Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


[Review] Who’s Got Your Back

gotyourback Keith Ferrazzi’s latest book, “Who’s Got Your Back,” is about developing an inner circle of advisors who will never let you fail. This book is both inspiring and actionable – a very strong combination. 

Superheroes and Mere Mortals

I found this book to be a very reasonable and achievable approach – in other words, something I believe I can actually do.  Why do I mention this?  Well, when I read Keith’s first book “Never Eat Alone,” I was inspired but very intimidated – “Never Eat Alone” felt very compelling, but I believed Keith must be some kind of Superhero to be able to do all of the things he described in any sustained way.

In “Who’s Got Your Back,” Keith shares some of his challenges and helps us see that he is Mere Mortal after all.  In fact, he talks about how some of the relationship skillz he mentions in “Never Eat Alone” were missing inside his company.  [I can relate – I do a much better with communication, organization, and relationship management at work than I do at home.]

He then goes on to share how he has found 3 key people in his life that provide him with unvarnished feedback, encouragement, and input on life strategies.  These are the 3 people who will not let him fail – the 3 people who have “got his back.”

Five key learnings

I got a pre-release copy of this book and got an email from Keith asking me to summarize my five most compelling ideas, anecdotes or lessons that stuck with me.  I thought that was a good approach for this review, so here are mine:

  1. Generosity, Vulnerability, Candor, and Accountability are the currency required to bring people into your inner circle.  You have to invest in relationships with others, and trust comes from investing these four things.
  2. “Each of us is responsible for creating the safe place around us.”  When I read this line, I had a flashback to my post from a few years ago about taking responsibility for your own well-being.  In the context of this book, that means we are each responsible for creating the environment / demeanor that invites others in.  Sometimes, that may also mean explicitly inviting them in.
  3. “Give and Let Give.”  It’s great to be a mentor or give of your talents to others – it can be quite another thing to be able to accept the gifts and talents others share with you.  If you feel you aren’t worthy of others’ attention or “investment” it can be difficult to ask for help or accept it when it’s given.  You are worthy, and “they” are helping you because they want to – accept the help graciously.
  4. You can’t rush trust.  Throughout the book, Keith talks about having conversations over “long, slow dinners.”  Relationships take time and if you rush things or try to do too much at once, you probably won’t enjoy them as much.  Trust takes time to build – they don’t sell trust in the drive-through lane. 
  5. If you and your mentor aren’t being candid, something is wrong.  This works two ways:  1) they need to know how you (really) feel and what’s important to you, even if it’s hard to talk about; 2) they need to be able to tell you the straight scoop, even if it’s not something you want to hear.  If you have the right mentor, and you’ve created the safe place around that relationship, you can make this work – if it doesn’t feel safe, review 1-4, above, and see if you can figure out what’s missing.  Still not feeling it?  Have no fear, the book will help you get there.

Step by step, you’ll get there

This book does a great job of providing specific steps to help you through the process of building your inner circle.  I’m still working through it, but the steps are clear and concrete so I think you’ll be able to apply them on your own.  Keith also includes a lot of examples from his own life and these stories help you get a feel for what’s required of you at each step.

You’ll find a bunch of other inspiring stories, too – like the one about two real estate pros that had complementary strengths who worked together and were more successful than either could be alone.  Powerful stuff.

Who’s Got Your Back” touts itself as a program “…to build deep, trusting relationships that create success – and won’t let you fail.”  I think it delivers.