Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence
People by Dale Carnegie

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a book I have seen on a few people’s hands in my career.  It’s not a book I thought much about until recently when I decided I needed to improve my soft skills.  So I went shopping at Amazon to look up some books and check out some reviews.  Most great books will average 500 reviews, the better ones will have 2000+.  But the great ones will have over 10,000 reviews, when you combine all the editions, as such was the case for Dale Carnegie’s book.

I ordered the 70th anniversary edition (the one shown is the 2012 edition). I wasn’t thinking much about the publication date as I wanted to get the one closest to the original edition.  And let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed.

For those of you who have seen the old black and white movies.  The black and white movies where the narrator speaks in short sentences.  And he speaks in a monotone voice as if always sure of himself.  So sure that you don’t hear any doubt in his voice.  No doubt what’s so ever. Well, this is how this book reads.   It’s superbly entertaining.

Now, if you are someone who deals with people.  People like family, friends, work colleagues, clients, bosses, or anyone really, then this book is for you.  I won’t give away the plot, but I will say that the book is very well written.  And considering that the topic is 80 years old, it’s surprising how much everything in the book still applies today.

The book covers every aspect of human interaction, starting with the most obvious that most people will recognize to the most advanced topics that some may not quite grasp.

Every chapter starts with a short description of the topic.  Then followed by some actual events in history; just a note that Dale loves Abraham Lincoln.  Then finally with a final few words to wrap it all up. For example:

  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  • Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  • Become genuinely interested in other people.

This 250 to 300 pages long book, depending on the edition, takes a pragmatic approach to real life situations. It contains a lot of useful information for anyone who struggles to deal with people in difficult situations. Whether you lack the skills or the other person is difficult to deal with, this book will help. And it’s a must reread every year.

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Topple the Empire State Building with Dominos

Domino Spiral
Domino Spiral – Matt Cavanagh

Social media sites can be full of inspiration and learning potential, including sites like Facebook and YouTube, as long as you follow the right crowd and take the time to explore.  Today I was reviewing my news feed on facebook and saw this cool video that I had previously seen a long time ago on the Canadian edition of the Discovery channel.  At the time, the value was purely scientific. But one thing that life has taught me is that everything you learn can be applied almost anywhere.  This is why experience and continuous learning is so damn cool and important.

What the video shows is rather simple, but when you think about it a little or a lot who knows, you can take the approach and apply it to your life and career. Look at the video and let me know what you think.
So what does this video teach me:
  • No matter how small you are, anything is achievable.
  • The path to greatness is not always direct and immediate.
  • Things may take time, but eventually, with determination, you’ll get there.
  • Playing with dominos is damn cool.
  • And it only takes 29 dominos to topple the Empire State Building.
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