How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie


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I read tons of self help books and one of my all time favorites is Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends & Influence People. My mother gave me this book back when I was in college and I've been using the principles I found inside my entire life. Needless to say, I'm very highly regarded and especially loved among friends and family. Okay, kidding. I do forget to use the principles every now and again, but that's why I have reread the book a number of times. And since it's one of my favorites, I thought I'd give you a breakdown of what it's about. In this thread, I'll summarize each chapter so you can get a gist of what Dale says and see what's been all the rage through the years. After all, the book has been in print since 1937 and I'm sure it's still some sort of best seller. If it isn't, it deserves to be. In today's world, I feel like this book should be mandatory high school and college reading, if for nothing else than to inject a bit of politeness back into society. If everyone followed what's shared in this book, the world would be a wonderful place indeed.
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Part One - Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Chapter 1 - "If You Want to Gather Honey, Don't Kick Over the Beehive"

The chapter starts off by describing the escapades of Two Gun Crowley and Al Capone. Apparently, both of these men, as terrible as they were, regarded themselves as kind-hearted victims. The same is true for Dutch Schultz, a gangster affiliated rat, as Dale describes him. Dutch also thought he was a benefit to society, helping people and only doing the right thing. As a matter of fact, almost everyone in Sing Sing prison can and has articulated why they were wronged, why they shouldn't be behind bars, and why they did what they did to land themselves behind bars. I'm sure they all have very good reasons. In typical Dale Carnegie fashion, all of these examples lead to a general point. The point is this: if these famous, or infamous, criminals think of themselves as good people just doing what they need to do to get by, how to do you think the average person out there on the sidewalk feels about themselves? Do you think they blame themselves for things that go wrong during the day? Do you think they blame themselves for the bad that happens around them? Or for the wrong things they do? Probably not.

When dealing with people, the trick is to find out how they regard themselves and the world around them. How they think of other people. You'll go far in human relations if you approach others this way. When was the last time you scolded someone and got the result you were looking for? Perhaps you got an immediate result, but I bet it didn't last long. Sure, you can change someone's behavior in the short term by threatening violence or punishment, but over the long term, you want real change. And that can only come from a change of heart. Dale Carnegie teaches us that by learning how a person ticks, we can deal with the person on their own terms. That we shouldn't criticize people, condemn them, or complain to them. It's much more fruitful to figure out where they're coming from and to understand their points of view. Only then can you motivate them to change their behavior for the better.

Principle #1 - Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.


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Chapter 2 - The Big Secret of Dealing with People

What I'm about to tell you is a truism. It has been forever and it still is today. Especially today when people have more options than they ever have had. The truism is that there's only one way in the world to get someone to do something. That way is to make them want to do it. I know, you're probably thinking that there are many other ways to get people to do things, but those ways most likely have to do with force or coercion. It's sort of like paying taxes. We do it, but the only reason we do is because we have to. We don't go out of our way to do it and we're not thankful for doing it. And I don't see many contests out there where people challenge each other to do a better job at it. For the long term, the best way to get a job done well is to somehow find someone who wants to do it well. Or, find out why they might want to do it well and work from there.

To discover why someone might want to do something well, you'll first need to get inside their head. Now, many a psychologist has studied the human spirit and many a psychologist has deduced that we as humans really only have a few wants. These include health, money, sex, food, sleep, well being for our offspring, and a feeling of importance. Did you see that last one? What was that about? I personally can agree with all the needs that came before it, such as sex and sleep, but what's with the feeling of importance?

I used to work for an insurance company in Atlanta, Georgia. Allstate Insurance to be exact. My job was a pretty good one, but it had the tendency to get boring at times. And when I got bored, I didn't work to my greatest potential. Actually, I hated being bored and I began looking for other jobs when I was. The managers knew this, so they developed a reward scheme. They introduced contests among the employees and challenged us to challenge one another. They set goals for us and if someone in our cluster was a top performer, we were given a gift certificate, $50, or some other type of prize. While those things were nice, they wouldn't have meant much in isolation and solitude. What I mean is, sure, we the employees would have been thankful for getting a little extra for doing a good job, but we wouldn't have written home about. What we did write home about though was the fact that at the monthly meetings of the entire department, we the winners were recognized publicly. And our department consisted of approximately 100 people, so that meant a lot. After this reward and recognition system was introduced, I believe that not only performance, but also employee moral improved. I actually noticed it among coworkers and one fellow and I competed between each other almost constantly. We were the real go-getters in the office.

There are two things you have to remember when dealing with people. The first is that berating them and trying to force them into doing something rarely works. And not only that, that type of behavior also causes resentment and will do more damage than good in the long term. If you want to get along with people and win them to your way of thinking, find out what they're good at and encourage them. Nurture people's talents. Find their successes and show how valuable they are to you and others. Show your appreciation like the managers did with the employees at Allstate Insurance in Atlanta. Georgia. Those managers didn't tell us that they'd fire us if we didn't like our jobs more and if we didn't produce more. They knew we'd all quit if we were treated that way. What they did was genius. They knew, by the mere fact that we had passed the screening process and had already been hired, that we were a talented bunch of folks. All they had to do was coax some motivation out of us to turn a somewhat boring job into a competitive exciting one. Their tactics worked and I'll remember them forever.

Principle #2 - Give honest and sincere appreciation.


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Chapter 3 - "He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World With Him. He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way."

"Action springs out of what we fundamentally desire." Remember that. This entire post revolves around that saying.

