Book Review: Achieving Success Through Social Capital (Wayne Baker)

Perhaps we’re simply addicted to books about networking and the emerging “science” of social relationship theory, but we can’t help but recommend yet another publication that provides a fresh slate of insights into the many surprising ways in which we’re all connected — and the importance of these dynamics in achieving success in life, love, and work.

In this detailed treatise on the subject, author Wayne Baker, a management professor at the University of Michigan Business School, shares his extensive insights into the fundamental power of personal relationships and how individual professionals — and job hunters — can apply these dynamics to manage their “social capital” more effectively.  While a few chapters are admittedly a bit dry, as Mr. Baker discusses networking theory from an academic standpoint, the overall book is still eminently readable and of tremendous relevance to the average career-minded professional.

We particularly enjoyed the author’s description of some of the common mistakes people make when it comes to networking, such as engaging in “coin-operated networking, the mechanical view of human relationships where a deposit of a few minutes is expected to get immediate results every time, as the drop of a coin in a gumball machine always produces a gumball.”  As we’ve written about extensively, this “instant gratification” approach to relationships almost always backfires and ends up burning bridges, so we were pleased to read that Mr. Baker is in full agreement with us on this issue!

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