on 31 January 2001
Have you ever met someone that immediately made you feel at ease? Have you ever met someone who seems so pleasant and makes you genuinely feel good about yourself? Or someone that makes you feel inspired? Or someone who gives you confidence?
We probably all have at one time or another; and they've probably read this book! The easy-going, anecdotal style enables the reader to quickly understand the principles behind all all aspects of human interaction, and put into operation the principles in the book.
I used to be fairly confrontational and self-centred. If you stick to the principles in the book, you will notice that people become more co-operative, friendly, and you genuinely appreciate you more. And it's really easy to follow these simple rules because they make so much sense.
I didn't read the book to make friends (I've got loads already, honest!), but you do find people genuinely being more friendly towards you and listening to your point of view.
I think everyone should read this book. The title has become a bit of a catch phrase and a cliche, but it hasn't sold 16 million copies for nothing.
Buy it. Read it. And you'll probably end up recommending it to someone else.
on 13 October 2015
Dale Carnegie believed that the key to success is a lot less concerned with your professional knowledge in a subject area and a lot more about your abilities to arouse enthusiasm in others, to lead and to express your ideas. How to Win Friends and Influence People does exactly what it says on the tin, it teaches you how to win friends and influence people. One of those really famous books that more people have heard of then have read, if you are serious about becoming successful in life than this is a must read.
That last statement may seem a bit over the top but when you think about it, being successful, no matter what you regard as success, is all about human contact with other people and this book will teach you how to get the most out of every situation you are in. How to Win Friends and Influence People teaches the fundamentals of becoming interested in other people and becoming a good listener, which can make you a more likeable person. Alongside this it also teaches a lot of self-development principles and ways to become a leader.
The book starts off with the ‘Fundamental Techniques in Handling People’. These principles focus on being sincere and honest with people, showing appreciation and not criticising or complaining about others. The next part of the book focuses on ‘Six Ways to Make People Like You’. Some of these principles seem very straight forward such as simply smiling and using the name of the person you are talking to while you are talking to them. Although simple, how many of us do this on a regular basis? It is important for us to constantly renew our knowledge and to practice things that can help us in social situations such as these. He also talks about making others feel important and taking an interest in what the other person is interested in. These points are vital in business and in our general friendships if we are to create lasting relationships.
Having taught you how to win friends, Carnegie goes on to focus on the influencing side of the book in the final two parts. The first, ‘Win People Over to Your Way of Thinking’, focuses on getting people on board with you. Being able to admit it when you are wrong, getting people to do things for you in a friendly way and avoiding arguments, as well as always trying to see things from the other person’s point of view. Finally, the book ends with ‘Be a Leader’, in which Carnegie discusses how you can become a great leader like the people he discusses throughout the book such as Lincoln, Franklin and Charles Schwab. This section focuses on thinking about your past mistakes before criticising others, using encouragement and making people happy to do the thing that you suggest.
The book has been criticised by modern reviewers for doing what many sales books do which is confusing the difference between marketing and friendship. This book talks not of trust and intimacy which does seem strange for a book about developing relationships. But personally I feel this book is more about how to influence and develop social relationships, not about developing deep intimate friendships. It is a more business orientated book and is a great read for anyone in a management position. It is for learning how to approach any social situation where you are getting to know a person. If you take it from this frame of mind then you will see its value.
Practising principles such as letting another win an argument to avoid making the other person feel bad, not criticising people, simply smiling at people, will make you more socially likeable and help you to start developing more relationships. Remember that even if you think you are doing these things already, life is about constantly striving to be better than you were yesterday and reinforcing positive social skills is a great thing to do. I would highly recommend this book to anyone working on their own self-development.
In business, those who are the most "emotionally" intelligent always rise to the top. Why is that?
As a management consultant, I am always asking our clients and potential clients what their major issues are. It almost always boils down to persuading someone else to change. In many situations, the person describes the situation as getting worse rather than better.
As I ask more questions, I soon learn that the person I am talking to is totally thinking about the issue from her or his perspective, not the perspective of the person they want to influence. Carnegie describes a situation where he and his son couldn't get a calf into the barn. They pushed and pulled, and nothing worked. A maid came out, stuck her finger into the calf's mouth to simulate feeding and the calf followed her right into the barn.
