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Social Capital and Networks

Written by: Bill Sherman on Monday, 16 June 2008, 3:16 AM

“When you have an opportunity to learn how someone in another group does what you do differently–go.”

Burt, Ronald. Brokerage and Closure: An Introduction to Social Capital. New York: Oxford UP 2005.

Sometimes you read a gem of a book that gives you an entirely new set of tools to analyze patterns that you’ve instinctively known–but never been able to talk about.

If you’re interested in how social networks work (and want to increase your effectiveness as a network entrepreneur), then this book will be a great investment of your time. Burt explores many concepts

  1. the economic value of bridging across closed networks;
  2. the impact of closed networks on an individual’s reputation (the hypotheses of bandwidth and echo; and
  3. the effect of decay on relationships (both within relationship bridges as well as within closed networks.

I’ve spent the past two weeks carefully reading through this book, taking notes and acting like I was in grad school once again. It’s not a how-to manual, but it will take you to a deeper understanding of social networks and social capital.

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