This is one of those books that proves that great advice is timeless.
For anyone new to this title, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a book about exactly what the title suggests: Using psychological techniques and strategies to effectively connect with other people. The advice is not only intended to help you get along with people, but also how to persuade them in a non-confrontational way. Although this book was written in 1936, it is still just as effective as ever.
The book was written by the now famous Dale Carnegie. Born into poverty, Carnegie became a well known author and public speaker on the subject of self-improvement. Today the Carnegie name is used to promote several public speaking courses that are taught according to his teachings.
Although there are several good stories to accompany each of the principles presented within book, there are a few that stood out during my reading of the text:
• Why did Andrew Carnegie pay Charles Schwab a salary of $1 million dollars to handle the US Steel Company? Because of his ability to deal with people through appreciation and encouragement. (p. 24)
• After a party one night, a woman called Carnegie one of the “most interesting conversationalists” there. What did he say? Almost nothing! He simply asked her about her trip to Africa and listened to her talk! (p. 84-85)
• How did the great philosopher Socrates get people to agree with him? He used a technique now called the “Socratic Method” where he would first establish “empathy” with his opponents. The technique started by asking this opponents questions where the answer was “yes”. This “yes, yes” approach inevitability lead them to conclude in agreement with his argument (p. 157)
One amusing side-note to highlight are the dated celebrity references to such now legendary names like Andrew Carnegie, Charles Schwab, and the Rockefellers.
Summary of the Principles:
Another nice feature to this book is that at the end of each chapter, Carnegie summaries each of the fundamental principles into a list. Those principles are as follows:
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six Ways to Make People Like You
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re Wrong.”
3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise every improvement.
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.
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