The Best Books To Up Your Networking Game

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The godfather of networking: Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People. (photo: Bettmann Archive)

The godfather of networking: Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People. (photo: Bettmann Archive)


“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” We’ve all heard the saying, but how do you actually get to know people and build genuine connections in our fast-paced society? That’s the question each of the following books aims to answer.

If you’ve ever struggled through an interminably long mixer or walked out of a huge conference with no contacts, take heart: Networking is an ability you can master. In fact, after checking out some of these works, you will feel less antsy about schmoozing and highly ready to get your gab on.

Networking for People Who Hate Networking, Second Edition: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected by Devora Zack 

Networking for People Who Hate Networking, Second Edition by Devora Zack

Networking for People Who Hate Networking, Second Edition by Devora Zack


Entrepreneurs know they have to mingle to make it, but that doesn’t mean they love the chase. I’ve worked with plenty of people who saw networking as modern-day torture. To be honest, even gregarious folks can find it tough to make lasting connections. Devora Zack cuts to the chase here, giving readers actionable advice to build key relationships working from their strengths. Goodbye, awkward silences and clammy handshakes. Hello, authentic relationships.

The Networking Survival Guide, Second Edition: Practical Advice to Help You Gain Confidence, Approach People, and Get the Success You Want by Diane Darling 

The Networking Survival Guide, Second Edition by Diane Darling

The Networking Survival Guide, Second Edition by Diane Darling


Building mutually satisfying connections can be a daunting task, no matter where you are in your career. Even when I’m keynoting an event, I never forget to network with audience members who may become important friends, mentors and possibly partners. Diane Darling’s spot-on advice includes ways you can help other people rather than always being the one seeking a handout. Learn how you can become a go-to resource to boost your street cred and get closer to hitting your professional goals.

Taking the Work Out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count by Karen Wickre 

Taking the Work Out of Networking by Karen Wickre

Taking the Work Out of Networking by Karen Wickre


Do you consider yourself an introvert? An extrovert? An ambivert? Whatever your answer, Karen Wickre’s book will inspire you to rethink the way you envision networking situations. A self-identified introvert, Wickre includes stints at Google and Twitter on her impressive résumé. How did she overcome her aversion to chitchat? She embraced her strengths and modified how she networked to highlight her skill sets. I greatly appreciated Wickre’s self-awareness, plus I learned a lesson or two that I’ll incorporate into my next networking adventure.

The Connector’s Advantage: 7 Mindsets to Grow Your Influence and Impact by Michelle Tillis Lederman 

The Connector's Advantage by Michelle Tillis Lederman

The Connector’s Advantage by Michelle Tillis Lederman


Most professionals are told they need to network. What does that mean, exactly? Tillis Lederman breaks down proven strategies efficiently and effectively, outlining step-by-step protocols for each approach. Do you have 500-plus LinkedIn connections but no clue how to make the most of them? This book will help you unleash your inner connector. I am totally on board with the idea of becoming a valuable connector rather than a siloed performer. It’s something I strive to do better every day.

How to Get Ahead: A Proven 6-Step System to Unleash Your Personal Brand and Build a World-Class Network So Opportunities Come to You by Zak Slayback 

How to Get Ahead by Zak Slayback

How to Get Ahead by Zak Slayback


Ever read a book that you wish you had written? How to Get Ahead made me feel that way. Not only does Zak Slayback cut right to the chase, but he lays out specific ways to get from your current Point A to wherever Point Z lies. From relying on others’ mistakes to avoid making them yourself to getting premium introductions to power players, the author leaves no stone unturned. I love a book like this that gets me into action mode.

Power Networking for Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro by Rae A. Stonehouse 

Power Networking for Shy People by Rae A. Stonehouse

Power Networking for Shy People by Rae A. Stonehouse


Sending a shy person into a room full of seasoned networkers can lead to disaster—unless the person has read Rae Stonehouse’s advice. He expertly helps other introverted professionals overcome their self-inflicted paralysis and move expertly through face-to-face events without losing a beat. I’m a firm believer that growth comes from facing your fears. If your biggest worry is glad-handing with other career-minded people, pick up this book immediately to overcome your anxiety.

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman 

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman

How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman


I was admittedly dubious when I saw this book. Ninety seconds? Really? But I gave this classic a chance and was blown away. Nicholas Boothman reveals the secrets to developing stronger, more appealing first impressions with prospective clients, mentors, bosses and colleagues. You’ll learn how not to let your body betray your words—or vice versa. How to Make People Like You is a valuable resource for any businessperson. And yes, judgments do happen in under two minutes, so make them count.