For this exercise, I am rewriting this book review.
When I heard of How to Win Friends & Influence People, I dismissed it as a manual on how to manipulate people. I thought only self-interested individuals would care for such knowledge. After reading this book I have resolved that everybody should read it.
This book reminds us of simple truths that we all know, but fail to practice. Carnegie emphasizes the need to live out these truths. I felt much better about myself in the few instances that I applied these principles.
Just the introduction had me on the edge of my seat. Carnegie emphasizes the power of treating others as we would have them treat us. He says that understanding how others think is the key to getting to them.
Biggest Takeaway From Part 1
All humans crave sincere appreciation. When we are complimented, we become approachable. When we are criticized, we become defensive. The way we react to situations is similar to how others would react to them. The author challenges us to give honest and sincere appreciation every chance we get.
In dealing with people, Carnegie recommends “using the right bait to hook a fish”. Every body has interests that matter to them. If we speak to those interests, then that individual becomes amenable to listening to our interests. By starting from another’s interest (right bait), you are able to hook them.
So how do you find out what the best bait is for your target audience? By genuinely listening to them. More-so, do research on them. Find blogs and articles they have written. Spend a few minutes on their social media platforms. You will quickly get a glimpse of what matters to them.
Biggest Takeaway From Part 2
Always remember people’s names. According to Carnegie, a person’s name is “the sweetest and important sound in any language[to them].” Replace the phrase “I am so bad with names!” with a mechanism to remember names.
Carnegie also encourages us to emulate dogs. Have you noticed how excited they get every time their owner returns? Have the joy of dog. Be thrilled for people. Have a genuine interest in people. Spend time with them, learn their language, know where they come from.
Biggest Takeaway From Part 3
Carnegie argues that the best way to win an argument is to avoid it. In arguments our first instinct is to fight back. This chapter urges us to act in a manner counter to this. First, he recommends that we find areas of agreement. Next he suggests that we see promise to read up on our opponent’s stance and ask them to do the same. This shows mutual respect and minimizes arguments.
Biggest Takeaway From Part 4
Leaders should suggest ways to improve things, rather than give orders. Recently, a friend confided that her boss had berated her over the quality of her work. Meanwhile, she had sent updates to her boss for two weeks. Not once did her boss suggest she edit anything. According to Carnegie, a leader should begin with praise where it is due and then suggest improvements.
Anybody who want to sell ideas, or products needs to read this book.