Don't be like me – read this book

Stuck in an airport several months ago I finally overcame my age long prejudice against a book I pigeonholed into “self help shite” when I was much younger and dumber. So I grabbed Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends and Influence People” of the shelf and finally realised what I’d been missing.

I’ll quote something from the introduction from his wife which should strike a chord with bloggers everywhere,

Dale Carnegie wrote as he spoke, in an intensively exuberant, colloquial, conversational manner

I can’t think of better advice.

If you read this book (and you’re as old as me) you’ll hear lots of stuff that sounds familiar. The difference with Dale is, he said it first and its all in one convenient package.

His front page (of my edition) says it all. But the method is the key and for that you need the book itself.

  • Get out of a mental rut think new thoughts, acquire new visions, discover new ambitions
  • Make friends quickly and easily
  • Increase your popularity
  • Win people to your way of thinking
  • Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done
  • Handle complaints, avoid  arguments, keep your human contacts smooth and pleasant
  • Become a better speaker, a more entertaining conversationalist
  • Arouse enthusiasm among your associates

Do like Dale says and succeed.

3 thoughts on “Don't be like me – read this book

  1. Here’s a review from Amazon that sums up very well what I thought of this book:

    “Today we come across an individual who behaves like an automation, who does not know or understand himself, and the only person that he knows is the person that he is supposed to be, whose meaningless chatter has replaced communicative speech, whose synthetic smile has replaced genuine laughter, and whose sense of dull despair has taken the place of genuine pain…he suffers from defects of spontaneity and individuality…” As I can validate with the man who recommended this book to me, this observation by Erich Fromm is 100% on target with “Win Friends and Influence People”.

    This man, who practiced this book, presented himself as superficial, artificial, irregular, and consequently very annoying. He proved to me that these techniques do not facilitate communication- they stifle it. Instead of being direct, this man would only have the courage to give hints or make indirect statements in the form of questions. If I would attempt to explain something to him he didn’t understand, he would immediately light up and go, “Oh! I see what you mean buddy.” In my head I would think ‘You couldn’t possibly understand- I didn’t even start explaining!’ But that’s how this “Win Friends” philosphy made him- he’s not willing to go through any difficulty at all to understand and communicate with others.

    The techniques in this book basically converted this man into a robot. Nobody really knows what kinds of things he’s interested in – although at first you think his interests have a lot in common with yours. The man has no sincerity or credibility. When I see him smiling I don’t know if he is genuinly happy or just trying to appear pleasant. When he says he agrees with me, it means nothing because he always seems to agree with everyone. I’ve come to take his liberal and exaggerated complements of me as insults because in doing this, he ignores what is truly worth praise and I know that anything he does for me is really only for his image.

    I’ll sum up this book for you:
    1. Fake interest in other people’s hobbies to get what you want out of them.
    2. Pretend to agree with whatever people tell you so you’ll be more popular.
    3. Only express positive feelings ; do away with sincerity.
    4. Make false excuses for your actions that people would be embarrased to turn down, called “Appealing to the Nobler Motives.”
    5. Talk your way out of what you behave yourself into (as if this was possible).

    I witnessed the ineffectiveness of a man who devoted himself to this book; I tried this book myself for a while. My conclusions: It contains nothing more than deceptive, manipulative, superficial techniques that have no use and will lead to the detriment of yourself and your relationships. Instead, I recommend reading the book that made this one obsolete: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Dr. Stephen R. Covey.


  2. Interesting that you should mention this book. I read it in 1994 when I was living in Moscow and then had opportunity to put his ideas to good use. I forgot to hook up my drain hose of my washing machine and I flooded the flat of the old lady below me. Needless to say, she was ready to kill me. What I decided to do was to take the blame, something Carnegie advises you to do especially if you are actually at fault. It diffused the tension and I was able to resolve the situation without shouting. In fact, my wife and I became friendly with the woman and even had her over for dinner a few times. So, why argue if you are in fact at fault?


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