Social Chemistry: Decoding the patterns of human connection by Marissa King

We consider this world to be a people’s world where humans have dominated everything, including nature. Networking has become a part of human life, without which nothing is possible- no community living, no marriages, no friends, no education and no business. Marissa King has spent over 15 years studying how social networks evolve, what they mean to people and how they make use of these networks in their work-life.



Author : Marissa King
Originally Published : 2021
Publication :Dutton
Pages : 368
Genre(s) :-
Non-Fiction, Business, Psychology, Social Sciences Research

From the basic Dyads (one on one relations) that go on to organize into bigger networks, there are several building blocks and complex processes behind this. Think something like Linkedin where one person you know connects you to more people he knows and the network soon flourishes. 

It resembles three patterns: 

The expansionists – have extraordinary large networks but struggle to leverage that strength. They are basically ‘social butterflies’ who flit between one group to the other, not knowing what to do with these friendships. Neither can they utilize these bonds for their own good not can they connect them for their benefit in turn. That just leaves them with a long list of people.
The Brokers – bring together disconnected parties and have strong information bank. They can have friends and acquaintances at work, at school -college, at the clubs and they are able to collaborate with all of them separately and also together if the need arises.
The Conveners – build dense networks where friends are also friends with each other. So you may have your colleague who is also part of your kids’ PTA and with whom you can also go shopping. Nor surprisingly, your other friends will also soon become friends with your colleague and the group just keeps expanding. 

In real life, it is possible that we have more than one style of networking, but knowing what to do with networks, or better still, forging bonds knowing that they can turn meaningful, goes a long way in being a win-win for both parties. 

King’s book tracks the energy and efforts that go into the making of these networks. Something like the atoms that go into the making of diamonds. This arrangement is what separates carbon from a diamond. A person’s predisposition to a certain kind of network decides a wide variety of outcomes. 

So what is important in networks and networking

The difference, actually. Networking makes us feel dirty while we needn’t feel that way. In a world where we are made to believe that it is the size of our network that matters, it is in fact the kind of network and the structure of it that makes a difference. Size does matter, but not always. A good network ignites ideas, supports creativity and benefits all.  But people hate to look at their sacred relationships as anything more than that, forget making ‘use’ of them. Whether you are at home, among family and friends or at workplace, making friendships and forging bonds cannot be an impulsive or a compulsive decision, left to chance anymore. Despite workplaces having a transactional nature laced with competition and hierarchy, it is possible to forge some long standing and strong bonds that can be mutually beneficial. That is, provided we learn to understand that there can be good bonding in spite of money and relationships coming together which we otherwise find repulsive. 

Confidence matters

It takes so much more to just walk up to someone and start talking, but people can do that with some effort and be more likeable than they think they are. You can always kindle lost connections, forgotten friends and acquaintances and network again better. Whatever your inherent personality, one needs to inculcate the characteristics of all three styles of networking in order to make life meaningful. The pandemic has, in fact, changed the way we form networks and use them. Checking out for friends and family, extending a helping hand and valuing every relationship has suddenly taken center-stage as we grapple with too many uncertainties at once. 

Key takeaways

  1. More than the number of people we know, it is knowing how we can leverage for our personal development that matters
  2. People are unaware or not willing to think about their relationship with others. It makes them generally uncomfortable
  3. Be a big giver in social interactions but know how and what to take
  4. A lot lies in between extreme connectedness, whether online or in real life, and being lonely and isolated. Neither of the two can be helpful, while being consciously connected is the key

Why I recommend this book

For the primary reason that man’s social behavior is no more about feeling and being secure in a threatening environment. Gone are the days when your grandfather knew the whole village and vice versa. Today you need to consciously develop networks that can facilitate your ascent to higher levels in life. 

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