In Dale Carnegie’s book, How to win friends and influence people, we are given a set of principles to help guide us towards better social development and building everlasting relationships. I was able to finally finish the book for I was procrastinating and kept prioritizing reading last on my to do list. After spending 3 days binge reading this book and finishing it, it reminded me why I chose to read it and today I will be highlighting some key parts of the book that I found to be life changing.
The book is split into four sections each covering individual principles that can help you succeed. I will be briefly discussing each of these sections and including some important take aways I had and how this book influenced me.
The first section is, Fundamental techniques in handling people. It basically concludes how to communicate efficiently with people by allowing yourself to see through their perspective and to avoid the automatic criticism we tend to cast on people. Carnegie states, “If you teach a man anything, he will never learn, we learn by doing.” This I agree with for we retain more information through hands on learning and visual aids then simply just reading or listening to information. Not just that we also learn more when we are not criticized but appreciated and see a benefit in absorbing the knowledge. He uses three principles to highlight this idea: Principle 1: don’t criticize, condemn or complain. He says, “a great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.” A great leader treats all with respect and avoids direct criticism, “as much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation.” Most, if not all, of us yearn to simply be accepted by society and fear judgment. Carnegie notes, “criticism is dangerous, because it sounds a person’s precious pride hurts their sense of importance, and arouses resentment.” Let’s be real who likes to be criticized and be proved wrong, especially in front of others. This will not only make others dislike you but they will also not learn anything from you. Principle 2: give honest and sincere appreciation. Carnegie gives a quote from Henry Ford that states, “if there is any one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get the other persons point of view and see things from that persons angle as well as from your own.” This basically shows the importance of seeing through the eyes of others to understand their perspective. We only know what we know and we would be making the same decisions as others given if we had their same exact knowledge and experiences. Principles 3: arouse in the other person an eager want. He states that if you want anyone to do anything for you, you have to make them want to do it. Now I have applied this principle in many aspects in my life for example when I want my sister to wash the dishes or be kind enough to make me a meal, I find a way to create an incentive and a want in doing so. I avoid simply giving commands but giving reasons towards why and how this can benefit you. So I tell her it will not only show how kind she is but I will also give her the opportunity to be able to use the groceries I bought and she can have some as well. Overall the first section was life changing and I have been using these three principles to avoid simple “you should do this” statements into “can you imagine how much this would benefit you” reasoning.
The second section is, 6 ways to make people like you. It touches on ways to develop better relationships with others. Let’s face it everyone lives in their own movie and we all love to talk about our scenes. In essence people love to talk about themselves so it is key to to be genuinely interested in people to build better relationships, “it is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others it is from among such individuals that all human failure springs.” Those who take the time to be interested in others will have others interested in them. Principle 1: become genuinely interested in other people. Also keep in mind the best tool we have as humans is the power of a genuine smile. When we smile we show people we are friendly and that we care. It’s like a way to give ease to people and let them know, “hey don’t trip, I’m cool.” Principle 2: smile. The hardest thing I am faced with when I meet new people is remembering their name. It was so bad I sat next to someone in my history class in high school and became good friends without remembering his name for about two months because I was to embraced to ask him. The only reason I found out was through someone else calling them. Now take it from me you want to avoid this situation so this leads me to Principle 3: remember that a persons name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. For people to have a great time with you you must have a great time with them. Principle 4: be a good listener, encourage this to talk about themselves. Be interested in them, there are seven billion people and growing all with individual stories so expand your perspective and get to know people! Principle 5: talk in terms of the other person’s interest. Shift your perspective and be compassionate towards others. Principle 6: Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely. We all want to feel important so by making others feel so you are already developing a great connection, “happiness doesn’t depend on outwards conditions, it depend on inner conditions.”(Carnegie) When you take an interest in people you will find that good inside feeling that will allow you to find happiness and create better relationships.
The third section is about How to win people to your way of thinking. Which is split up in 8 principles and for times sake I will list them first then quickly describe them. 8 principles win people to your way of thinking: Principle 1: the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. Avoid trying to argue with someone it will get no where. Principle 2: show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “you wrong.” Directly stating “you are wrong” automatically puts people on defense mode and creates tension and lower chance of them listening. Principle 3: if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Let go of your pride and ego and own up to your wrongs and mistakes that you make. This will allow people to respect you and listen more efficiently. Principle 4: begin in a friendly way. If you want someone to listen to you start with a compliment or positive affirmation to get there attention then slip in what you wanted to discuss. Starting in a good way usually ends in a good way. Principle 5: get the other person saying “yes yes” immediately. Allow the other person to be involved in the conversation and happy to be talking to you! Principle 6: let the other person do a great deal of the talking. Like we mentioned earlier people love to talk about themselves so have most of the conversation be about them and be a good listener. They will recall his interested you were in them and have a positive impression of you. Principle 7: let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. Sort of like the idea of creating an eager want in people if you make it seem like it was their idea they will be more likely to implement the idea. Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
The final section is if you had to help someone follow these next 8 principles. Principle 1: begin with praise and honest appreciation. Principle 2: call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. Principle 3: talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. Principle 4: ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Principle 6: praise the slightest improvements and praise every improvement. Be “hearty In your appreciation and lavish in your praise. Principle 7: give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. Principle 8: use encouragements make the fault seem easy to correct.
Overall I would highly recommend the book it gives good insight into how to interact with people and influence them. The principles mentioned above are ones I am continually applying to my every day life and slowly mastering. I hope this review was helpful and that you decide to take the time to read the book it’s definitely worth the read! Let me know what method of summarization you found most helpful from the four sections!