Sunday, February 5, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
Copyright 1936
Simon & Schuster

I read this classic "how to be a better person" book once when I was in high school.  Somehow it just didn't have the same effect on me back then that it does today.  I could think of a dozen different ways I could use the ideas and suggestions in the book and apply them in my own life. 

As I was reading along, I couldn't believe how many of the bits of advice in this book still apply over 75 years after it was written.  The book is divided into four, easy to understand sections. 

Section One deals with "Fundamental Techniques in Handling People, and imparts advice to avoid criticizing other people, appreciate them, and arouse in them "an eager want."  There are a lot of great anecdotes throughout the book, but I appreciated them in this section because it was just getting started.  My favorite was the one about the mom would couldn't get her college student sons to respond to her letters, so the uncle wrote a letter to the boys and added a postscript that he was enclosing $5.  Only he didn't really enclose the $5.  I'm sure you can imagine what happened next.  Good chuckle. 

Section Two deals with "Six Ways to Make People Like You".  Some of the advice in this section was so simple, and yet I know I have not always followed this guidance.  Be interested, smile, remember names, listen, talk about other people's interests and help the other person feel important.  As I was reading this section I thought of numerous instances where I neglected to remember a name, or wanted to talk about something I was doing instead of listening.  Definitely some things we could all be doing better in here!

Section Three focuses on how to "Win People to Your Way of Thinking".  This section lists numerous suggestions, such as don't argue, show respect and admit when you are wrong, with some great ideas on how to avoid confrontation but still share your point of view.  This was my favorite section.  Here's a great quote: "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."  A huge part of this section is spent on explaining how to get someone to see your side of things even if they don't want to, which is absolutely something I'd like to know a little more about!

The last section shares some proven guidance for "Being a Great Leader".  Begin with praise, ask questions, use encouragement, etc.  There were a lot of areas in this section of the book that I felt I could really apply to my relationship with my daughter.  Positive reinforcement being a much better tool than yelling and nagging, apparently. 

All in all, I'm really glad I read this book again and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve their relationships with family members, co-workers or clients.  So many great suggestions!

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