SOCIAL SCIENCES

Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection

Dutton. Jun. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781524743802. $28. BUS
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According to this work, three simple topographies characterize most people’s networks: expansionists, brokers, and conveners. How your network is shaped has implications for a variety of personal and professional outcomes. The book promises to transform the way you think about networking, but does it succeed? No. The weakest material is the exploration of the three types of networkers King proposes. The horoscope-like nature of the distinctions between expansionists, brokers, and conveners (any given characteristic of one type of networker could be equally true of the others) leaves the entire concept feeling pointless. However, the second part, dedicated to strategies for improving networking, is more interesting and informative. Chapter seven onward provides the best material of the ten-chapter book. But the helpful generalities for improving social interaction in the latter half calls into question the whole selling point of the book: King does not make a satisfactory case for the promised revelatory distinctions between people’s different networking capabilities and how to leverage them.
VERDICT Pass. The value of the second half does not make up for the feebleness of the first.

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