Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie

The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.”

Studies after studies have shown that building a network and making friends in your workplace and the profession one chooses, goes a long way in ensuring success. Whether it is a subjective process or there are universal techniques one can use to increase one’s area of influence is debatable but Warren Buffet maintains that the lessons Dale Carnegie has spelt out in his book have stood the test of time. Building blocks of good social intelligence and skills, they are classic principles which can improve your life.

Full of practical pieces of advice for handling people, this motivational book should be read in one’s teens as I did and have been a great admirer of Carnegie since then. It not only tells you how to make people like you and ways to win people to your way of thinking but also teaches you how to be a leader and change people without breeding resentment. It has played a very significant role in my personal development, teaching very important lessons. For example, stressing that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language, Carnegie advises to remember a person’s name. Throughout my professional life, I have acted upon this piece of advice as a cardinal principle of public dealing.

If you want to remember only one lesson, then remember this one which I call the 4Cs namely

Do not criticize, condemn or complain, rather be generous with compliments. 

Maintaining that any fool can criticize, condemn or complain, and most fools do, Carnegie advises self-control as the cardinal principle of life. To him, it takes character and self-control to be forgiving but it will pay major dividends in the long run. Carnegie is an admirer of Charles Schwab and refers to him as someone who exemplifies all of what Carnegie preaches. This quote of Schwab is Carnegie’s favourite

 “In my wide association in life, meeting with many and great people in various parts of the world, I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted in their station who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than they would ever do under a spirit of criticism.” Some people complain that all the techniques mentioned Dale Carnegie are a sort of manipulating others for advancing your own interests. Nothing can be farther than truth if we accept this criticism. Carnegie is not in favour of manipulating other people for advancing your own interests, rather he advises to be genuinely interested in people when he writes, “You make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

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