How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie) – Review

Dealing with people is one of the central tasks that we humans have to solve. Many lack empathy, sensitivity, and understanding for others. The book aims to overcome these weaknesses step by step if you are ready to question your communication habits. Since the book deals with basic principles of interpersonal communication rather than tactics, the content is timeless and will still have the same value in decades.

Who is this book for?

The content of the book is not only aimed at salespeople, managers, parents, teachers, and people who want to make a good first impression or want to make themselves friendlier. It is for everyone who has to do with people, i.e. all of us, no matter where they are in life.
In the following, I will just give you a few important and interesting principles of the book for a first glimpse.

Do not criticize or judge other people

We tend to divide our fellow human beings into the categories of good and bad. And since we consider our division to be objective, we assume that bad people should know that they are bad. But that is not the case. Even mass murderers like Al Capone don’t consider themselves bad people. That means no matter how wrong a person is, they will never accuse themselves. It is therefore not only useless but downright counterproductive to criticize other people.

If we accuse someone and prove they are wrong, they will not accept it, but justify and defend themselves by attacking. A person exposed to harsh criticism will harbor a lifelong grudge against the critic. It hardly matters whether the criticism was justified. Behavioral researchers have shown that not only animals but also humans learn good behavior more quickly through reward than through punishment for bad behavior.

Giving honest and sincere appreciation

Carnegie explains that there is only one way to get a person to do something. You have to make him want to do it himself. And this can be achieved, for example, by taking advantage of the desire for recognition. Where criticism destroys all ambition, recognition can mobilize the best forces in people.

Sincerely care about others

People who are only interested in themselves and not in their fellow human beings are often the cause of many problems and often also have difficulties themselves. Taking an interest in others means that once we have shown that we care about them, they will automatically start taking an interest in us too. You have to be genuinely interested in other people and not pretend to be.

Smile
By smiling, we show our fellow human beings that we are happy to see them. And then they are happy too. Carnegie explains that it even works on the phone because a smile can be heard in the voice. Of course, the smile has to be real.

Let others speak and be a good listener

The direct path to the heart of a person leads through those things that are particularly close to the heart of the person concerned. Let them talk about it and listen. Interrupting the conversation at such a moment, or even changing the subject, is the worst thing you can do. Talking about things that interest the other is also very useful when speaking yourself. People can listen for hours if the topic interests them.

Respect other opinions

The easiest way to win an argument is to avoid it because a person always loses and will not be easy to speak afterward. Carnegie explains that even in the worst of circumstances, it is difficult to dissuade anyone from their point of view. And if the person were offended, it would even be impossible to get them to change their minds. You should not tell people directly where they are wrong, but help them to find the mistake themselves. In doing so, he is very likely to admit his mistake.

Allow the other to say yes

When someone says no, it affects their entire attitude to a subject. This changes them mentally into a mode of rejection, and from this state, it is difficult to steer the conversation back in a positive direction. Therefore try to start a conversation positively and let the other say yes.

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Change people without offending or annoying them

It makes sense to express criticism only indirectly. Before you start criticizing, it can also be helpful to talk about your own mistakes first. This shows that you are not infallible and that the criticism doesn’t come across as bad anymore. One should also make sure that the other has an opportunity to protect their reputation. It is not helpful to put someone down in front of the whole team, because it offends people’s pride and dignity and causes resentment.

If someone made a mistake, it is better to thank them for their efforts. Also, you could tell them that you know they’ve done as much as they could and the mistakes are probably not due to a lack of skills. Encourage the other person and give them the feeling that they can easily improve their mistakes. People crave praise and recognition and they are ready to do almost anything for it. But be careful, nobody longs for insincere praise or flattery.

Conclusion

That was just a glimpse of the book. If you want to learn more about dealing with your fellow human beings, then I would recommend reading the book in full. It shows the basic principles of interpersonal communication in a clear, understandable, and imitable way. It is not a question of methods of manipulating people, but rather of improving the quality of the conversations for all participants in the conversation to create a better and more pleasant togetherness.

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