Connect Book Summary - Connect Book explained in key points
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Connect summary

David Bradford and Carole Robin

Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues

4.5 (642 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

Connect by David Bradford and Carole Robin is a guide to building strong relationships by fostering genuine human connections. The book gives actionable insights and tools to navigate conflict, build trust, and create meaningful relationships both in one's personal and professional life.

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    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Exceptional relationships require a growth mindset – and hard work.

    Think about the relationships in your life – your bonds with friends and colleagues, family members, and romantic partners. Maybe you’re not sure if they’re “exceptional” material, but you’d like them to go from casual to personal, from competitive to collaborative, or simply from dysfunctional to functional.


    The authors have spent their careers teaching thousands of students and clients how to build and maintain robust relationships in a variety of settings. The role of interpersonal know-how can range from increasing well-being in your personal life to being fundamental to professional success.

    You won’t, don’t need to, and can’t develop an exceptional relationship with everybody; these deepest, most authentic connections demand time and effort. That’s not to discount less-intense relationships, which provide other things we need and crave – things like intellectual stimulation, social interaction, and fun. But, as the authors point out, not every dessert can be a chocolate soufflé.

    The key message here is: Exceptional relationships require a growth mindset – and hard work.

    The following blinks highlight the six hallmarks of exceptional relationships, as well as the competencies and behaviors required to achieve them. Keep in mind that exceptional relationships aren’t an end state. Just like living, breathing organisms, they constantly change and develop – and, as such, they need a lot of TLC.


    The key in building and keeping up your relationships lies in learning how to learn – or adopting a growth mindset. This involves honing several behavioral characteristics. The first is letting go of the idea that you know best. Second, be willing to try new things and risk making mistakes. Third, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities rather than a reason to be embarrassed or give up. 


    Keep in mind that your efforts might not always yield your desired goal. It takes two to tango, and if the other person isn’t ready – or doesn’t want – to meet you on your level, the relationship won’t progress. That said, your efforts are bound to fail if you don’t put in the work. You need to take an active stance and put what you learn into practice; doing will help you personalize the lessons and reap their full benefit.


    So before we begin, choose four to five relationships that you’d like to deepen. As we go along, ask yourself how the content of each blink relates to those relationships. Keep a journal to document your thoughts and process – experiences pay off the most when you reflect on and try to understand them. 


    Good luck!




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    What is Connect about?

    Connect (2021) lays the groundwork for exceptional relationships. Drawing on social science research and the authors’ personal experience, it shares core behaviors and actionable advice to cultivate meaningful connections – leading to personal fulfillment and professional success.

    Connect Review

    Connect (2021) by David Bradford and Carole Robin is a thought-provoking book that explores the power of human connection and its impact on our personal and professional lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offering practical strategies and actionable advice, it empowers readers to cultivate meaningful relationships that drive success and fulfillment.
    • Through a blend of research-backed insights and personal stories, the book provides a comprehensive understanding of the importance of connection in all aspects of life.
    • Its engaging narrative and relatable examples make it a captivating read, ensuring that readers stay hooked throughout the entire book.

    Best quote from Connect

    Were so accustomed to disguising ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.  -François de la Rochefoucauld

    —David Bradford and Carole Robin
    example alt text

    Who should read Connect?

    • People who want to communicate better with friends, family, or romantic partners
    • Professionals looking to improve their soft skills to level up in their careers
    • Those seeking advice on how to become their best selves

    About the Author

    David Bradford received his PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan. He’s the Eugene O’Kelly II Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he developed the course Interpersonal Dynamics. “Touchy-Feely,” as it’s referred to by students, has been the most popular elective at the GSB for over 45 years and was featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and on the Today show.

    Carole Robin received her PhD in human and organization systems from Fielding University. At Stanford, where she was the Dorothy J. King Lecturer in Leadership, she expanded the Interpersonal Dynamics course and co-taught it with Bradford for nearly 20 years. She is the cofounder of Leaders in Tech, which brings the principles of Interpersonal Dynamics to Silicon Valley executives.

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    Connect FAQs 

    What is the main message of Connect?

    The main message of Connect is the power of building meaningful relationships.

    How long does it take to read Connect?

    The reading time for Connect varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Connect a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Connect is worth reading for its insights on how to foster authentic connections in both personal and professional life.

    Who is the author of Connect?

    The authors of Connect are David Bradford and Carole Robin.

    What to read after Connect?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Connect, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Leading Brain by Friederike Fabritius & Hans W. Hagemann
    • The Relationship Cure by John M. Gottman and Joan DeClaire
    • Platonic by Marisa G. Franco
    • Find Your People by Jennie Allen
    • Social Empathy by Elizabeth Segal
    • Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
    • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver
    • Sizing People Up by Robin Dreeke and Cameron Stauth
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • The Surprising Science of Meetings by Steven G. Rogelberg