Keith Ferrazzi Book Tour: Who’s Got Your Back

I enjoyed going to a kickoff event Tuesday night for Keith Ferrazzi‘s book tour for his new book, Who’s Got Your BackThis is a followup on his earlier bestselling book, Never Eat Alone.  He drew an audience of about 300 at the Grand Hyatt hotel. 

I had read a galley copy of the book prior to the kickoff, and the event was functionally a summary of the ideas in the book.  I definitely agree with the big idea of the book, which is that a major driver of your professional and personal success is a small number of high-quality, tight relationships.  I also agree with Keith that your support group can be more effective if you formalize it and add some structure.  Keith acknowledges that this is hardly a new idea; he’s popularizing the well-known concept of a mastermind group.  I blogged a user’s manual for a mastermind group back in 2005

There are lots of books out there on success and personal development, full of wisdom.  Unfortunately, the great majority of readers look at the books, but don’t implement a single idea.  Keith discusses this problem, and advances what I think is a powerful solution: building a group around you which will hold you to your commitments to change. 

I’m just as guilty of this.  Although I’ve been familiar with the concept of a mastermind group for a long time (at least 2 decades) i have to admit I have not formally structured one around me.  One of my personal commitments for 2009 is to create an active, aggressive, and diligent Mastermind group, and I credit Keith for pushing me on that. 


My notes on his talk follow:


Let me cut to the chase: a small number of relationships will have a dramatic influence on your career. 

Starts out by doing psychographic profile of audience: asking people to identify as circle, square, triangle, and Z.  (David: I would be amazed if there’s any psychological validity to this exercise.)

I’m so passionate about this because I think these ideas are particularly opportune

4x more people live alone today than in the past-an all time high.

Over 50% of Americans say no one has their back—and a lot of those individuals are married.

Describes our cultural lack of social capital. 

We’re an institutionally lonely ‘group of us’.  We as humans can’t live like that.

Our solution is to hunker down/carry more on our shoulders.  That’s not the answer.

We have developed program that allows you to build your own safety net/community. 

I want this group of individuals to try something new this week. 

You need a minimum of just 1 lifeline relationship. 

Asked who’s in the audience from Greenlight Community; about 25 people stand up.

In a study of high-performing teams, the #1 predictor of success was how much they cared about one another.  If you care about one another, you stop others from taking dumb risks.  Other models: Weight Watchers, AA.  We don’t have to invent anything. 

Certain individuals make you feel good about yourself.  I use Aunt Rose as my model.  I think about what she would do in a room.  Aunt Rose always cared about everybody. 

She was seeking a way to care about people.  She was always so helpful; ‘ can i get you something to drink?”  What if we walked around the world acting like hosts at a party?

These are all tactics that are part of what we call ‘instant intimacy’. 

Your personal success wheel consists of:

– giving back

– spirituality

– physical wellness

– intellectual stimulation

– financial sucess

– prof’l growth

– deep relationships

Exercise: tell a partner you choose your dream, and define your learning goal and performance goal.  And explain what you’re going to do to get there. 

What can you do to prompt people to approach you?

The book was conceived as a professional development tool, but I’m coming to the conclusion that the lifeline relationships are most important in your most intimate relationships.  The book should be an instruction manual for newlyweds.

Most of your friends lie to you.  You tell them to.  I want you to stop supercharging feedback.  People think that if someone gives you feedback you have to do something with it.  Feedback is just data.  You should want as much as possible of it. 

You need to know exactly what is holding you back.  Even if they’re wrong,  i want to know, so i can manage around it. 


Now I have 10-20 people i can call on as my lifeline relationships. 


This requires you to take more risks. 

Identify the glass ceilings you’ve created in your life.  The only thing holding you back is you.  Only you can fix your problems. 


A lot of people who read ‘never eat alone‘ are schmoozers.  They didn’t get the real message: it’s not about measuring the size of your database. 

The very things we want to hold back from people, they suffer from too.  Get over yourself; you’re not unique.

What you just did was courageous.  I’m cool if you say,
‘i’m not going to share my vulnerabilities, because i’m scared’.  but don’t say, ‘it’s weak to share my vulnerabilities.’  That’s just wrong.




Learning Goal: what you need to learn this week.

– Ask who can help you with that learning goal?

– Pick 1 habit to kick

– Pick 1 Accountability Partner for the week

– Call 1 person for a long slow dinner.