Thomas Power knows a great many people. According to the Meet the Authors
section in A Friend in Every City, he is the ultimate connectorhe
has met over 23,000 people since 1982. And he doesnt just meet them:
he gets to know things about them, and remembers those things. Thomass encyclopedic
appetite for people, what they think, what they know and what theyve seen,
is plainly apparent in every page of A Friend in Every City, as are the
considerable talents of his coauthors. Penny Power, who hails from a strong IT
background, first came up with the concept of Ecademy, the online networking organization
she runs along with husband Thomas. Andy Coote is the dedicated writer of the
trio and one of Ecademys first BlackStar lifetime members.
This book is in many senses a companion volume to Thomass 2003 e-book, Networking
for Life, a breezy, free-wheeling manifesto, both brilliant and intensely
practical. Subtitled The Ecademy Guide to Power Networking, Networking
for Life is just that: a practical, from-the-trenches handbook. By contrast,
A Friend in Every City takes a giant step back to bring us the big (very
big) picture. Just compare this new books subtitle: One Global Family:
A Networking Vision for the Twenty-First Century.
Dont get me wrong: this new book gets quite practical, too. By the later
chapters, youre learning fascinating things about how to distinguish the
roles we play in our interactions, about how to develop value-laden blog content
(word of mouse), how to develop connections in a face-to-face context
of useful stuff. Its just that before you get there, you are going on a
journey of sweeping contextwhich I love, and suspect you will too.
The authors state that the world seems poised for a profound change,
both economically and socially, and that this sea change they observe has positioned
networking as the critical survival skill of the new century. Refreshingly, they
back up their observation with striking examples and significant reams of data.
There is a wealth of research, perspective and insight culled from dozens and
dozens of fascinating sources. Examples of relevant societal trends: a 2004 research
report found that 54 percent of social groups A and B, professional and
middle management, now want fulfillment above wealth and property. And another:
a background paper for an Internet exchange for lenders and borrowers notes that
Many have sacrificed the measurable security of a monthly wage for intangibles
like satisfaction, greater control, self-expression and time at home with family
and further, that less than 50 percent of the working population have traditional
full-time jobs today.
Talk about confirmation of why were in the business were in. This
book offers dozens of passages youll want to quote in conversations, on
teleconferences and in e-zines. Yes, the material is that good. Have a highlighter
handy and prepare to think while you read.
Paperback, 218 pages, $21.99; Ecademy Press, 2006