How to Win Friends and Influence People | BOOK REVIEW

Ep 343 - How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie ...

Carnegie's book sold over 16 million copies, his expertise in human relations is widely appreciated amongst the most successful people in the world and even by one of the greatest investors in history, Warren Buffet. The book covers 30 principles that can be applied on a daily basis, whether it being in your personal or professional life. It teaches us how to improve our conversations, create new friendships and get people to do what we want by allowing both parties to benefit from a negotiation.

Personally, I liked How to Win Friends and Influence People. It made me reflect on my conversations with people and think about how I can improve my interactions. At my internship, I did a lot of phone pitching. The main aim was to get a meeting set up with a company to discuss a potential partnership opportunity that would allow them to be listed on our app. I couldn't ignore the value in Carnegie's principles, especially in the ways in which it can be applied to salesmanship. The "yes, yes" technique for example involves asking a few questions that you cannot say no to. It makes the other party agree with everything you ask, giving some leeway to propose a business deal.

In some cases the book does state the obvious. One of his principles under Six Ways to Make People like You mentions that we should be good listeners - I mean who would like a person who twiddles with their thumbs when you're trying to talk to them? We know it is important to be good listeners but are we? Have you ever found yourself in your own mind, wandering about what you're going to have for dinner in the middle of a conversation? Bottom line is, we've all done it. It's important to be attentive when people are speaking to you. This will help you to fully grasp what the other person is saying and stay fully engaged in a conversation.

The best bits to take from the book

How to Win Friends and Influence People is separated into four different parts. The first part of the book focuses on the fundamental techniques to use when handling people. In part two, Carnegie identifies six ways to make people like you. In part three, 12 principles cover how to win people to your way of thinking. Lastly, in part four 9 principles are mentioned under how to become an effective leader.

Carnegie emphasises that everyone loves to talk about themselves which is why we should try to encourage people to talk about their own lives and interests rather than our own. When you show an interest in people, people become interested in you. According to Carnegie, "if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions the other person will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments." You never know the type of people you will meet or the stories you will hear,  such connections can grow your network greatly.

In chapter 5 Carnegie mentions the benefits of doing a little bit of research to find out what people are interested in. If you have something you want to request, you will feel more confident approaching the person to talk about themselves rather than directly asking for something. In his example for the principle "talk in terms of the other person's interest", he speaks about Mr Duvernoy who had been trying to sell bread to a hotel in New York but was not getting any luck. After studying human relations and re-evaluating his methods, he found out what the manager of the hotel was interested in and began the initial conversation with this topic. By allowing to have a conversation about what the manager was interested in and what he enjoyed talking about, meant that after four years the manager finally changed his decision and took Mr Duvernoy's offer to buy his bread.

The author states that we should "remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language", some people pay millions just to have buildings named after them. I used to struggle with remembering names and it had nothing to do with bad memory (I would always blame it on this), I was just too lazy to make an effort to remember. Personally I find it a bit insulting when I tell someone my name and they ask "can I call you by a nickname"...Jim Farley remembered 50 thousand names, do we really have an excuse?

Some critique the lack of genuinity behind the book. It is argued that it points out ways to be manipulative in order to get people to do what you want. Carnegie does suggest however that these techniques are not manipulative because both parties should benefit from a negotiation. How to Win Friends and Influence People may be viewed as a book filled with common sense. Giving appreciation to someone may seem obvious but how many of us actually do it? How often do you tell the people you care about that you appreciate them? This can go a long way since the deepest human desire is to feel important, and we all crave appreciation according to Carnegie.

Overall, I think there are many useful techniques you can implement in your life. The writer states the only way we can influence people is by allowing "other people to talk about what they want and show them how to get it", this is not possible without understanding the workings of other people's mind. This skill is crucial if you want to persuade people to believe in your vision. Although the examples used are quite outdated, the book still provides some valuable insight in how we can build better connections and influence people too. Carnegie's work made me realise that learning about human relations and putting it into practice will take you further on the path of success that you think.

"When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity" - Dale Carnegie