I first read Dale Carnegie’s Winning Friends & Influencing People three decades ago as a young teenager. I was a nerdy kid with odd tastes in reading material, and the idea of making friends & being influential seemed pretty cool. I can’t honestly say that I have utilized Mr. Carnegie’s concepts in the ensuing years, atleast not intentionally. However, I would like to think that I learned a bit thru osmosis and have been using these techniques on some subconscious level. I recently decided, for no apparent reason, to re-read the book, and since I now have this forum to share my thoughts with the masses I am passing on the ideas within on to The Manoverse. You’re welcome.
In case you are curious…no, Dale Carnegie is not related to Andrew Carnegie (for whom Carnegie Hall in NY City & Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh is named). As a matter of fact, Dale Carnagey changed the spelling of his surname to capitalize on the prominence of the highly esteemed steel tycoon & philanthropist. Dale C. was a salesman of modest means who eventually began teaching courses in public speaking. He wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936, and eighty+ years later people are still reading it. Over 30 million copies have been sold, and it is universally regarded as one of the most influential books ever written. Dale Carnegie almost single-handedly created the self-help genre of books, which, depending on one’s perspective, is either a great thing or a sign that the end is near. I tend not to get too caught up in those kinds of books, but an occasional gem pops up, and this is definitely one of the best.
I suppose some might consider the ideas espoused by Carnegie a bit manipulative. However, he makes it very clear…more than once…that anyone who uses the skills he teaches must do so genuinely. Trickery & deceit may work temporarily, but at the end of the day such duplicity is better left to fictional villains on TV & in movies. Keep it real…if there is one major philosophy to take away from the book that might be at the top of the list. Of course there are moments (far too frequently for some of us) when what we are really thinking & feeling and what we’d like to actually say or do would certainly not accomplish the stated goals in the book’s title. It is precisely those situations in which the things taught by Carnegie come in handy. His ideas need to become more of a perpetual attitude & approach to social interaction, not a fraudulent hoax to get what we want. I have found it much easier in my life to be authentic & honest rather than keep track of a trail of lies that tend to multiply exponentially, and being a decent, kind, cooperative person is better for your health & well-being. Other people actually liking you is really just a nice bonus.
How to Win Friends & Influence People is broken down into four sections: fundamental techniques in handling people, ways to make people like you, winning people to your way of thinking, & changing people without giving offense or arousing resentment. In the interest of reading comprehension, good eye health, & old-fashioned reader satisfaction I think it is best to separate my contribution here into those four parts, and so I shall. Stay tuned.