Have you ever struggled to interact with other people because, in one way or another, you had different points of view and sometimes it was difficult to deal with them? If you’ve been in this world long enough, my guess is that you probably have. In fact, we start interacting with others from the time we are babies, and the first “conflicts” start as early as preschool or primary school age. I often wondered what was the secret of the people who seemed to be so charming, and to get along with everyone. Whilst it’s not always possible to win everyone’s approval and avoid conflict, I have learned that there is a better way to do relationships. I’ve discovered this through an amazing book called How to win friends and influence people, by Dale Carnegie, and this is what today’s review is about.
I first heard of this book a few years ago, probably online, and though I did put it on my list right away, I have to admit that it also sat there for quite a long time. But when I found myself with more time on my hands, and also more intentional about my personal development journey, I knew this was one of those books that I just HAD to read. So I bought it, and I did not regret it.
I think the one thing that amazes me the most is the fact that this book was first published in 1936, (85 YEARS AGO!!!), and it’s still SO relevant to today’s relationships, world, and challenges. And I really believe that if a book written so long ago has such relevance and power so many years later, it must be good.
As soon as I started reading it, I knew I had found a good one, and I tried to apply its principles almost right away. The great thing about this book is that it’s based on very simple principles, but unfortunately, not many of us apply them regularly. Or sometimes it’s just about having a specific technique when interacting with others, that can make all the difference.
I think part of the greatness of this book also lies in the fact that its principles are very simple, so there’s nothing too fancy or complicated to understand, but they can absolutely change your world and life.
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So why did I choose to review How to win friends and influence people? What does this have to do with business?
Table of Contents
The answer is simply, EVERYTHING.
First of all, Dale Carnegie was in his day what today we would call a Coach, Strategist, and Motivational Speaker. He started from pretty humble beginnings but he then went on to build his career in this field, and his teachings are still the foundation of many businesses and taken as examples in many case studies, courses, and talks.
He was definitely a great teacher and businessman, and what probably made him this great was his ability to interact with others and not get into arguments, but rather to try and understand the other person’s point of view, and then ultimately sharing his thoughts, which would usually result in the other person to agree with him.
So why is this book important for YOU? It’s important because you do business with people, not robots. You deal with emotions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes, and if you want to be a great leader and business person, you need to know how to deal with people.
IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO HAVE A GREAT PRODUCT AND BE GOOD AT SELLING, YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO RELATE TO PEOPLE, UNDERSTAND THEM, AND CONNECT WITH THEM IN A WAY WHERE YOU WON’T FORCE YOUR OPINION AND VIEWS, BUT WHERE YOU’LL GET TO AN UNDERSTANDING AND A COMMON GROUND WITH THE OTHER INDIVIDUALS.
Ultimately, as from the title, this book wants to teach you and help you to become a strong leader, be influential, and improve your life as well as your customers’ lives. One important thing I want to note is that you won’t only need this book to improve your business relationships, but also your personal ones, from which a lot of your life and success can depend on.
If you have a difficult family member, friend, or someone that’s quite close to you, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Sometimes all it takes is knowing HOW to approach a certain situation or relationship and what to say or do, instead of reacting emotionally or without much thought.
So let me talk a little bit about what’s inside the book – don’t worry, I will not spoiler it for you.
How To Win Friends and Influence People is divided into four main parts:
PART ONE: FUNDAMENTAL TECHNIQUES IN HANDLING PEOPLE
PART TWO: SIX WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU
PART THREE: HOW TO WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING
PART FOUR: BE A LEADER: HOW TO CHANGE PEOPLE WITHOUT GIVING OFFENSE OR AROUSING RESENTMENT
Each part is filled with principles that are very simple and easy to understand, and one great way to remember them and apply them to your daily life, could be to write them all down in a piece of paper, or post its, or flashcards, to have them always ready and available to be used when you need a quick reminder.
You will learn simple techniques on how to deal with people in an argument, or how to get them to do what you’d like for them to do without forcing it on them or make them feel like you’re “bossing them around”. You will learn how to improve your conversational skills, how to make a good first impression, how to criticise in a diplomatic way, and so many more things.
Final thoughts on How to win friends and influence people
I can honestly say that this is one of those books that will always be relevant, always be timeless, and will always make you see something new that you didn’t see before. If you are trying to improve your relational skills and grow both personally and professionally, then Dale Carnegie’s book should definitely be on your reading list too.