review how to win friends and influence people

Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People had a tremendous positive impact on my life when I was younger. During my college days, I was filled with a lot of social anxiety and was extremely uncomfortable interacting with people.

Over a period of about a year, I used the ideas in this book to become substantially more outgoing, even to the point of being able to speak in front of a room of people and effectively carry on positive conversations with potential colleagues.

I can’t even possibly guess how useful the content of this book has been to me over the last four years.

How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1937, written by Dale Carnegie.

Discovering How to Win Friends and Influence People

 Section 1: Fundamental Techniques In Handling People

 PRINCIPLE 1 – Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

99% of people never criticize themselves no matter how wrong they are, not even a murderers. Fault always lies elsewhere. Criticism is dangerous because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts their sense of importance.

Any fool can criticize, condemn or complain but it takes a character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little man. 

PRINCIPLE 2 – Give Honest And Sincere Appreciation.

Speak positively of others every chance you get. Think of a few positive things to say about each person you know and then reference those positive attributes when you can.

Always remember the difference between praise and flattery, one is sincere and other is insincere. Appreciate the difference.

PRINCIPLE 3 – Arouse In The Other Person An Eager Want

The only way to influence people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it. If you want your baby brother to eat his broccoli, tell him he will become stronger enough not to be beaten up by neighbourhood bully.

Use suitable bait. Fish fall for worms not for strawberries and cherries.

Section 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You.

PRINCIPLE 1 – Become Genuinely Interested In Other People.

Carnegie says that you should become genuinely interested in other people, which is rather challenging for most introverts to do(like me). What I’ve found that works for me is that I try to internalize what other people are saying – does this make sense in my life? Then, I try to express what I figure out – it shows that I am taking an actual interest in what they’re saying.

Do this and you will be welcome anywhere.

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PRINCIPLE 2 – Smile. Smile 🙂

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” – Chinese proverb

All you have to do is smile. Your smile is a messenger of all who see it. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it.

PRINCIPLE 3 – Remember the Names of People

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Know people by their first names all those you meet. People are so proud of their names. The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others.

Whenever I meet a new person, I write his/her name on my pocket dairy along with location, profession and main topic of conversation. This simple trick helps me to remember the names of people.

PRINCIPLE 4 – Be A Good Listener. Encourage Others To Talk About Themselves

Here, Carnegie says if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, you have to be a great listener. You have to give them the gift of your full attention. You have to encourage them to talk about their accomplishments, about their well-being, about the things they enjoy.

You have to listen because people are so much more, a hundred times more interested in themselves than what you have to talk about.

PRINCIPLE 5 – Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interest

The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things that interests him or her the most. Talk about their family, their kids, their health, their relationships whatever it is.

In this way they will like you and you will get to see the world from their point of view.

PRINCIPLE 6 – Make the Other Person Feel Important- and do it Sincerely

That is probably the one truth that I completely missed on when I was in college Rowing team. I was trying to prove how good I was, how smart I was, how capable I was and I was doing the exactly wrong thing.

If you want to build a real bond with someone else, make it clear how important that person is to you and do it sincerely. When you can show it to them that they are important to you, that’s when you become important to them.

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Section 3: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

PRINCIPLE 1 – The Only Way to Get the Best of an Argument is to Avoid it.

So, avoid arguments. If something looks like it might be turning into one, just let it drop as gracefully as you can and move on. Doing this over and over again will make you appear rational.

PRINCIPLE 2 – Show Respect For the Other Person’s Opinions. Never Say, “You’re Wrong.”

Never begin by announcing “I’m going to prove so and so to you”, that’s bad. It’s like you are saying, “I’m smarter than you, I’m going to tell you a thing…….. this will make you change your mind.”

This will give a birth to battle between you and opposition party. Be wiser than other people if you can.

PRINCIPLE 3 – If You are Wrong, Admit it Quickly and Emphatically.

If you are revealed to be wrong, just admit it and be very clear about the admission. Don’t try to hide it under arrogance, because you’ll just amplify the negativity of those behaviours when you’ve clearly been exposed as being wrong. Just admit and work together as a team to find out a solution.

PRINCIPLE 4 – Get the Other Person Saying “yes, yes” immediately.

If you’re trying to convince someone of your argument, start off with basic points that you’re absolutely sure they will agree with and ask them to acknowledge that agreement. Then, when you move from step to step, keep getting those positive acknowledgements. A string of “yes”es is more likely to yield another “yes.”

Related: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill : Book Review

PRINCIPLE 5 – Let the Other Person Do a Great Deal of the Talking.

