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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 October 2008
This is a great book for anyone, not just anyone who's either perplexed by people skills or a professional who regularly handles people.

I first read it when I was about seventeen or eighteen and it did seem just as hokey as the title might suggests, it is a presentation of a series of truisms with lots of anecdotal stories told well.

The chapters break down into handling people (for instance dont critize, condemn or complain), how to become likeable (smiling, listening skills, recalling people's names, developing a sincere interest in others and making them feel important), how to win people to your way of thinking (lots of great ways of phrasing, paraphrasing and rephrasing dialogue to get a win-win situation) and finally being a leader, how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment.

Now the skills outlined in the book might come as a surprise or you might realise that you've been using them all along but never been that conscious or deliberate about it before.

Whether you intend to put it all into practice or not its still a great read, Carnegie answers his critics in a way in the course of the book by describing how salesmen would attend his lectures looking for a sort of machavellian insight and he told them it wasnt possible to rival sincere interest in others, neat tricks wouldnt cut it with people.

So, I opened by saying its a great book for the general reader, and it is, however I'd also say its a great book for professionals, I've read lots of other books on communication and interpersonal skills, including psychological, therapist and motivational texts and this remains among the best. Although I doubt you'll find it on any university reading list.
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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.
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on 22 April 2003
This is a really good book which can be summed up by the phrase "see things from the other person's point of view". Clearly this is a good idea in terms of making friends and selling to people and although obvious, not something that we all do naturally. This book lays down some basic rules and enthuses you to follow them. It really does work. Where it falls down is that it fails to mention the other side of the coin - that other people also owe it to you for THEM to see things from your point of view. Friendships are not just based on a one-sided flow of good will and more seriously, some relationships (especially business ones) have a strong power-play factor which requires you to stand up for yourself. Blindly following the principles in this book can make some people appear sappy and far too eager to please. Maybe Dale thought that most of us are so egotistical that correction was required in one direction only. I've noticed that you can be as understanding and empathetic as you like and some people will just abuse it. So I'd heartily recommend this book but also recommend standing up for yourself and not putting being liked as the number one goal in all situations.
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on 30 April 1998
As many will agree, I find this book to be quintessential in anyone's library. The information and advice given in the book transcends all boundaries and all areas of human activity. My lesson from the book was that the principles of success in any endeavor are the same, regardless of who you are. Being programmed by the mediocrity around us, we feel that just because we have stopped growing physically when we reach adulthood, we do not need any more teaching. But this book removes that blindfold and demonstrates why we must always be in the learning mode, like students. Being humans and social creatures by nature, it is out sacred duty to learn, practice, teach and then teach others to do the same in improving our people skills and understanding of others.
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