How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
This is one of those classic books that you can’t regret spending the time consuming even if you don’t think it’s that helpful. It’s a cultural phenomenon!
The book doesn’t have any earth-shattering information in it (maybe it did when it came out back in 1937?). It goes through many basic points about garnering people’s favor and supports those points with anecdotes that sounded pretty hokey to my ears. It’s an easy read (or listen). It had a lot of good reminders, though, including:
- Don’t criticize others; praise often
- Listen to others and be genuinely interested in them; ask them about things they want to talk about, not you
- Smile (if you don’t feel like smiling, do it anyway)
- Make others feel important
- And above all, empathize with those around you
Check out the Wikipedia entry for all the bullet points. I use the “ask people questions about themselves” technique a lot. As an introvert, I find it easier when others do most of the talking, and getting people to talk about themselves is the best way to do it.
I have to say that reading the book was kind of depressing, though. It makes it sound like we’re all self-centered, compliment-guzzling, insecure children who are desperately seeking attention from any source. But I guess it’s basically true!
My favorite part of the book was probably this one:
Why not study the technique of the greatest winner of friends the world has ever known? Who is he? You may meet him tomorrow coming down the street. When you get within ten feet of him, he will begin to wag his tail. If you stop and pat him, he will almost jump out of his skin to show you how much he likes you. And you know that behind this show on affection on his part, there are no ulterior motives: He doesn’t want to sell you any real estate and he doesn’t want to marry you.
Dogs are wonderful.
READ IT. I’m glad I listened to this one and checked it off my list.