My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

As part of my New Year’s resolution I recently listened to an audio book version of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is a highly recommended book and it did change the way I think about some of my interactions.

This book is broken into five sections.

Part 1 – Fundamental Techniques In Handling People
Part 2 – Six Ways To Make People Like You
Part 3 – Twelve Ways To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking
Part 4 – Be a Leader: How To Change People Without Giving Offence Or Arousing Resentment
Part 5 – Letters That Produced Miraculous Results

Each part contains recommendations and and lessons. Carnegie punctuates these with numerous stories from people in all walks of life. The basic lessons are as follows:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, 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 genuinely 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. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways 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’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  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. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

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

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  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 what you suggest.

This book was written with a business setting in mind but I found many of the principles applicable to education and interactions with students, parents and administrators. The main thing that struck me from this book is the idea that praise should be direct and frequent, while criticism should be indirect and occasional. Typing it out makes it seem obvious but in the daily rush, this can be difficult to achieve with all students in a meaningful way. Carnegie’s straightforward style made this goal seem achievable and important.

I only had one qualm with the text and it was a minor one. This book was released in 1936 so get ready to hear some outdated terms and ideas. I chuckled over Carnegie’s use of words like ‘Orient’ and ‘telegram’ and his ideas about housewives and female workers. This book was written in a different time so don’t take these things as insensitive. I didn’t and it made this read more enjoyable.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking to hone their interpersonal skills. Although some of the recommendations may seem a bit pandering, when delivered with sincerity, they would work much of the time. I’m implementing them in my classes and the students are blossoming under the extra feedback. Happy reading!

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