Most people try to win other people by  trying to do much of the talking by themselves. Ask other people to talk themselves out, let them blow off their steam and only respond when they’re finished. Ask questions to encourage them to speak even more. This will often cause them to vent off most or all of their issue, which makes it much easier for the problem to be handled rationally at the end of the conversation.

PRINCIPLE 6 – Let the Other Person Feel that the Idea is His or Hers.

If you can, lead them to the conclusion of the argument. Present all of the ideas up front, then state your conclusion and ask for their approval on it with a nice “What do you think?”

Listen to what they have to say and then try to incorporate it. In the end, they will feel like the idea is theirs and will come out of the conversation feeling quite positive about things. This is a great way to get a supervisor to incorporate a change in the workplace.

PRINCIPLE 7 – Try Honestly to See Things From the Other Person’s Point of View.

Remember that other people can be totally wrong, but they don’t think so. In this situation, don’t condemn them, any fool can do that. All you need to do is try to understand them, only wise and exceptional people do that.

Usually, putting yourself in their shoes for a while will reveal a few things that weren’t entirely clear to you before and might just lead directly to a healthy understanding and solution to the problem at hand.

PRINCIPLE 8 – Be Sympathetic with the Other Person’s Ideas and Desires.

Dr. Arthur I. Gates said in his splendid book Educational Psychology: ‘Sympathy the human species universally craves.’

There is a reason why the other person thinks or acts the way he does, find it out that reason and you have the keys to his actions.

Section 4: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment 

PRINCIPLE 1 – Begin With Praise and Honest Appreciation.

If you’re going to find fault in a person or an organization, start off by stating their positive attributes and the things that you find good about the person or the group. Then, once you’ve established that there are positive attributes and you’re not just railing on them, you can move onto the criticism.

Begin with a praise just like a dentist begins with anaesthesia before drilling.

PRINCIPLE 2 – Call Attention To People’s Mistakes Indirectly.

If you’re going to criticize something, you’re better off criticizing it indirectly, usually by offering a positive suggestion in another direction.

PRINCIPLE 3 – Talk About Your Own Mistakes Before Criticizing the Other Person.

Another effective way to blunt the sting of criticism is to tell of your own faults and mistakes first. Let’s say you’re trying to advise someone about debts. One way to make the advice more effective is to talk of your own problems with accruing debt.

PRINCIPLE 4 – Ask Questions Instead of Giving Direct Orders.

No one likes to take orders so the way you should do is, “Is there any other way we can do to handle this better?”

If you involve them in the solution by asking questions, not only will they do it, they’ll feel involved in the solution.

Related: 15 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Should Read Books

PRINCIPLE 5 – Praise the Slightest Improvement Praise Every Improvement.

Whenever someone shows any sign of improvement, make it clear to that person – and to others – that you notice and appreciate it. I recall an experience during rowing practise where one of my teammates wasn’t applying equal force and due to this our racing boat wasn’t moving in a straight line.

Then I made it a point to praise him at a boat club, stating that he had applied a more force than the previous week, even though he was still the lowest producer. Eventually, he began to produce at the level of everyone else because he now believed he could do it.

PRINCIPLE 6 – Give the Other Person a Fine Reputation to Live Up to.

When you introduce someone or mention them in a group setting, always talk them up. Give them a standard to live up to as you introduce them and they’ll try hard to live up to that standard. The reverse is true; if you don’t say much or criticize them as you introduce them, they’ll live up to that lowly standard instead.

PRINCIPLE 7 – Use Encouragement. Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct

If you’re giving advice to someone about how to correct a problem, try to make the problem seem easy to correct. Offer up lots of pointers that on their own seem quite easy and let that person believe that they’re all easy and that they can do it. Making the suggestions for correcting the fault seem difficult makes the person think that it’s going to be very hard and they’re doomed to failure – not an easy road to follow.

Buy or Don’t Buy

If you’re introverted like I am and sometimes have difficulty communicating with other people or carrying on conversations, buy How to Win Friends and Influence People now, not later.

Spend some time practicing every single one of the tips. You’ll soon find yourself actually conversing with people instead of being nervous or uncomfortable, simply because you have several good ideas on how to start and how to keep it going.

On the other hand, if you have no problem conversing with others and speaking in public, this book probably won’t help too much; instead, read Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone .It basically takes the fundamentals here and builds them even further, showing you how to assemble a wide group of friends and associates and have healthy relationships with all of them; a really fantastic book.

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