As you can tell from that example, Carnegie is a student of the stimulus-response school of human behavior. The book is divided into four sections: Handling People; Getting People to Like You; Getting People to Agree with You; and Being a Leader. Each section is comprised of a few principles, which are each exemplified in a short chapter with a number of examples. Handling people has to do with avoiding the negative and unpleasant, appreciating the other person, and making the other person eager to accomplish some goal of their own.
Each section follows the same format. Basically, it's the same way that you train any living being. You provide positive feedback to the person which makes them feel better, the person responds positively to you making you feel better, you then help the other person to link what you want to share with them with something they want.
Many people will be offended by this idea. I have long studied that reaction and find that it relates to one of two basic assumptions: (1) the decision to act should be based on the objective merits (if I deal with emotions, I am being manipulative) or (2) I want you to acknowledge that I am right, that you are wrong, and that I am superior to you because I am right. Both of those perspectives get in the way of establishing warm human relationships. If you would rather do things without emotion, your life will be very dull. If you would always like to be right, you will be very lonely (even if you really are right).
Let's look at a more fundamental question. Can these techniques be used for questionable purpoes? Probably, is my answer. However, at some point, the person's manipulative game will be found out. See Robert Cialdini's book, Influence, on what happens to smugglers of influence over time.
The best results will come from those who have integrity and are principled. They and everyone else can see that they are pursuing something with another person that is in the best interests of that person, and that there are no hidden agendas. Here is where I think Carnegie is a little weak. You get the impression from the book that hidden agendas are okay. My experience is that all agendas should be totally upfront. Don't pretend you are trying to help someone, when all you are trying to do is sell them something they don't need. Do encourage them to get the information they need to make a good decision for themselves about your idea, product, or service. Leave the whole circumstance with a stronger, more trustworthy relationship than you started with. That's how I interpret the Dale Carnegie principles.
If you really would like to get better results in your human relationships, this book is essential reading. To skip this book would be like skipping reading and arithmetic in grade school. It contains essential tools that everyone needs to understand. Since these things are seldom taught in schools, this is a good place to start.
Modern gurus of human relationships and effectiveness like Stephen Covey and Tony Robbins have a substantial debt to Dale Carnegie. If you read all of them, you will tend to reinforce your new habits. I like the Covey and Robbins approaches as a complement to Carnegie, because both authors focus on having principles at the center of what you do. That will help reduce the risk of turning Carnegie into techniques that lead to suboptimal results, instead of a mutually reinforcing virtuous cycle for everyone.
Researchers consistently show that success in many fields (such as business, politics, and teaching) is very closely related to one's social skills. Many people will work very hard to be more successful, but skimp on the relationship aspects. That's a mistake. Work on the relationships first.
I also recommend Daniel Goleman's "Working with Emotional Intelligence" to understand these concepts and the new book, "NLP Masterclass," to help you extend these lessons with specific skills.
Enjoy having easier interactions with others, having more friends, being more influential on important subjects, being more open to being influenced by others, and leading where it needs doing!
After you finish reading this book, think about where you are trying to pull a calf where you want the calf to go.
on 5 May 2006
For a number of years I passed on reading Carnegie's work. The primary reason being that having dealt with a few people who did things the 'Carnegie way' I felt very uncomfortable with the kind of people they had become. One could easily argue they would have been those kinds of people with or without a Carnegie course and a paperback, and that's a reasonably sustainable argument. The problem really is though, that this book was clearly written by an American for an American audience (in 1936!); I know that is not the sales line but it is the truth. Henceforth, when the 'techniques' are applied to just about every culture outside of the United States then they have all the uncomfortableness of a brash woman wearing too much make-up, they ring too false and look too ridiculous. Maybe my comments will be seem by some as 'European elitism', but it's not that at all, it's simply a point of appropriation. A good number of what Carnegie talks about would simply laughed off in Europe as utterly banal and superficially repulsive - even if it were said or done with all sincerity. In my experience the over-use of names, the false enquiring of one's health, the formulaic compassion, the absurdity of remembering that your prospect ate chicken for dinner when you last met; and doesn't even remember that himself etc. is just too feigned and fictitious as to become repulsive. Likewise the whole notion that you can ask someone to do something if you simply spin them round, or that you should never berate people is poor psychology indeed. I agree that ONLY beration is unproductive but to motivate and challenge people of substance you need to raise the bar and use BOTH the twin tools of carrot AND the stick. Psychologically the practice of praising errors is utterly ridiculous, all it does is register in the brain that bad results equal rewards and therefore offers no need to adopt correct procedure. When finally the employer/owner feels the necessity to berate (i.e. when behaviour, attitude or errors were not corrected) then must harsher correction is needed to gain lesser effect. This is simple behavioural psychology at work. I recommend Col. Konrad Most's 'Training Dogs' for an excellent explanation of this idea. As a footnote, chapter 11 'Dramatise your ideas' is singularly laughable, I'm surprised that wasn't edited out of the latest edition.
