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“In the last chapter of Power Relationships we tell the story about a philanthropist named Rich Goldbach,” notes Sobel. “One night, in a dark, empty parking lot, a strange man confronts him. Rich thinks he is about to be mugged. But the man is there for a very different motive. It has to do with an early childhood literacy program Rich funded in the local community. One of the grade-schoolers who learned to read in the program has in turn taught his father to read. The man has come to thank Rich, not rob him.

“When Rich told us this story, he was choked with emotion,” adds Sobel. “He had experienced, firsthand, the ripple effect of an act of generosity. There is no way of knowing how your own generosity—to a cause or an individual—creates a ripple effect that influences many others. You end up touching many other lives, often without even knowing it. Supernetworkers, in short, are among the most generous people I know.”

As you read this you might be thinking: Great. All my frenetic attempts at networking so far have been in vain! Not true, says Sobel. Just go through your contact list and ask yourself: Who will go out of their way to endorse me and introduce me to their network? Who will drop what they are doing and help me when I am in need? Who will tell others that they’ve never known someone as trustworthy and talented as me?

“After asking yourself these questions, you may find that only five or ten people remain on your list,” says Sobel. “And that’s a great start: A handful of deep, loyal relationships is always better than hundreds of superficial contacts. Quality trumps quantity every time.”

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