is so effective at doing this and adds so much value that his time is in great demand from venture capitalists and business leaders.
  • Have a large, diverse social network and a small core of intimate relationships.
  • The best online networking crosses back and forth between virtual and in-person.
  • Don’t waste time trying to connect to the obvious mega-celebrity. Invest your energy connecting with the rising micro-celebrity. Connect with him before anyone else knows him.
  • When sharing content online, it’s better to be authentic, vulnerable, and candid.
  • When appropriate, co-create content to widen your audience.
  • Lucky people know how to engineer luck by creating a broad network that funnels opportunities their way.
  • If you don’t want to be in Silicon Valley, New York City, or Los Angeles, travel frequently, attend conferences, and connect online.
  • If you plan your whole life, by definition, you can’t get lucky.
  • As a leader, focus less on “todo” lists and more on “to-meet” lists.
  • Be an interesting person yourself by developing hobbies, reading voraciously, and having new experiences.
  • Remember that journalists are hungry for ideas. Develop those relationships early and ping regularly.
  • The best way to become an expert in a topic is to teach it.
  • Your message to journalists and the public must be both simple and universal.
  • In an economy that values emotion over numbers, storytellers have an edge.
  • Be the guardian of your own personal brand.
  • The best strategy for producing viral content is curation, not creation.
  • A PR firm can help you connect to journalists, but you’re the one they should be talking to.
  • Get closer to influence by joining Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), attending political fundraisers, and participating in charity fundraisers.
  • Mentors are another key to success. They teach skills and also make valuable connections.
  • Mentors expect gratitude and application of what they have taught.
  • For leaders in today’s connected age, balance is a myth. Successful leaders blend professional into personal as one.
  • Remember that people are hungry for meaning.
  • Stay focused on the big picture and helping others.

Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff

I read in the Amazon reviews that Oren Klaff is the Neil Strauss of Wall Street.  That comparison makes a lot of sense.  I really liked this book. My notes are below.


  • Pitching may be the most important thing we do.
  • What are the two brains humans have? Crocodile brain (fast thinking) and Neocortex (slow thinking)
  • Q: How does the crocodile brain think?
    1. If it’s boring, ignore it
    2. If it’s dangerous, fight or run
    3. If it’s complicated, summarize the big picture and pass it on
  • Q: How do you engage the crocodile brain?
    1. Make it feel safe
    2. Feed it short vignettes of clear, visual, and novel information
    3. Don’t make it think too hard
  • STRONG is the framework Oren Klaff uses
    1. Set the frame
    2. Tell the story
    3. Reveal the intrigue
    4. Offer the nail
    5. Nail the hook point
    6. Get the decision


  • The stronger frame absorbs the weaker frame.
  • If your frame wins, you enjoy frame control and your ideas are followed.
  • Traditional sales tactics were created for people who have already lost the frame collision and are struggling to do business from a low status position.
  • If you have to explain your authority, power, position, leverage, or advantage, you do not hold the stronger frame.
  • Frame collisions are primal. They freeze out the neocortex and bring the crocodile brain in to make decisions.
  • Weak arguments, made up of logical discussions and facts, just bounce off strong frames.
  • Three frames you will meet: power frame, time frame, analyst frame.
  • Four responses to frames: power-busting frame, time-constraining frame, intrigue frame, and prize frame.
  • The power frame is the classic frame in business. Don’t reinforce the power frame by accepting the beta role. Instead, instigate a power frame collision: 1) perpetrate a small denial or 2) act out some type of defiance, usually with light humor.
  • Eg. “Thanks for coming over. I only have 15 minutes this afternoon.”
    “That’s okay, I only have 12.” (smile)
  • Stay in control of time. Running long or beyond the point of attention shows weakness, neediness, and desperation.
  • When you feel attention drifting away, set your own time constraint, and bounce out of there.
  • The response to an analyst frame (digging into the technical/financial details prematurely) is to use the intrigue frame. First respond with summary data. Then refocus on the relationship. “The revenue is X and the profit is Y. These and other facts you can verify later, but right now what we need to focus on is: are we a good fit? Should we be doing business together?” Then invoke the intrigue frame by sharing a narrative.
  • People will pay attention only to the point where they realize that they understand everything you are saying and you have nothing new to add.
  • The prize frame is incredibly important to understand and master. Believe and behave such that you are the prize. Make the other party work for your approval and validation. “Why would I want to do business with you?”
  • Why does prizing work?
    1. We chase that which moves away from us.
    2. We want what we cannot have.
    3. We only place value on things that are difficult to obtain.


