Book of the Month: March 2012
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Author: Dale Carnegie
Book Recomendation: Jorge Ribas
Book Review: Sharon Ribas, MBA - MAHCC volunteer
First published in 1936, this enduring book, like fine wine, gets better with age. It's been given a little facelift here and there over the decades—most recently in the newest version, How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age. But if you're new to Carnegie, going back to the book's core principles is the best place to start.
The book is a quick read. It contains down-to-earth concepts that are helpful to review, concepts that have to do with persuading people, gaining their trust in you and your business, and handling difficult people. Don't let the common sense elements of the book fool you or put you off as unnecessary to review because you believe you "know all that anyway."
Too often, it's the most basic tenets of human behavior that get discarded first in journeys toward achieving business success or personal fulfillment. Forgetting about the core truths important to human relations can cause people to stumble. Even as they nurse their bruises, they are left wondering what went wrong in the relationship, business or personal.
How to treat others, according to Carnegie, involves basic good manners such as resisting the temptation to criticize or complain as a reflex tendency, offering genuine appreciation for others, and having the courtesy of showing interest in what others have to say even if you really don't.
Contrary to the ruthless-manipulation-is-better tenets of business practiced in some circles, Carnegie's philosophy is that true success in business or personal life involves likeability. Dickens' Scrooge was wealthy, but he learned that likeability (and its companion, kindness) was a force multiplier in both his financial and personal lives.
Carnegie explains the power of likeability and techniques to achieve it. Becoming interested in other people is an important beginning. Open the conversation with a genuine and simple smile, that universal signal of good intentions. Build the skill of remembering names. People respond positively to hearing their names spoken. Remember, too, it's not "all about you" as the saying goes. In other words, don't just talk, practice active listening. People like to talk about themselves and their interests. Encourage it. Show the courtesy of making people feel important. By truly acknowledging the other person, you symbolically bring them into existence and make them feel respected. Have you ever felt that someone made you feel like a "piece of furniture"? If so, you also appreciated the value of being heard by the other person in a conversation.
How to persuade people to your way of thinking, an important skill for whatever goal you have for business or family, becomes easier when you employ some of Carnegie's suggestions that enable you to gain the other person's respect and agreement.
Some of these include quickly admitting it when you're wrong, genuinely trying to see the other person's perspective and being sympathetic with it even if you don't agree wholeheartedly with it, avoiding telling the person he or she is wrong, and asking questions to which the person can say yes.
It's hard to change people, but sometimes modifying their behavior to some degree might be your goal. Carnegie offers a number of tips here, too, which include showing honest appreciation, allowing others to save face, and admitting some of your own mistakes before indirectly pointing out the other person's wrongdoing.
Throughout the book are useful instructions (e.g., how to offer constructive criticism), end-of-chapter reviews, and a liberal sprinkling of stories showing how people have successfully applied the concepts.
Carnegie's philosophy isn't about smoke and mirrors, deceptive appearances, and tricks of the trade. It's about being honest, sincere, and mindful in relationships. You might have heard Carnegie's concepts expressed a million times and ways, but with the book's unending popularity and with over 15 million books sold, obviously, Carnegie's powerful words and sage advice are worth reading again.
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (November 3, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISNBN-13: 978-1439167342
- Source: Amazon.com
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