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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the 1930s travelling salesman, 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: How to Win Friends and Influence People (Kindle Edition)
I've never read a "self-help" book before as I hold the genre in pretty low regard - but I saw an article somewhere describing this book as containing some uncommon wisdom so thought I'd overcome my initial bias & give it a try.

After reading it, I can condense this book into to 2 words: "be nice".

That is generally good advice, but repeating the same dumb platitudes over & over like the reader is some kind of moron is extremely tiresome. To compound this error, in the foreword, the author recommends continually re-reading each section as if it were so packed with valuable information that only repeated readings could extract the wisdom therein.

In summary, this is probably sage advice for the 1930s travelling salesman. Homely anecdotes with a whiff of apple pie & gingham.
Just try these techniques on some jaded 21st century corporate tax lawyer and see how that works out for you.

If you do read it, just read the one-line summary at the end of each section, although (unbelievably) even these repeat themselves.

I don't understand how this book has received the praise it has, it's almost entirely content-free.

I should probably take its advice and only list the good points, being "lavish in my praise".
However, I wish someone has warned me how poor this book actually was so I'm providing this review as a public service.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Feb 2014 00:41:41 GMT
J. Forbes says:
Try reading the book instead of skimming it.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 09:33:35 GMT
Just to be clear: I did read the whole book and I thought it was poor. I also explained why.
I didn't skim it. I'm not sure why you think I did or how you could possibly know.

If you disagree, that's fine: write your own review.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 11:37:57 GMT
J. Forbes says:
Ok, maybe everybody else is wrong. Rather than me adding to the enormous pile of positive reviews, why don't you write your own book as you are clearly so clever.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2014 12:06:56 GMT
Yes, maybe they are wrong. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you're wrong. Mostly, maybe you're wrong for trying to shout me down for having a different opinion of a book (which is allowed BTW).

Thanks for your invite but I'm not going to write a book about it because here's the thing: I've got nothing revolutionary to contribute to this subject and I don't think Mr. Carnegie has much to contribute in 2014 either. A lot has changed in 77 years. I wouldn't read a 77 year old business book, why would I take 77 year old book's advice about how to nurture business relationships?

It was published in 1937. It's a dinosaur. That's my opinion.

As for the number of positive reviews: if you're using that as a reliable indicator of quality, go check out the reviews of the "One Direction" album.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2014 12:20:33 GMT
J. Forbes says:
Tell me, do you think that Bach is a dinosaur too, and that the Taj Mahal is ugly because it wasn't built yesterday, and that Shakespeare and Socrates have nothing to say to us because they are even older than Dale Carnegie?

The book is about human beings, and our fundamental motivations are the same as they always were. Indeed, as one of the anecdotes suggests, the principles apply to animals too, indeed to anything that has any sense of self.

The book certainly reads like a book written 80 years ago, and you can criticise it for that, but the message is timeless.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2014 15:20:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Mar 2014 15:55:39 GMT
Just to be clear, I don't think Shakespeare is bad because he's pre-1937. Same for Socrates and the Taj Mahal.

Here's our disagreement: You think this book is about the timeless human condition and I don't - at least not in the same way. If I did, it wouldn't matter that it's 77 years old. I don't dismiss Charles Dickens or Jane Austen because I think they do address something timeless.

It doesn't say it on the cover, but this book is about manipulation which although timeless isn't our noblest motivation. It's about saying what you need to say and doing what you need to do to get your way regardless of truth of the matter. It's not about equitable human relationships, it's about me winning at your expense but doing it in a way which makes you think I'm a good guy for screwing you over.

I'm sure the study of human psychology and motivation has moved on somewhat from Mr. Carnegie; at least I hope so. I think that we can do better in 2014 and there should be better books than this and I'm sure there are.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2014 16:30:22 GMT
J. Forbes says:
It is clear that you did skim the book. I say this for two reasons:

First, why read right through a book that you think is bad? Written by a dynosaur. Manipulative. It just doesn't ring true.

Second, you missed his repeated assertions that you don't win by manipulating people. You win by finding out what their needs are, and addressing them. Nowhere does he encourage dishonesty.

I also notice that you originally said you didn't like the book because it didn't have a lot of content. When questioned, you changed that to saying that it was no longer relevant. When questioned again, you said it is about manipulation, a claim entirely absent from your original review.

No doubt I can now look forward to a new and hitherto unmentioned reason why you didn't like it.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2014 17:12:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Mar 2014 23:52:12 GMT
> First, why read right through a book that you think is bad?

I'll leave that one for you to think about.

> Second, you missed his repeated assertions that you don't win by manipulating people.

He can deny it as much as he wants. He is manipulative.
For example, I compliment you, telling you that you've done fine work. You're pleased.
Now are you likely to feel better or worse finding that my real motivation was:

A. because you deserve the recognition?
B. because I want to influence you to my way of thinking?

Dale Carnegie is a (B) kind of person. I don't like B people, they're manipulative.

As for the other stuff, you shouldn't be surprised that when you press for reasons, you get them.

I must say, if this thread is an example of Dale Carnegie's people handling philosophy from a committed practitioner, it apparently doesn't work.

---
edit: I can't believe I missed this: "You WIN by finding out what their needs are, and addressing them." (my capitals)

This is it in a nutshell. It's so totally transparent it's hilarious: the only reason I'm considering your needs and addressing them is because I want to WIN.

It's not just manipulative, it's reprehensible.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2014 14:43:37 GMT
Interesting stuff. Yes, it is a very American book, based around the Death of a Salesman era it seems to me. You can imagine a salesman carrying it around with him all day to get that deal done. Some of it is okay tbf, but I'd actually recommend his How To Stop Worrying And Start Living, it is a less schmoozy number.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 14:42:36 GMT
J. Forbes says:
I suggest you study some basic psychology, old chap. Everything we do is selfish. If it weren't we wouldn't have survived as a species.

You are deluding yourself if you think that anybody really does anything that doesn't suit his or her own ends. Those who get results do so by charm or by bullying. Give me charm any day.
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