Social Chemistry Book Summary - Social Chemistry Book explained in key points
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Social Chemistry summary

Marissa King

Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection

4.3 (123 ratings)
28 mins

Brief summary

Social Chemistry by Marissa King explores how our social networks shape our behavior, emotions, and identity. King provides insights and tools to build stronger relationships and create a more positive social ecosystem.

Table of Contents

    Social Chemistry
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    Networking isn’t a chore if you know how to do it well.

    You, like most people, probably hate networking. The word might conjure corporate networking events where participants look over their conversation partners’ shoulders in search of someone more important to talk to. Or conferences where you come away with a stack of business cards and only a faint recollection of the people who own the cards.

    But think for a minute about the role relationships play in your life. A network of relationships can bring comfort, joy, intimacy, new perspectives, new experiences and so much more. When you really think about it, it’s surprising we don’t pour more time into our networks.

    The key message is: Networking isn’t a chore if you know how to do it well.

    Slick corporate networking misses the point. It’s founded on the misplaced belief that simply knowing more people brings benefits. More social status, job offers, financial gain, and insider intelligence.

    But authentic networking isn’t about treating people as assets and relationships as commodities, it’s about finding common ground, facilitating new relationships, and maintaining old ones. A good networker focuses not only on what she can give people but also on what she can get from them.

    So, how can you become a good networker? First, learn your networking style. You probably conform to one of three main types: expansionist, broker, or convenor.

    An expansionist is a hit at every conference and cocktail hour. Why? This networker is at ease with approaching strangers and exceptionally talented at forging spontaneous ties. If you’re an expansionist, you probably have an address book full of contacts. But while you know all your connections, your connections are less likely to know each other.

    A broker tends to have a diverse network of people with different interests and expertise. Brokers are naturals at bringing these varied people together by, for example, introducing their archeologist friend to that cyber-security expert they know. The connections the broker facilitates often result in innovation and collaboration. If you’re a broker, most of your contacts are, like you, creative and open-minded.

    A convenor’s network is closely interconnected. Not only are all the convenor’s key contacts valued and intimate friends, but the convenor has worked at fostering deeper relationships between those contacts. As a result, the convenor’s friends are very likely to know and move in the same circles as each other. If you’re a convenor, you’re probably trusted and valued within your network, thanks to the quality of the relationships you’ve forged there.

    No one style of networking is better than the other. But learning which style is yours can help you become a better networker.

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    What is Social Chemistry about?

    Social Chemistry (2020) is a fresh research-based approach to something that many professionals regard as a necessary evil: networking. The author demystifies how we network and explains the different networking modes available to us. The result is a convincing argument for the transformative power of good networking.

    Social Chemistry Review

    Social Chemistry (2020) by Marissa King explores the power of social networks and how they shape our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers insightful perspectives on the dynamics of social relationships, helping us understand the impact of our connections on our well-being and success.
    • Provides compelling examples from various fields of study, showcasing the role of social networks in everything from health outcomes to professional opportunities.
    • With its well-researched evidence and practical tips for fostering positive interactions, it transforms the way we think about and navigate our social lives.

    Best quote from Social Chemistry

    In combination, brokers, expansionists, and convenors make the world small.

    —Marissa King
    example alt text

    Who should read Social Chemistry?

    • Anyone who hates the idea of traditional networking events
    • Professionals who are inundated with business cards but can’t leverage their networks
    • Everyone who’s wanted to connect with a stranger but wasn’t quite sure how to do it

    About the Author

    Marissa King is a professor of organizational behavior at Yale University with a special interest in networks, social influence, and group dynamics. Her work on networking has been deployed in the opioid crisis and the fight against the loneliness epidemic. Her research features in publications like the New York Times and the Atlantic.

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    Social Chemistry FAQs 

    What is the main message of Social Chemistry?

    In Social Chemistry, Marissa King explores the power of social networks and how they impact our personal and professional lives.

    How long does it take to read Social Chemistry?

    The reading time for Social Chemistry varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Social Chemistry a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Social Chemistry is worth reading for its insightful exploration of social networks and their influence on our lives.

    Who is the author of Social Chemistry?

    The author of Social Chemistry is Marissa King.

    What to read after Social Chemistry?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Social Chemistry, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • How to Be a Power Connector by Judy Robinett
    • The Lost Art of Connecting by Susan McPherson
    • Together by Vivek H. Murthy
    • Friend of a Friend by David Burkus
    • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
    • Mastermind Dinners by Jayson Gaignard
    • Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell
    • Coffee Lunch Coffee by Alana Muller
    • The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
    • Doesn't Hurt to Ask by Trey Gowdy