  • In most cases, you enter a new business setting with a low status position.
  • Status can depend greatly on context. A french waiter can have higher status in a restaurant than a business executive. A golf pro can have higher status on the golf course than a surgeon.
  • Having alpha status in the room makes every interaction easier.
  • Beta traps are such things as waiting in the lobby, waiting in the conference room, filling out an application, and getting a guest name badge. They reinforce the existing status differential and benefit only the higher status person.
  • If you wish to elevate your social status, redirect people to a domain in which you are an expert. This is called local star power.
  • A well-chosen, well-timed, friendly but disruptive act will neutralize the other guy’s higher status. Follow that up by moving the focus to your domain of expertise (local star power.)
  • Genuinely enjoy your work. Having fun means instant social status and stronger frames.
  • Establishing a prize frame increases your own social status.
  • Finally, confirm your alpha status by playfully making the other party make a statement that confirms your higher status. “Remind me again why I would want to do business with you.” Even if it is obvious and you are being sarcastic.


  • When pitching, always start off by saying that you’ll be brief. It will put the audience at ease.
  • There are 4 phases in this method of pitching:
    1. Introduce yourself and the big idea: 5 minutes
    2. Explain the budget and the secret sauce: 10 minutes
    3. Offer the deal: 2 minutes
    4. Stack frames for a hot cognition: 3 minutes
  • 1. Introduce yourself and the big idea
    • Share only a few big wins from your background
    • When discussing why now, talk about three market forces of social/economic/technological are converging for the perfect storm and a narrow window of opportunity
    • Use the idea introduction pattern: For [target customer] who are dissatisfied with [current offering] my idea is a [new product or service] that provides [key problem/solution features] unlike [competitive offering] my idea is [describe key features].
  • 2. Explain the budget and the secret sauce
    • Tune your level of detail to the other person’s mind.
    • Keep this section short.
    • Use push/pull (novelty/tension or dopamine/norepinephrine) to keep your audience’s attention. “There’s a real possibility that we might not be a fit for each other. But then again, if this does work out, our forces could combine to become something great.” (Mad Men Don Draper)
    • A pitch narrative is a series of tension loops. Push then pull. Create tension. Then resolve it.
    • Delivering the core of the pitch is straightforward. Package the information for the crocodile brain. Big picture. High contrast. Visual. Novel. With verified evidence.
    • Be different by discussing the budget first. Most startups overestimate revenue and overestimate costs.
    • Discuss competitors.
    • Discuss your secret sauce, your unfair advantage.
  • 3. Offer the deal: Tell them exactly what the deal is. And do this quickly so you can move to phase 4, stacking frames.


  • This is phase 4: Frame stacking and hot cognitions
  • People think they decide things rationally (slow thinking) but more often people decide things emotionally (fast thinking). We justify decisions after we’ve already decided.
  • You want to create hot cognition (emotional decisions) by stacking frames.
  • Frames you can use to create hot cognition: intrigue frame, prize frame, time frame, moral authority frame.
  • Intrigue frame: tell a narrative with the classic pattern: put a man in the jungle, have beasts attack him, get the man to the edge of the jungle but don’t save him, will he get to safety?
  • Prize frame: make the buyer qualify himself and chase you, the stronger you believe you are the prize the stronger your prize frame
  • Time Frame: introduce a gentle and friendly time pressure, this creates a scarcity bias, don’t force extreme time pressure, “the train is leaving the station at X”
  • Moral Authority Frame: if available, eg. Mother Theresa on physician volunteers for her clinics
  • No pitch is going to get to the logic center of the brain without passing through the crocodile brain first.
  • Hot cognition is fast. Cold cognition takes hours or days.


  • Showing signs of neediness is about the worst thing you can do to a pitch.
  • Neediness triggers fear, uncertainty, and avoidance.
  • Neediness equals weakness.
  • Use the Tao of Steve to eradicate neediness:
    1. eliminate your desires
    2. be excellent in the presence of others
    3. withdraw
  • Constant self-talk up to and during your pitch: I don’t need these people. They need me. I am the prize.