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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