Business book bites: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

41+7Y+I2kTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_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.


Business book bites: “The McKinsey Mind”

I mentioned earlier that I love audiobooks. I’ve decided to spend all of my listening time from now on on various business-related books, which is a huge change for me. I really prefer fiction, especially sci-fi, horror and YA (I was making my way through a ton of Stephen King before making this switch). Anyway, I thought I’d jot down some pseudo reviews and thoughts on what I’ve been listening to lately on this blog.

ImageThe McKinsey Mind, by Ethan Rasiel

This book is apparently a follow-up book to The McKinsey Way. The only reason I listened to this one instead of the original was because The McKinsey Mind was available on audible and The McKinsey Way wasn’t.

From the back cover:

Structured around interviews and frontline anecdotes from former McKinsey consultants ­­as well as the authors, themselves McKinsey alumni­­, The McKinsey Mind explores how McKinsey tools and techniques can be applied to virtually any business problem in any setting. Immensely valuable in today’s crisis-a-minute workplace, it discusses:

  • Techniques for framing problems and designing analyses
  • Methods for interpreting results and presenting solutions
  • Keys for managing teams, managing clients, and managing yourself

[…] Let The McKinsey Mind show you how to approach and solve problems with the skill of a McKinsey consultant and obtain the positive results that have been delivered to McKinsey clients for over a century.

Those are some big promises, huh? But honestly, this book was downright terrible. I couldn’t even finish listening to it; I got about 80% of the way through before giving up. Maybe I shouldn’t judge it because I never finished it. But I never stop listening to books mid-way; I’ve only done that with one other of the hundreds I’ve listened to (That book was Game of Thrones. I know so many people out there love it, but I just wasn’t happening for me.)

The McKinsey Mind is full of lame unhelpful platitudes like “Don’t boil the ocean.” It also offers gems like, “Give your clients advice tailored to their business.” Wow, really? You mean I shouldn’t treat a small business and and multi-million dollar international conglomerate the same way? Thanks for the tip.

The book completely lacks in applicable, practical methods or analyses, which is weird, because that’s exactly what the book promises to deliver. One reviewer on Amazon wrote, “If this were a book on picking stocks, the equivalent would be ‘buy low, sell high.'” I don’t think I can capture it any better than that!

SKIP IT. Maybe The McKinsey Way is better? I won’t be attempting it, though. Let me know if you do.


Coming up next: How to Win Friends and Influence People and The 2-Hour Job Search