Networking is Not Working – Review and Key Takeaways

In All by Lucas BazemoreLeave a Comment

Derek Coburn does a phenomenal job of turning the entire concept of networking on its head in just 156 pages. This quick read is not a book you read through in an evening and never visit again. This is one of those books that you should use as a deliberate guide to helping you achieve a deeper and well connected network.

Key Takeaways ๐Ÿ”‘

If you take anything away from this book, it should be these key takeaways.

  1. Networking for the sake of networking is a poor use of your time.
  2. Focus your attention on a small, core set of high quality people.
  3. Become the node of new information, people, and resources.
  4. Genuinely & altruistically help your core group of people do and be more.
  5. Connect high-quality people with other high-quality people.
  6. This “new” way of thinking is not just a re-packaged version of what you’ve done before. It is a complete shift in the idea of networking entirely.

Review โญโญโญโญโญ

No matter what stage of life you’re in, you can begin to implement the strategies within Network is Not Working. It is a quick read, chock-full of common knowledge combined with new wisdom.

From the failings of his personal experience, Derek provides a truly fresh look at networking. Having spent over 15 – 20 hours per week for years only to yield seemingly marginal results, Derek decided to do something about it, and re-defines the entire premise of networking. Given that we at Ryze focus on relationship building, we appreciate the repetition of this throughout the book.

Derek highly emphasizes playing the long-game. He takes a relationship building approach knowing that the work done today will yield results later.

New perspectives

Derek coins 3 new terms that we REALLY liked:
The Ultimate Tiebreaker: Referring clients to your clients
The Ultimate Resource: Becoming the center of information and resources
The Ultimate Connector: Facilitating new strategic partnerships

These three ideas completely shift the concept of networking to be focused on delivering value to others in every way possible. This new approach requires a very tight focus on a select group of individuals that you are going to provide 5 star service beyond your normal duties.

This focus is the real key to making your network world class. In talking with thousands of people, we’ve discovered that a well focused effort on just the top 20 – 30 people in your life will yield orders of magnitude results than just tackling the shotgun approach. So combining this focus AND making referrals, providing resources, and creating strategic partnerships is what everyone should be doing.

Final Thoughts

This is not a book you can read once and then put aside. I just finished reading the book for a third time before writing the review. I needed time to digest the new approach and then apply the principles. Over the past year, I’ve seen a dramatic shift in the value I’ve been able to bring to others as well as the value brought back to me.

There are dozens of excellent quotes, tools, and tid bits throughout the book, that are really useful, so we strongly recommend you get yourself a copy. From client appreciation events to creating dinner parties, Derek covers almost everything to enable you to truly become a connector.


Networking is Not Working is broken into 3 digestible parts: Why Networking is Not Working, Going from Networking to Un-Networking, and then Becoming a CONECTOR (his acronym). It describes how to shift your view and take immediate action on building (or re-building) your network.

Chapter 1: Why Traditional Networking is Not Working ๐Ÿ‘Ž
Effectively, the time you spend at networking events will ultimately not be worth the benefits that you receive. The people that are high-quality are busy and are not attending networking events. Therefore the people you meet at these events are usually low quality.

Chapter 2: From Networking to Un-Networking ๐Ÿค
In order to break the pattern of old-networking, you need to shift into the mindset of adding more value to your existing clients.

Chapter 3: Clients ๐Ÿ˜Ž
This is the homework phase. You need to know your clients, their needs, their trigger phrases, and how you can help them. It takes time, but will set you up for success and impress almost everyone.

Chapter 4: Open Doors ๐Ÿšช
This is where you identify the strengths & weaknesses of your current network and fill in the gaps to become a better resource and advisor to your network. You’ll focus on finding the best individuals in multiple arenas.

Chapter 5: Nucleate ๐Ÿ”€
With your core group of high-quality individuals, you re-build your network with you in the middle. It’s not another networking group. It’s a select group of people that are in the mindset of giving. Nucleate from here to discover other high value members for your group.

Chapter 6: Events ๐ŸŽŠ
From dinners to rock-climbing, this is where the fun part is. You will create new opportunities to engage your core group and provide value to everyone. Derek definitely encourages hosting your own events to create a truly unique experience for everyone.

Chapter 7: Community ๐Ÿงก
It’s much too easy to lose touch with people without a system of following up and engagement. Use tools like CRM systems and email (or Ryze) to stay in touch with the people in your community.

Chapter 8: Triggering Ongoing Reciprocity ๐Ÿ”„
After ALL of the previous work you’ve built into your community, you can start to create new opportunities for yourself. You DONT ask, you simply create an environment for reciprocity. This includes client appreciation events, dinner parties, and even community spotlights.

Derek Coburn

Twitter: @cadredc
LinkedIn: Derek Coburn

Derek is the author of Networking is NOT working and co-founder and CEO of CADRE, an un-networking community in Washington, DC. He began his career as a financial advisor, and after the financial crisis created his strategy laid out in his book to create more value for him and his clients.