What I’ve Read Lately: Trust Agents

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61ABCCI SoL._SL500_SX85_“Trust Agents”
by: Chris Brogan & Julien Smith
ISBN-13:  978-0-470-635490-0
ISBN-10:  0470635495

Trust Agents is a book I looked forward to reading.  My queue has been well-stocked and it’s time finally came.  The book has had a number of reviews that I’ll not rehash.  My take is largely middle-of-the-road.  The value to you will depend on your personal value structure as well as how long you’ve been practicing social media.

A very large part of the book, spread throughout and not necessary any single chapter, is spent on re-establishing value structures.  This book is not all that much different from Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone.  In both cases, the books spend copious amounts of time educating the reader on what effective relationships look like today, and contemporary approaches to building them, managing them.  In Keith’s case, the focus is more ‘old school,’ use approaches like phone calls, letters, hosting dinner events, and the like.

Trust Agents focuses on building, managing, leveraging contemporary relationships as developed through the use of social media.  If you’re still new to social media, you will find the book of much greater value than if you’ve been doing it for a couple years.


One key point to keep in mind is what your focus may be in building new relationships.  Chris and Julien posit that everyone is looking to sell something, whether it is their business, services, or themselves.  And, they’re quite right.  How you leverage the tools needs to conform to your needs.

What I do enjoy about the book are their numerous examples, how-to discussions, and a narrative written almost like they’re ‘one of us,’ which is a key point throughout.  Be One of Us.  That theme is not unlike other themes, such as being authentic, open, or real, as also discussed in books like Charlene Li’s Open Leadership.

Chris and Julien’s Trust Agents is perhaps one of the Top 3 books on social media and relationships to have come out in the past couple years.  Chris, in particular, is very well-known in some large circles and he uses the book to reach audiences (e.g. offline denizens) that he (admittedly) might not have reached otherwise.

I liked Trust Agents.  I enjoyed reading it.  I picked up some fresh thoughts.  No, I’m not nearly as well-regarded in social media as is Chris.  But having been in social media myself for awhile now, and having read a number of other achingly similar books, my recommendation is this:

If you’ve only read one other book on social media and relationships: Do read this one.  If you’ve already read a few, you won’t see a whole lot of outright ‘new’ stuff here.