CDN$ 32.94
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Pull: Networking and Succ... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Pull: Networking and Success since Benjamin Franklin Paperback – Nov 29 2007

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 32.94
CDN$ 25.94 CDN$ 25.94

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student
click to open popover

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (Oct. 30 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674025539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674025530
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.3 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,223,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


This eye-opening book helps explains why so many individuals­-and nearly all African Americans and women­-were so long left out when they exhibited the same intelligence and ambition as those who 'made it.' In emphasizing the social forces that blocked pathways up, in addition to those which held people down, Laird presents an exciting new way to think about success. (Walter A. Friedman, author of Birth of a Salesman)

A bold, ambitious, and important book. Lairdshows that the key to understanding how people succeed is social capital­-the networks, mentors, role models, manners, connections, and understanding of codes of behavior that enable some Americans but not others to advance. (Daniel Horowitz, author of The Anxieties of Affluence)

This eye-opening book helps explains why so many individuals­-and nearly all African Americans and women­-were so long left out when they exhibited the same intelligence and ambition as those who 'made it.' Read the full page review of Pull in Business Week's March 13th issue. (Daniel Horowitz, author of The Anxieties of Affluence)

Laird offers an illuminating analysis of how exceptional achievers have combined individual talent with social assets... to rise in society. (Hardy Green Business Week 2006-03-13)

Laird provides a comprehensive perspective and rich historical insight into the importance of social dynamics in achieving career success. She retells the success stories of famous Americans ranging from Horatio Alger, Benjamin Franklin, and Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates and beyond to make the point that none were simply "self-made men." (T. Gutteridge Choice 2006-06-01)

[A] highly readable appraisal of the social dynamics that navigate some Americans towards opportunity while steering others away...Pamela Laird has written an important book about the social forces that have blocked individual endeavour. (Margaret Walsh Business History 2007-03-01)

Laird's historical perspective yields fresh insights into the history of American business practices and offers an original perspective on the challenges made by feminism and civil rights in the last decades of the twentieth century. (Kathy Peiss Business History Review 2007-04-01)

About the Author

Pamela Walker Laird is Professor of History at the University of Colorado Denver.

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing March 15 2007
By Donald Steiny - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I usually get better ratings for my reviews if I give books good reviews, but I found this one disappointing and would suggest that readers might better spend their time on other books about networks and networking.

The book presses the unremarkable point that social cohesion can exclude people, but it has an angry tone that makes this wrong. Rather than shedding light on the psychological and social forces that replicate these structures, it reads more like a catalog of the injustices that this have been metted out. The philosophical issue of what makes an ideal world where everyone is the best off is complex, and this book does not address this. Most importantly, it references very few of the books and studies that have been done on social networks for the past 70 years. I would recommend that readers look at the works of Mark Granovetter, Charles Tilly, Harrison White and others who have made significant contributions to our undersanding of social structure, much of it based on empirical research and not opinions. The only network researcher she mentions, Wayne Baker, she does in a negative light. I, personally, find Baker's empirical research much more compelling that Laird's.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for anyone giving serious thought to success and failure March 31 2007
By - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wondered why some people succeed in the workplace and others just seem to plod along? Have you ever questioned the "rags-to-riches" myths that portray the founding fathers as self-made men? If so, Pamela Walker Laird's magisterial study, PULL, is a must read for you!

Laird is an internationally acclaimed business scholar who set the record straight on marketing's formative years in her first book, ADVERTISING PROGRESS. Now, this prodigiously research new study examines the history of the self-made man, providing an important corrective to the Horatio Alger stories that resonate in the American imagination.

This is not a "how-to book," so if you are looking for step-by-step instructions on how to be successful, you had best look through Amazon for something else. However, if you are looking for a thoughtful, carefully researched analysis that talks about the history of success and failure, you will find much here. Was Benjamin Franklin a "self-made man"? No, says Laird. Franklin, like many others in PULL, was a smart guy, who knew how to work the system and make it work for him. He recognized the importance of developing friends in the right places, and those sponsors PULLed him up the economic ladder.

While Laird starts with Franklin, she brings her story into our own time, with a careful analysis of the pros and cons of equal opportunity and affirmative action initiatives, and a discussion of the real importance of mentoring and sponsorship in the corporate world. Fashionable theorists cited by other reviewers of PULL might speculate on the roots of success, but Laird has rolled up her sleeves, dug through the world's best libraries, and provided the most comprehensive study of success and failure that we have by drawing on real-life examples from the distant and recent past. Theorists and their fans would do well to open their minds to Laird's approach, and to borrow a bit of her elbow grease. Laird acknowledges that theory can suggest new ideas, but it is no substitute for judicious historical research and analysis.

PULL gets an A Plus from this reader!
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Own Bootstraps May 13 2015
By Tom Field - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
If you subscribe to the notion of that oft repeated mantra that "success is all about who you know," then Pull: Networking and Success since Benjamin Franklin (Harvard University Press; 2006) offers all the confirmation and evidence you would ever need. The value of social capital simply cannot be overrated, according to author Pamela Walker Laid. You can pickpocket all the examples you want from historical figures you may have erroneously thought were self-made men. Their achievements—much like the not so distant election campaign rhetoric that affirmed "you didn't build that"—were the end results of effective networking. Hands shaking hands. And hands pulling one another along the way.

You can't dispute the premise of this book. Most thinking people know success doesn't bubble up out of an abyss. But in 439 pages, Laird is not going to leave out the other side of the equation. She spends adequate time in identifying those who weren't pulled. Those who didn't have social capital. Those who could have contributed, but were pushed away due to injustice and discrimination.

Is Pull just a historical study? A diatribe against inequality? An unrealistic view of how the world works? Or a propaganda piece for reshaping the system? I'm not going to pull you into that discussion right now. Read the book.

—Tom Field
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Jan. 27 2016
By Peppy Powers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, Fascinating book!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable History, Priceless Insights for Today Aug. 28 2014
By J.Z. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Pull is history at its best. Laird tells a fascinating story of business success over the centuries as well as the shifting uses and perceptions of social capital during that time. What gives her work a particularly high impact, however, is its relevance to the current national debate about success and failure, including the hotly contested battle over the roles of individuals, organizations, government, and societal structures in creating prosperity. She exposes the powerful and enduring myths that drive America's image of the "self-made man" and the realities behind them. She makes visible the otherwise invisible social forces that have pulled some people toward success while pushing others away.

In these times of tremendous financial inequality and economic uncertainty, it is critical that we understand how business success operates and how we can both work toward a more equitable distribution of opportunity and harness the powerful forces of social capital in our own lives. Pull provides this understanding. It does not just teach history -- it shows how our world works.