How To Win Friends And Influence People

Surely one of the most famous books of all time on the subject of making people like you is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. First published in 1936 it is still the most famous self improvement book of all time, it was first recommended to me as a serious read by a friend of a friend at a party a few years ago.

 When writing a blog which is essentially about self-improvement it would seem stubborn and stupid to not read the original book by the master of self-improvement

At the time I didn’t think too much of it, it was standard dinner party conversation (actually, a BBQ to be more precise on the social setting) and I didn’t think I could handle a book telling me about many common sense things I could do would make my life better.

However, when writing a blog which is essentially about self-improvement it would seem stubborn and stupid to not read the original book by the master of self-improvement as a starting point. In my case, when I say read I actually mean listen. I have an hour long drive to work each day which means I spend a total of at least 10hrs on the road in any given week. 10 hours is a long time to listen to music and I much prefer listening to people speaking whilst I drive so I have an Audible subscription.

Book cover

On Tuesday I started listening and if I’m honest, the book is a fascinating mix of sales pitch, revision guide and self-improvement manual. The self-improvement aspect you can search for on Google and is the core topic of the book so I won’t cover that here, the sales pitch and revision aspects though were quite unexpected and yet incredibly effective at both driving home the message of the chapter and keeping it lodged in your mind.

Each topic starts with the core point of what you need to take from the next part of the book, the next 15 minutes of listening will carefully guide you through a series of stories and anecdotes which backup the core points before finally revising those core points at the end of the chapter. There is no science or true psychology behind the points as we have come to expect from modern day self improvement books there are just a lot of anecdotal stories of how famous people (Abraham Lincoln is a particular favourite of the author) managed people. However, despite its incredibly formulaic approach, I am really enjoying listening to the ideas that are presented. Sure it’s a little cheesy, but it’s also more than a little helpful in every day life.

So far we have covered the following points:

  • Do not criticise or condemn
  • Be hearty in your praise
  • Inspire in people an eager want
  • Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Smile
  • Remember that a persons name is the sweetest thing they can ever hear
  • Be a good listener

I’ll be continuing to listen to the rest of How to Win Friends and Influence People over the next week and the next post on this topic will be about how I have found implementing these things – needless to say, some are harder than others!

Would I recommend this book at this early stage though? Yes I would – not because of any hyperbole or exaggerated claim that this book will change your life but because it is interesting and makes  you think, it’s as simple as that!

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