If you're over the age of 15 years old, you've most likely gone on a job interview. I want you to imagine the interview going like this:

Company: Hi Johnny, tell me why you'd like this job.

You: Well, I'd like to buy a new motorcycle. I also have a lot of bills to pay. My girlfriend says she'll throw me out if I don't start bringing home some money. I also want to buy myself a new gold necklace and a few other things.

Company: Well, that doesn't help us much. It doesn't seem as though your motivations are in the right place.

I don't think the job interview will go very well for you. Why not? Because you didn't mention one thing about the company or how you'd help them. Why would they hire you? To give you money? Would you simply show up to get a paycheck? The company may have been around for a while and may have seen dozens of your type. If you were the hiring manager, would you hire you? I doubt it.

Let's do this little skit again. This time though, let's change thing up a bit.

Company: Hi Johnny, tell me why you'd like this job.

You: Well, I drive by your place every day because it's near my house. I've noticed what you do here and I've come to learn about your operation. There are a few areas that I think might need updating. It'd be good for business. I have experience in exactly what you produce. so I'd be a good fit. If you hire me, you'd pay nothing for training, since I already know what I'm doing. That saves you money. I believe that with my experience, I can increase your sales by at least 75%. That would cover my salary, which would only be a small portion of that increased income. I'd cost you nothing and position your company well for years to come.

Company: Now that's music to my ears Johnny. You're hired.

Do you notice the difference? In the first example, all Johnny spoke of was his own wants and needs. In the second, he spoke of the company's. It was smart of him to speak only of the company's needs because really, that's all the company cares about. It could care less if Johnny wants a new gold necklace. Now, if we break this down even further to discuss the desires of the hiring manager himself, he may have been teetering on losing his own job because sales were down for the company overall. If that were the case, Johnny's experience and promises to increase sales would affect the manager personally. He'd be able to continue paying his mortgage and all his bills. His life would remain stable. That's motivation enough to hire the applicant.

The lesson here is simple. As nice as some people are, they truly don't care about you or your wants and needs. What they care most about is their own. Even if they claim that they care of your well being, what they actually care about is your well being and how it impacts them. Not to sound crass here, but that's the truth. So, since this is true, why not tap into that natural part of the human psyche? When you ask a girl or a guy to go on a date, you wouldn't say, "Hey, I really want to go on a date with you. It would improve my life immensely." What you'd rather say is, ""Hey, you should really go on a date with me because it could improve your life immensely." Your goal would be for the girl or guy to want you, not accept the fact that you want them. It's simple psychology.

Principle #3 - Arouse in the other person an eager want.


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Part Two - Six Ways to Make People Like You

Chapter 1 - Do This and You'll be Welcome Anywhere

This may be the most important principle in the entire book. It's true, I swear it is. I know it is because for one month, when I was 22 years old in college, I practiced and put this principle in action for an entire month. The result? People loved me. I'm not boasting here either. People genuinely appreciated being around me. I paid them attention like they've never been paid in their lives and they couldn't get enough of it. It was incredible to watch.

I have a friend who lives far away. We used to live near one another, but I moved to a distant land. We still keep in touch and I like him a lot. There is one facet of his personality that could use some work though and that facet is the fact that he's more interested in himself than he is in other people. And it shows. I mean, we're actually all more interested in ourselves, but we won't win any friends advertising that. When I used to speak with him while we saw each other face to face, he had a habit of only talking about himself. And now that we talk only over the phone, he continues to only talk about himself. While I do love him and I'm sure he means no harm, his self centeredness does get annoying at times. I sometimes wonder why I talk to him at all. The primary problem is, and this is going to sound like I'm complaining, but he doesn't make me feel as though he values me at all. I know he does because he's done things to show he cares, but the fact that he's shown little interest in my points of view during our conversations has taken a toll.

Have you ever experienced something like this? Where someone you speak to talks about themselves too much? If you have, you surely know what I'm referring to here. Now think about this: If not paying attention to someone's point of view and feelings has a negative effect, how do you think actually paying attention would be perceived? That's right, whomever you speak to would feel valued and would want to continue the conversation and relationship in general. Dale Carnegie uses the example of a dog in his book. When you come home from school or work and your dog greets you at the door excitedly and selflessly, you love that dog as much as you can. The dog never asks for anything. It just wags its tail, jumps about, and is truthfully happy to see you. Humans should emulate some of these traits. They'd get far if they did.

Back when I was in college trying out my "paying attention to people" experiment, I was sure to ask how the person I was speaking to was doing. I'd ask them about their trip, their day, what they had plans to do, and anything else I thought they had going on at the moment. They were only too happy to talk about themselves. But unlike my friend who talks about himself without being asked, these people talked about themselves because they noticed my interests in them. There's a big difference. One just wants to hear himself speak while the other is answering valid questions. I highly recommend you give this a try. The next person you come across, ask them how their day was. When they answer, go into detail about something and question them about that. Show your interest in what they say. Follow up and continue asking. Be sure to avoid interjecting your own experiences and points of view during the conversation and see how it goes. You'll be shocked at the results. The person to whom you're speaking will likely walk away impressed with your conversationalist style. They may even compliment you or praise you to others they interact with. To get ahead and to obtain the favor of others, you need to pay them attention and show interest in their lives. People love talking about themselves and it should be your job to encourage that. Miracles will happen if you do.

Principle #1 - Become genuinely interested in other people.