Book review: Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people”

By Imran Ssemuddu

Growing up, everyone is shaped to be successful and along the way, it’s the journey most of us die trying to pursue. For those who have the desire for reading, and thus what to know beyond the horizons of what is presented to them, I recommend you the book “How to win friends and influence people” written by Dale Carnegie.

It is an international better seller, and by far, among the top books, you want to read to lead you to success and considerable more insights to achieve your desired potential. Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people” is a must-read with more than 15 million copies sold.

Who is Dale Carnegie? He was born in Maryville, Missouri New York on 24 November. He died in 1955. He was born to poor parents but earned his way through to become a notable book author, speaker, and lecturer.

Below are highlights and themes from his book.

The only way to win an argument is to avoid it. You cannot win an argument. You cannot because if you lost it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Show respect for the other person’s opinions.

During conversations, debates, or any platform of communication, never say “you are wrong.” It’s identical to saying: “I’m smarter than you are.” If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Have the courage to admit your errors. Let the other person take the role of collaborative and benevolent. As an alternative, consider that you will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong.

It is always great to begin in a friendly way, friendliness begets friendliness. Glow with it. Overflow with it. Remember that a drop of honey can catch more flies than a gallon of gall.

People often make the mistake of discussing something. Don’t begin by deliberating, don’t start by discussing the things you disagree about.

Begin by emphasising and keep emphasising the things on which you agree. That you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.

Let the other person do a great deal of the talking, let other people talk themselves out. They know more about their business and problems than you do.

If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you. The idea is to allow the other person to feel that the idea belongs to him/her. Let others design and become invested in their own solutions. Consult with them, collaborate on and influence a half-finished idea rather than presenting a final solution.

Consider other people’s perspectives. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. Take the time to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. They will, in most cases, react favourably if you make them feel that you consider them honest, upright, and fair.

After that preamble of Dale Carnegie’s book, here is a point-form summary;

Essential techniques in handling people:

  1. Don’t criticise, condemn or complain
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want

Six ways to make people like you:

  1. Become sincerely interested in other people.
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Inspire others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

How to win people to your way of thinking:

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “you’re wrong”.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes”
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or her.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatise your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a leader: how to change people without giving offence or arousing resentment:

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”.
  7. ‘Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. ‘Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

To appreciate the summary of this book is to actually put these words into action and there are more details if you can read the book yourself.

Usually, a book should have a few criticisms and I am enriched with positive words to think of some negatives. So, I will pass. I can rate the book 4.8/5 and if you are a younger reader, aiming to work in management and administration, this is the book I would recommend. It is true that the contents in the book are ideas you can instil in our everyday life.***

(The writer, Imran Ssemuddu, is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication, AHAS KIRKHS. The views expressed here are those of the writer/author and do not necessarily represent the views of IIUMToday,)

One Reply to “Book review: Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people””

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