Saturday, August 04, 2007

The "N" Factor

The "N" stands for "networking" which of course existed long before the word came into existence - as is always the case. Even in the world of ideas and concepts, the idea or concept always pre-exists the creation of the word to describe it (at least in the world of ideas and concepts).

Well, there are probably thousands of books on networking, but I must confess that I have never read any of them, thinking them a waste of time, as I grew up in India where the art of networking has been taken, if not to its highest level, then to something pretty close to it.

However, since a couple of my friends, Adrie Reinders and Marion Freijsen, have not only written a book but even presented it to me, I had little option but to at least browse through it.

I must say that, as soon as one seeks to do so, this little book draws you into it. Not only is it "unputdownable", it is full of practical tips that any novice will do well to have in her/ his bag.

The best thing about the book is that it distinguishes between genuine networking, which consists of establishing a relationship, and what might be called merely increasing the number of visiting cards in your Rolodex or the number of addresses in your Excel.

However, even relationships (or networks) need to be managed! Reinders and Freijsen have created very helpful charts and tables. A systematic approach to networking is different from a merely intuitive approach to it - not that intuition is at all bad guide to relationships and to networking, but intuittion does need to be supplemented with systems.

They look at the role of events in enhancing networks, at sports and other interests. They examine the question of whether networks are transferrable (or can be passed on from one to another). They present various considerations in relation to charities, to e-networking tools, social networking tools, collaboration tools, networking in politics, the impact of culture on networking, et. al..

Higly recommended.

Adrie Reinders and Marion Freijsen, The N Factor, WBusinessBooks, California, USA, hardback, pp 148, $19.95

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