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Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need
by Harvey Mackay
Harvey Mackay's book, Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty, teaches you Mackay's methods of networking with people and building up your personal contacts. If crunch time comes and you need to make a late night call at 2:00 a.m. asking for a quick $20,000 because your company's books are askew, how many people do you know who you could call who would help you?
That's the question Mackay starts the book by asking. Harvey Mackay goes on to say that most of his business friends only could list two or three people, while Mackay says he could list fifty. That's probably an understatement. Harvey Mackay is probably the best networked self-help author in the world. Mackay knows people, from sitting on the board of the Sundance Film Festival, to dining with buddy billionaire Curt Carlson (now deceased), Mackay is always quick to drop names.
But will his methods work for you? Mackay is a great salesman. Toastmasters International has listed him as one of the five best public speakers in the world. And, Mackay is from Minnesota, which is like one big Norwegian network. Mackay said he recently attended his fiftieth grade-school reunion, and nearly everyone was there. Is that normal? Like all of Harvey Mackay's books, Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty, is extremely well written and very enjoyable self-help reading. And much of the advice is very solid.
For example, Mackay points out and builds upon the truism expressed by Dale Carnegie: You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.
In the storytelling style Mackay is known for he gives the example of Elmer, the lumber seller. Elmer sold lumber. Elmer's lumber was kiln-dried and cost more to store. As a result, his stuff was always more expensive than anyone else's. Still, Elmer always outsold his competition, because he spent as much time promoting his customers, the builders, as he did promoting his own goods. And they knew it. Elmer was such a factor in their success that when he died, a couple of those builders and an architect who worked for them almost went out of business.
Mackay goes on to show that to build a personal network you can draw upon demands you, yourself, be a valuable resource to other people in your network. Being needed is better than being liked. Of course, it doesn't hurt to learn the basics of suck up schmoozing either. And, Harvey teaches you those also.
Can't suck up to the big-wig? Then try sucking up to his 9-year-old child. No, really. Mackay tells an example of how someone won a major position by being nice to the son of an important person. Now, it is one thing to enjoy talking to a kid at a game, but if he is recommending this as career advice, we recommend that you suck up to the older folks first. Mackay also suggests, since politicians are the best networkers of all, that you volunteer politically to learn schmoozing from the best. And, Mackay's serious. We'll pass on that also.
But, overall there is some good advice on selling yourself and your company. Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty is probably better reading for people working as employees who want to keep their jobs or who might be seeking a move ("frogs ready to jump to a new lilypad" in Mackay speak) than as reading for bootstrap entrepreneurs.
Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty is a good self-help, career book. Our favorite Mackay book is Pushing The Envelope which is a better read for new entrepreneurs, however.
The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need