Friend of a Friend Book Summary - Friend of a Friend Book explained in key points
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Friend of a Friend summary

David Burkus

Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career

4.3 (74 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

"Friend of a Friend" by David Burkus explores the hidden forces and patterns that govern relationships in our professional networks. It provides insights and practical advice on how to expand and navigate your network to improve your career prospects.

Table of Contents

    Friend of a Friend
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Connecting to people you don’t know very well leads to better networking and innovation.

    The value of a close friendship is not to be underrated. We all want to have people around who we trust and with whom we can share our feelings.

    But when it comes to work, if you’re going to be successful, you have to dump those emotional tendencies and work according to a different professional paradigm.

    Sociologically speaking, your close friends are those with whom you have strong social ties.

    But, if you cultivate ties with people you’re not so close to – that is, weak social ties – you’re going to be a better networker.

    Typically, when we're faced with challenges such as looking for a new job, we reach out to strong social ties or seek out job listings online. What’s all too readily forgotten are weak social ties, and that’s a big mistake.

    The problem with strong social ties is that they are often connected to each other as well as to you, like an interconnected cluster. In contrast, weak social ties tend to be connected to other social clusters, which means they'll spread news of your job search to entirely different groups of people.

    In fact, a Harvard University student named Mark Granovetter showed this to be scientifically true back in 1970. He surveyed people making job transitions and found that 83 percent of those who were successful in their search had managed it with the help of weak social ties.

    Interestingly enough, connecting with people you’re less close to also promotes innovation.

    In 2002, Martin Ruef, a sociology professor at Duke University, set about asking 700 start-ups how they had devised their business models.

    It turned out that practically all start-ups that had developed their business ideas from talking with weak social ties had more innovative business models than those who had relied on strong ties. This was indicated by the fact that these start-ups had, for example, filed for more patents to protect their original ideas. Additionally, Ruef and his researchers judged their ideas to be highly innovative when compared to business models and research typical of their fields.

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    What is Friend of a Friend about?

    Friend of a Friend (2018) shows how networks around us can be put to use and taken advantage of. Networking is, of course, a crucial skill for professional success – but networks themselves go even deeper and aren’t just about making new contacts. Innovation, career development and business success all have their part to play, too.

    Friend of a Friend Review

    Friend of a Friend (2018) by David Burkus explores the hidden patterns and dynamics that shape our professional networks and opportunities. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its research-backed insights and practical tips, it helps readers understand and leverage the power of their networks to advance their careers.
    • The book challenges traditional networking advice by emphasizing the importance of diverse connections, which leads to fresh perspectives and unexpected opportunities.
    • By examining the science behind relationship-building and debunking common networking myths, it keeps readers engaged and provides them with actionable strategies.

    Best quote from Friend of a Friend

    Weak ties allow for more experimentation in combining ideas from disparate sources and impose fewer demands for social conformity. - Martin Ruef

    —David Burkus
    example alt text

    Who should read Friend of a Friend?

    • Students of business and management
    • Ambitious professionals
    • Frustrated workers stuck in dead-end jobs

    About the Author

    David Burkus is a popular speaker and author, as well as an associate professor of business studies. He writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review and has given several TED talks on business and management, which have been viewed by millions of people.

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    Friend of a Friend FAQs 

    What is the main message of Friend of a Friend?

    The main message of Friend of a Friend is that building and nurturing a wide network of connections is crucial for success.

    How long does it take to read Friend of a Friend?

    The reading time for Friend of a Friend varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Friend of a Friend a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Friend of a Friend is a valuable read as it provides insights and strategies to navigate and leverage your professional network.

    Who is the author of Friend of a Friend?

    The author of Friend of a Friend is David Burkus.

    What to read after Friend of a Friend?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Friend of a Friend, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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