Whos-got-your-back Keith Ferrazzi's first book, Never Eat Alone, is one of the most helpful business books I've ever read. His second book, Who's Got You're Back is a book about "Lifeline Relationships." These are relationships that are created with carefully selected individuals who
can be trusted to provide encouragement, advice, and support. They are relationships that, "Won't let you fail." It's not a codependency book…it's about surrounding yourself with people who will tell you the truth because they are committed to helping you succeed.

Christians have talked about mentoring, accountability, etc., for years. Ferrazzi's approach is in that stream. But, because he is coming from a business perspective, the "Lifeline Relationships" he speaks of these relationships at a more secular level. However, as a result, his perspectives are fresh to me as a minister–though some of them do need "baptizing." The book is helpful at the one-on-one relationship level, but it's more about relational networks–teams. If you are interested in building stronger, high-transparency relationships to help you meet goals, this is a great book for you. It's also helpful to those interested in building strong ministry teams.

Here are some insights from the book:

  • "Online, we
    have more “friends” than ever, but we’re still d— lonely. In 1985,
    the average American had three people in whom to confide matters that
    were important to him, according to a 2006 study in the American
    Sociological Review. That number has now dropped to two. More than 25
    percent of Americans admit they have no confidants at all."
  • "In his book
    Vital Friends, author Tom Rath cites research from the Gallup
    Organization that attests to the fact that people who have a best
    friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.
    Yep—that’s seven times. Not only are these people more joyful and more
    apt to innovate, take risks, collaborate, and share bold new ideas, but
    their customers are more engaged as well. In fact, if you have close
    friends at work whom you respect, your employee satisfaction level
    increases by 50 percent (you’re happier with your benefits as well as
    your paycheck)."
  • "A study of
    fifty-five high-performing global business teams at fifteen global
    firms conducted for a 2007 Harvard Business Review article, “Eight Ways
    to Build Collaborative Teams,” found that deep social bonds were the
    major predictor of team success. The other two? Formal initiatives to
    strengthen relationships, and leaders who invest the time to build
    strong relationships with their teams."
  • "As an
    Italian, I have no trouble understanding the value of talking through
    important issues and cementing personal relationships over a lengthy
    meal. We have a saying: A tavola non s’invecchia, which means, “At the
    dinner table no one grows old.” I love that idea—what could be truer?
    Time stops in its tracks. You can take however long you need."

He describes the four reasons why he believes lifeline relationships are key (p. 27):

1. To help us identify what success truly means for us, including our long-term career plans.

2. To help us figure our the most robust plan possible to get
there, through short-term goals and strategies that would tie us into
knots if we tried to go it alone.

3. To help us identify what we need to stop doing to move forward in our lives.

4. To have people around us committed to ensuring we don’t fail – so we can transform our lives from good to great.

of all people should understand the importance of community to our spiritual well-being and growth. Ferrazzi's book isn't theological, but it may offer some of us some
"how-tos" of doing community in ways that will work. Spiritual growth
is a lifelong journey and can be pretty hard work. One of God's greatest gifts
to us is one another as we seek Him day by day. If you don't have lifeline
relationships, let me encourage you to start somewhere…and today.

If you're interested in getting the book…you can get it at almost any bookstore, through Amazon, or by clicking on the book jacket in my reading list.