Writer’s Wednesday: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a classic. I have been told over and over again (especially within the business world) that this is a must read book (ironically, for how much this book is recommended, it is rarely followed). I can understand why it is a classic, it is certainly sound advice, but a lot of it also strikes me as fairly common sense, aka the Golden Rule.
The book is divided into three parts covering the following 30 principles:
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager need or want.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
- Let the other person do a a great deal of the talking.
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view.
- By synthetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to the other nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Let the other person save face.
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your appreciation and lavish in your praise.”
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
It’s not a long book, and I think reading the book over a month, a principle a day, is definitely worth your time. It’ll give you food for thought, or at least remind you of some principles you might have forgotten.
I have had some interesting correspondence with Lewis Lawes, who was warden of New York’s infamous Sing Sing prison for many years, on this subject, and he declared that ‘few of the criminals in Sing Sing regard themselves as bad men. They are just as human as you and I. So they rationalise, they explain. They can tell you why they had to crack a safe or be quick on the trigger finger. Most of them attempt by a form of reasoning, fallacious or logical, to justify their antisocial acts even to themselves, consequently stoutly maintaining that they should never have been imprisoned at all.’
(This actually reminds me about the book; Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) which deals with logical fallacies and how we justify past mistakes and errors).
Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is ‘the desire to be important.’
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.