What are you currently reading?
"I mostly read textbooks because I'm a business student. I just finished Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi.
Tell me about the book.
"The book is a networking tool. It tells how to create a network of friends and business contacts. I picked up the book because I was going to see Ferrazzi speak at USD and I wanted to know a bit more about him. I ended up reading the whole book in two days.
What do you make of the argument?
"It's sort of a biography of how Ferrazzi succeeded in business. It tells a lot of stories. I'm from Pennsylvania, and the first thing that struck me was that Ferrazzi is from rural Pennsylvania. I kept reading because of that connection with the author. Ferrazzi started out as the kid of either a steel worker or a coal worker, and he ended up making connections with a lot of families, which in turn led him to get into Yale and Harvard. At Harvard he went into business, and from there, to Deloitte & Touche. He writes about how, by making friends and telling his story, he was able to get people to help him out.
"The book taught me that when you meet someone, instead of asking, 'What do you do? How long have you been doing it?' -- the general conversational turn -- you should try to talk about something that you are passionate about. Don't chit-chat -- make a connection over something that matters to you. Now, when I meet someone, I talk about my background differently. Instead of just saying where I'm from, I talk about why it's important, how it's helped me. I come from Amish country, which is a lot different from downtown San Diego."
Tell me about the style.
"It's very easy to understand, very conversational. The author gives lots of examples and personal stories."
Compare this with other books you've read.
"The World Is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, is an excellent book for understanding where business is going as far as globalization. China, India, and other growing and developing economies are not necessarily taking over, but they're expanding and assuming a more prominent role in the world's business. The book helped me to realize that we need to accept other cultures and how we need to compete in the future."
Do you have a favorite author?
"That would be Robert Greene, who wrote The 48 Laws of Power. He offers 48 concepts and why they are ways to make you a more powerful and memorable person. He relates stories from past leaders, people like Winston Churchill."
What magazines or newspapers do you read?
"I read Fast Company, Men's Journal , and Triathlete. I read Fast Company cover to cover. The other two, I'll read one or two articles, based on the captions on the front. I'm an ocean swimmer, so if there's something that relates to that, I'll pick it up.
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
"Yes, because they have similar interests. We talk about Fast Company -- the entrepreneurial aspect. We talk about Men's Journal -- the adventure aspect, things like backpacking in Eastern Europe. Or People magazine. I used to work for a general, and he read People . You can talk about anything in People because people can relate to it -- and they like to talk about the success or failure of stars."
Name: John Boyer
Occupation: Military Captain/Business student
Neighborhood: The Gaslamp
Where Interviewed: Borders in the gaslamp