That said, I feel that what Carnegie himself began to discover was, that in order to be a better person one must embody the 'techniques' offered in the book, so that they become you. You must fully internalise the ideas, living and breathing them so the radiate forth with utmost clarity and sincerity. I dare say that when Carnegie first set out he wasn't that way inclined. However as he practised his Way longer and harder and underwent his spiritual and personal growth then he became to realise that in order to REALLY 'Win Friends and Influence People' it is the heart and soul of the individual that is of importance. Any fool can (and does) go through the motions, but it is humanity and deepest sincerity that connects human beings together; and if they happen to be seller/buyer then that's just the way things are. What we are effectively presented with here here is one man's personal spiritual journey, the memoirs of one man's route up the Path of life and in that regard this book is a gem.
Ultimately this is an admirable piece of work that has stood well against the shifting sands of time and should simple be one of a NUMBER of books the enquiring mind should be reading; simply being one piece of the jigsaw. Once you have read and digested this then I thoroughly recommend the next level, Dr. Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', though that work (and many others) clearly benefited enormous from the early groundwork done by Carnegie, it is in a different league altogether; highly recommended.
on 8 July 2002
I've read this book many times, and for me it is a constant source of inspiration. If you ever wondered how and why some people are adept and handling people in terms of social and work situations?; then this is the book for you.
Despite being written in the 1930's, this book stands head and shoulders over a lot of self-help books along these lines. And even though it sounds out of touch (at times) with the modern world (for example - how many times have you decided to make someone's day by complimenting them on their wonderful 'head of hair') it is still a workable,readable but ultimately usable book for those who wish to better themselves through an clearer understanding of human nature. It is THE original and best of its type, and is (if the world is to be a better place) essential.
Dale Carnegie had a 'common-sense' approach of how to deal with his fellow humans with sensitivity and fairness, through a love of life and of people in general. In this book he puts all that knowledge across with dazzling authority, and it makes for a compelling read. It is for these (and many other) reasons it will almost certainly, when put into practice correctly, enable you to win friends and influence people!
It is a great shame Dale Carnegie is no longer around. As mentioned in the foreword, he liked to constantly update and hone his material. And that's one thing I feel is missing here. I'd love to see this renewed and sharpened in the wake of the changes that have occurred in the 80-od years since its first print. The foundation is there and its principles superb - but the wrinkles are getting obvious, especially where any marketing team with a library card have abused much of this book to the hilt
The most poignant element of this book is simply its constant focus on positive reinforcement. It's a stark reminder of how undervalued this has become, and how belligerence is still the common currency of interactions. It's quite incredible with the age of the writing how relevant many of the ideas remain. Dale's elegant analysis of the futility of arguments, how people respond to blame and the obsession with being right... sheer brilliance!
