I bought this book following an MBA course I took on relationships in the workplace. I'm from a science background, where networking is almost a dirty word since it implies narrow interests where science is supposed to be about curiosity and the unbiased search for truth. I was hoping to get a better understanding of the networking process, the tools available both online and off and the tips and tricks that aren't obvious to those with reasonable people-skills.
Unfortunately the cons outweighed the pros on this one. Granted there are some nuggets to be found wihtin, but these are few and far between.
1) Excessive self-promotion - many of the references to other books are books written by Dr. Misner. BNI, the business referral network Dr. Misner founded is also mentioned often. Other popular references are to Misner's coauthors books, either coauthors on this book or other books. Granted that Misner is an expert on all things networking, but are there no others?
The prefix "Dr." is also mentioned very often before Misner's name. This may be a pet peeve of mine, but I can't help but get annoyed to see "Dr. Ivan Misner" so frequently in a book by Dr. Ivan Misner.
Bottom line, while Misner highlights credibility as an important part of networking, he does this poorly.
The book also opens with a story about a a BBC show called The Last Millionaire where the contestants are dropped off in the middle of Hong Kong with a little money and are expected to create a business to generate money from that starting amount. The winner in this story is the woman who was a member of BNI and got in touch with the local chapter to tap into their resources. This is exactly what Misner repeats NOT TO DO throughout the book - network for sheer profit (thought BNI got considerable press coverage in return :-)
2) Narrow focus - this book seems to have been written with small-to-medium sized local American businesses. Chamber of commerce events, Rotary meetings, referral networks (I'm pretty sure this one's a category that includes only Misner's BNI) - if you're a scientist in academia, a student on campus or part of a large company, this is entire irrelevant to you. You're not a business owner! You don't need contacts to generate business, you need contacts to leverage your career! This books offers no advice for you whatsoever.
3) Outdated - the year is 2011. This is the age of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and smart phones. Misner barely acknowledge the existence of these things, and does not mention communication by email or text messages at all (is it good? is it bad? when is it appropriate?). He mentions using a database to store contacts, and actually spends several pages explaining why it's necessary to lose the Rolodex and us a computer. This isn't 1996 - most business use computers to operate and most have their own website. Misner recommends a website for tracking referrals and once again takes the opportunity to promote an associate (credibility?).
Ultimately I learned more about networking in 25 page Harvard Business School case study about a entrepreneur named Heidi Roizen than I did from this 250 page book by three "masters".
I would recommend Me 2.0, Revised and Updated Edition: 4 Steps to Building Your Future
instead. While it focuses on marketing yourself rather than outright networking, its target audience is much broader.