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How To Win Friends And Influence People

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How to Win Friends and Influence People


Empathy is a simplistic idea that we all declare we understand, but really we do not. Dale Carnegie would not only agree with my opening line he would also move to describe my use of the word but as negative and condescending and suggest the use of the word however instead. How to Win Friends and Influence People is a classic non-fiction book describing ways to better our people skills and increase our situational awareness as a means of obtaining what we desire from people.

According to studies described within Carnegie’s book only 15% of the financial success of an individual is the direct result of technical abilities. The remaining 85% stems from the ability to successfully understand and work with people. This book breaks the ideas of how to attain these skills into easy to follow ideas and principles.

The book contains four sections that attack the subject matter of human nature and desire head on. Dale used a refreshing mixture of stories and real life examples to help the reader understand the principles and see the overall benefit of implementation. Although this book was written in 1937, these principles and ideas still hold true today.

Audience of this book

This book is written in a very user friendly format utilizing multiple examples for each point Dale Carnegie is attempting to emphasize. This book would benefit all individuals that work with at least one other individual in their day to day operations. I would go so far as to say that this book would benefit the population as a whole because it is very difficult to lead a life that does not at minimum occasionally encounter people.

This classic was written in the 1930’s and consequently has a hint of traditional formality and respect that is often not present in the world today. Although this book is decades old most would still benefit from the underlying teachings and lessons that Carnegie presents.

I would like to see this classic updated for the current generation with more contemporary stories, attitudes, and encounters. It is hard to imagine some of the specific examples, such as the strike that was won by providing baseball gear to the strikers, to be successful in today’s world. The ideas are good, however I think it would be beneficial to use examples that take into account the more violent, forward, and often ethically challenged world we now face.

I would also like to see this book become standard text for all freshmen in college. The business students and future managers would benefit greatly from the exposure to these ideas, but it would be beneficial for all other students as well. The world is extremely selfish so laying the foundation and thought that selfless acts would improve personal relationships would only assist the students to play a more functional role in society.

Approach and Content

For many years Dale Carnegie carefully studied the area of improving personal relationships in an effort to achieve success. He hypothesized, wrote, and re-wrote his theories on successfully dealing with people. In his final manuscript Dale divided his findings and theories into four major sections.

Section 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Dale’s first topic of discussion involves the basic techniques required for appropriately and successfully handling people. The following three ideas outline the plan for success:

1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.

2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

One of the most important ideas of the first section of the book is the stated fact that people have a yearning desire to be appreciated. This idea of a burning need opens the door for those that understand this idea and know how to successfully use it. In order for an individual to feel appreciated they must feel the other person is honest and sincere and has a genuine interest in them.

One of the easiest ways to show an individual is not appreciated is to condemn and criticize the actions of the person. Carnegie used a story called “Father Forgets” to demonstrate this idea. The story reads of a father that finds fault in everything the son does. At the end of the day the young boy approaches his father, who then acknowledges the boy by screaming, “What do you want?” The boy simply replies that he wished to give his father a hug and a kiss before bed.

The story ends with the father standing over the boy while sleeping promising to never criticize his actions again. The father realizes the boy is young and without experience and that his criticisms will not provide the boy with the knowledge and confidence he needs to succeed.

Instead of using criticism as a learning tool Carnegie suggests arousing the desire and want in another person to achieve success. The example of the child who did not wish to attend kindergarten demonstrated this idea. The parents could have dragged the child kicking and screaming to school, but instead they aroused interest by showing the child what they would be doing in school.

Arousing interest seems to serve two purposes in most instances. First, the individual will be willing to participate without force. Second, the individual will be more receptive to learning and maximizing the experience if they are truly interested.

I agree with ideas presented in this first section; however I feel that they must be implemented with caution. It seems that it would be very easy to seem insincere and needy if you do not truly understand the concepts.

In this day and age we tend to have a cautious approach when dealing with people. I know when someone pays me a compliment or seems interested in my actions my thought is always wondering what they want from me. Appreciation is wonderful as long as it is genuine. It seems like more often than not the appreciation is always attached to a want or need from another individual. In order for Carnegie’s principles to be successful we as a society need to start appreciating without requiring something in return.

Section 2: Six ways to make people like you

The second section of the book is focused around the idea of making people like you. The concepts seem simplistic; however they are all ideas that are not regularly practiced



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