My main disagreement with the book is simply a moral one. I feel that a lot of the techniques and examples rewarded immature behaviour in other people. Fragile egos are protected and stroked - with bizarre examples of people responding with outright hostility to simple factual correction. Rude, belligerent individuals are given special attention and a pat on the head. I'm a big disbeliever in the notion of ingratiating yourself to immature people, simply so that you can keep their custom or get them to hire you. And there is a lot of that here... that and the common example of "So I had a big meeting and asked about their rock collection. 3 hours later they still hadn't shut up about limestone"
So much so, I find that you really need to calibrate the execution of Dale's techniques with precision. The world has become cynical of Colgate smiles and butt-sniffing compliments. It is a sad reflection where most of these now ring alarm bells more than endearment. Heck, even reading a few of the examples had me either cringe or do the trouser-pat to make sure my wallet was still safe. Some of these ideas would either raise an eyebrow or come across downright condescending to some. The notion, for example, that a fault must be indirectly alluded to and sandwiched in praise. Personally, I find that, so long as the critique is tactful, private and solution-oriented: People are actually grateful for the frankness
In fact, some are downright counter-intuitive. Compliments on a person's "innate skill", for example - bad idea. Recent studies (Mueller & Dweck 1998) have shown (at least in children) that this backfires horribly. It actually hinders risk-taking and exacerbates upset in the wake of failure. Complimenting the effort, however, is the magic touch. It's subtle nuances and discoveries like this that need consideration to help boil down Carnegie's ideas. I appreciate the desire not to tamper with the original text - but at the same time feel it's being left in the dust
The other thing to bring into perspective too... this isn't the only way. It's easy to read this and believe that the cotton-wool-I'm-sure-it'll-be-fine way is the only way to live. But look around you. Many people in great positions of influence and power aren't strictly good or positive individuals. In fact, a strong example is in this book's very pages. In the chapter on "Don't tell people they're wrong" - We're told that Benjamin Franklin changed for the better after a friend took him aside and... well... pretty much broke every rule in this book. Just a straight out "Dude, you're wrong and people dislike you" - but he changed. He improved. The stinging remarks seemed to be the effective option here
It's not that Dale is wrong, not by a long shot - but let's not launch the trebuchet away with the rock here. I simply feel it wise to read this with an open mind. Employ the principles, but remember that critique, anger, assertiveness and sometimes even hurting feelings have their place too
Personally - I'd recommend this more for the business / politically-minded. As a core foundation to know how to appeal to customers and people - Utterly superb. But for those looking more to attract and foster mature relationships... I'm hesitant. It's good, don't get me wrong. But I feel that the nuances of interpersonal relationships strike much deeper than these pages allude to. Hope this helps
on 30 June 2004
I first bought and read this 15 years ago, and although I found the dated American english a little trying at times, the sheer value of the contents made up for any stylistic shortfall.
What is really amazing is the extent to which Carnegie understood the psychology of relationships and behaviour, and was able to express this in simple concepts that are very easy to apply and still extremely effective.
Influencing skills have always been important, and they are increasingly valuable in a more cynical and less hierarchical society. This is a highly practical guide to getting on with others and motivating them to your mutual advantage.
If Carnegie practised what he preached, it's easy to understand why he was such a phenominally successful individual.
As books in the "how to succeed in life" genre go, this one is a timeless, highly effective classic. If you even remotely think this book could help you, then buy it - you have so much to gain and so little to lose.
on 14 July 2007
A classic (originally published in the 30's) and a must-have, this timeless piece of work can help just about anybody get along better with others and win them over to their way of thinking. Don't have a lot of time to spare? Don't worry. The book is divided into short sections, each one devoted to a particular principle that is well illustrated with many practical examples. In this way, you can read a chapter quickly, stop and do other things you have to do if necessary, and get back to the book when you have time- all without losing continuity.
Thoroughly entertaining by using fun and interesting examples, I don't think many readers will regret checking this one out and I like to think of this book as a kind of Human Relations 101 of sorts. Also recommend The Sixty-Second Motivator for further reading on motivational principles.
on 11 December 2013
Received my copy today. It is clearly a photocopy of the real book!
Disgusting that this is available on here as a real copy. I am returning for a full refund.
on 28 July 2009
For as long as I remember I have struggled with people and have always seemed to turn people against me. I was told to read this book by somebody who I believe read this years ago and had the same problems I did. He is now a director of a company and very well respected man. I was reported by several people in the voluntary organisation I am involved in and was close to being severly repremanded. Since reading this book I have changed my attitude and in 2 weeks realised more things about the world in which we live in than I have since I was born. I have made friends I never thought I would have and made enemies turn into friends. I was scepticle of the hype when I read these reviews but was amazed just as they were. Get this book it will change your life and make your future brighter than ever!