30 sound principles for networking and relationships


How to Win Friends and Influence People (Finnish ed.) – Dale Carnegie, Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

In short

This book is one of the most famous self-help books of all time, a classic that is focusing on communication, people skills and networking. It was written already in 1936. Is the advice still valid after 77 years?

As it turns out, very much so.

What is the book all about

The book was originally written to be a study book for Dale Carnegie’s public speaking and interpersonal skills lectures. In essence it’s a collection of principles important both in work and personal life when engaging in communication with others. The thirty principles found in the book are divided loosely under four different themes:

  1. Basic methods of handling people
  2. Six ways to make people like you
  3. Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
  4. Be a leader: How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment

What I love about the book

I read the original 1936 edition version of this book back when I was in high school. I remember it made quite an impact to the 16 year old me. I always thought that I should read it again, but never did. By accident I stumbled upon a new paperback edition of the book in a bookstore in Helsinki this Spring and decided it was time.

I am happy I did. I notice that I still hold dear some learnings I got from it 14 years ago. However there were many things that I really needed to be reminded of once again.

In my current situation especially the part three of the book reminding me of ways how to win people to my way of thinking hit the spot hard. I have a tendency to get into arguments (mostly about small and silly things). Someone says something incorrect and I instantly want to prove him or her wrong. This rarely leads to anything more than bittersweet and shallow victories. As Dale Carnegie reminds us, “The only way to win an argument is to avoid it”.

Reading the book made me realize there are work situations this book will prove a valuable help to solve. As an example from some weeks ago I was handed a plan for actions that I find to be incorrect. My first thought was to rush to the responsible people, ask what they were thinking and to argue that the plan is bad. Now I realize that I need to choose much more delicate way to bring this issue forward. Otherwise I will not change their opinion, which is really the only thing that really matters.

Following the advice from Dale Carnegie, I will focus instead on making them realize where the problems lie in the plan themselves. We will have to try to work together for a better solution, so they feel the idea was theirs as well.

What could be better

bob_about the HtWFaIP

I learned recently that some consider the advice in the “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book to be somewhat calculative or even manipulative. In my opinion this is not really true. Interacting with others leads inevitably to situations when someone is trying to influence the other. To me this book is more about doing this like a nice and decent human being. It stresses the importance of being genuine and honest in all your interactions.

The book I read is the updated edition from 1981 (in Finnish). It omits some of the subjects in the original edition. I believe the changes were made to make the book more to the point and focused. While I understand the reasoning, the original book felt somehow special. I would have preferred to keep the book as it was.

Who is responsible of it all – Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie is one of the pioneers of personal development and author of several self help books. He was born in 1888 in USA and managed to rise from poor backgrounds to a world renown teacher and author of several books about self improvement, salesmanship, corporate training public speaking and interpersonal skills. Read more about him on wikipedia.

He also responsible of establishing a company called Dale Carnegie Training that continues his work to educate people to this day. The company offers courses both in real life and online, they seem to be worth checking out. You can have a look at their courses on their website.

Taking it all together

I believe communication and interaction with others is one of the major skills needed to be successful. This book is a good starting point for mastering that. Even if this book is old, the principles it is based on are sound even today. Some of these principles you might already know, some you might have heard of. However there should be something to think about for everyone.

The book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is available for example from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.