Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: Take a Big Drink From This Classic Networking Book

Harvey Mackay started by doing, not by writing. By the time he wrote, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty; The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need,” he had spent nearly 40 years at the helm of Mackay Envelop Company. The company was failing when he bought it. Mr. Mackay didn’t have a lot of resources to build the company except for his own belief in the power of relationships.

His first few books reflected the tough environment of the business world with titles referring to getting eaten by sharks and insincere offers from naked men. But “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” takes a more optimistic and proactive approach. Written in 1997, it doesn’t make any mention of the internet or social networking, but focuses purely on the person to person, face to face aspects of networking.

At over 300 pages and not the largest type font size in the industry, it seems like a daunting project to start. But here’s the best part about this book and why it’s still worth picking up today. It is full of networking stories. Not stories about made up people or someone you’ve never heard of, but stories about how celebrities, athletes, and even presidents have built and used their networks. There are names you’ve heard of only because you’ve shopped at their stores, like Stanley Marcus of Nieman Marcus and Len Riggio, founder and Chairman of Barnes & Noble. There are sports figures like Pat O’Brien and Muhammed Ali. Politicians from both parties including Bill Clinton and George Bush. The stories include other authors such as Stephen King, Erma Bombeck and movie stars such as Paul Newman.

Just reading the index is like a who’s who of politics, business and sports. You can’t help but be inspired by the list of successful …