August 1, 2000
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Achieving Success Through Social Capital
Wayne Baker, the author of the very popular Networking Smart, has written another fascinating book about networking. Social capital, as he defines it, is the resources available in and through personal and business relationships. According to Baker, "[t]hese resources include information, ideas, leads, business opportunities, financial capital, power and influence, emotional support, even goodwill, trust, and cooperation."
Fundamentally, this book has a great layout. Let me briefly outline the five chapters: Chapter One defines social capital; Chapter Two analyzes your current personal and business networks; Chapter Three details how to increase your access to resources needed to expand your networks; Chapter Four advocates using social capital ethically and through reciprocity- one of the coolest parts of this book; and Chapter Five moves the discussion from the individual to the organization, and then offers ten practices anyone can use to increase social capital in an organization. At the end of each chapter is an excellent synopsis of that chapter.
What is essential about this book is Baker's humanitarian approach to business. Baker suggests that service to others is the best reason for building better networks. Focusing on helping others without expectation of any return brings more to you than if you focused on quid pro quo. I love that idea. Karma lives. Reading this book will teach you about "the small world principle", "clumpy", and "linchpins." Baker uses these metaphors to explain how the world is organized, and how, if you concentrate on the small-world effect, the resources you need will come to you. In essence, the more you concentrate on helping others, the more you will be helped. This is the kind of book that takes time to digest, as it is just loaded with concepts and ideas that need time to germinate.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.