How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Recently I have seen several recommendations for the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie so I went to the local library and picked it up. It was a great read with real practical advice and lots of examples. The title sounds somewhat cheesy and manipulative but it’s not at all. Basically it’s about how to find out what people want and then give it to them. In the book there is a nice summary of all the points and you find them easily on the internet. Just search for the book title. Therefore I’m not reciting them here. I want to point out a few that I think are very important:

Don’t criticize, condemn or complain!

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes them strive to justify themselves. This is very true. You can easily observe how your mental reaction is to someone criticizing you. Do you feel good? Do you feel motivated to do better? Do you like the other person criticizing you? Try to observe others if you criticize them. How do they react? How is the mood of your conversation afterwards? In my experience citicism does not really lead to what you intended. Try it out yourself and observe!

Give honest and sincere appreciation!

This is exactly the opposite of the point above. Some time ago I had a boss who compliented me on my good work often. I cannot objectivly tell if my work was that good. However the result of the compliments was that I felt motivated to do even better. I wanted to conform and to keep conforming to my bosses top notch opinion of me. Have you experienced something similar? Instead of criticizing others try to appreciate the thing they did good and observe what happens.

Become genuinely interested in other people!

Be a good listener! Encourage others to talk about themselves! Let the other person talk about her/his favorite person – herself/himself. I remember a situation when I was talking about something I’m interested in and the other person was listening closely, asking a few questions here and there but not talking much – just listening. The result? It made me feel totally understood and appreciated. It made me like the other person! Have you experienced this? Try to be interested in other people and try to learn stuff from them and observe what happens.
Check out the book! It has lots of great insights!

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