I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Dale Carnegie’s ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ mentioned in interviews, articles and books. As my book cover so proudly stated ‘Over 16 million copies sold”. Now that is what I call impressive!
Originally written in 1936 this is a book that has stood the test of time and I was eager to find out why. As a result, it was on of the first books I put on PropelHer’s 2016 reading list.
Although the title would suggest Dale is going teach you about two specific things (winning friends and influencing people), the book covers much more. It also aims to help you handle complaints, avoid arguments, become a better speaker and arouse enthusiasm. In fact, Dale has split his 30 tips into four distinct categories.
- Fundamental techniques in handling people
- Six ways to make people like you
- How to win people to your way of thinking
- Be a Leader: how to change people without giving offence or arousing resentment
At the beginning Dale sets the scene of how he was training business people and realised that they needed “more training in the fine art of getting along with people”. It was that realisation that led him to offer training courses and then write this book. Dale states that “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are business”. I agree with that statement. People are central to business. Whether you selling to customers, forming partnership, pitching to clients or leading a team you are interacting with people.
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
This section explores the core concept for managing people. Dale states that “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” and if you can manage to show another person honest appreciation that will help with whatever you want to achieve.
Six Ways To Make People Like You
This section explores the ideas of be interested in people, being interesting, remembering people’s and the importance of smiling. A lot of these concepts don’t come across as new, but I am assuming they were originally in this book and have then since been mentioned in others.
How To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking
Dales starts this section by stating “You can’t win an argument” because even if you win the initial argument your relationship with that individual will be damaged. With people you need to always keep in mind the long-term aim, rather than the short term goal. Dale also encourages you to admit when you are wrong, but never tell someone else they are wrong. Of all the sections I can imagine this section requires real work to implement and wouldn’t come easy to all. It requires the individual to have humility, restraint and not be self-centred. I mean that is the only way you can honestly “see things from the other person’s perspective”.
Be a Leader: how to change people without giving offence or arousing resentment
Dale suggests you begin with positives. That way the person will be in a more positive mood to hear the negatives. He also suggestions asking questions and giving suggestions rather than orders. This will make people feel as if they are contributing, it is their idea and they have a choice. Dale is also a fan of positive reinforcement and says you should praise even the slightest improvement.
Overall, I found How To Win Friends and Influence People a thoroughly interesting read. When reading some ‘old’ books they can feel dated, but I felt virtually all of the rules still applied to today. With lots of little sections it was an easy read, although not easy to remember all of the advice. There are so many tips that you won’t take them all in.
Due to the breadth of interpersonal skills examined I can’t imagine the book not bring value to everyone. No one can be successful alone so I recommend you definitely have a read.
I read How To Win Friends and Influence People as part of PropelHer’s Book Club for Ambitious Women. For more information and to join PropelHer click here.