How to win friends and influence people – Book Review

Book Review of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is an iconic book that has sold over 30 million copies and become part of the common lexicon. Originally written as a textbook aid for seminars, it has since become an essential read for anyone interested in the business book genre. Carnegie’s principles are easy to grasp but take a lifetime to master. His thesis is that those who do master them will find success easier in every way.

Carnegie’s first principle is that criticism is pointless and counter-productive. People on the receiving end of criticism are likely to reject it and harbour ill-feeling as a result. Instead, he suggests being empathetic and trying to understand why the other person has done things the way they have, without jumping to conclusions. Communicating without criticising is easier said than done, especially for business managers.

To effect change in people, Carnegie suggests making the other person want to perform the actions in question. This starts by taking the time to understand the contributions people make and giving sincere appreciation. From there, talk to them about what they want and show them how to achieve it. This arouses within them an eagerness to act. The key to success, according to Carnegie, is the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from their angle as well as from your own.

Carnegie also outlines techniques to build stronger relationships with people. This includes becoming interested in the details of the other person’s life, being positive, remembering names, being a good listener, talking in terms of the other person’s interests, and making the other person feel important in a sincere way. He packs this section with examples and case studies to illustrate his points.

In the next section of the book, Carnegie outlines how to win people to your way of thinking. He suggests that in a confrontation, even if you are right, the other person is unlikely to be interested in your point of view. Instead, focus on their point of view and find common ground. If you are wrong, just admit it. Humility is key.

Finally, Carnegie talks about how to engage with people as a manager or leader. He recommends being open about your own mistakes, asking questions to provoke engagement, and using encouragement to build confidence and make challenges seem easy to overcome.

In conclusion, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie stands as a timeless masterpiece in the realm of personal development and leadership. Its enduring popularity and relevance, decades after its first publication, attest to the universal applicability and effectiveness of Carnegie’s principles. The book’s insights go beyond mere business tactics; they are life lessons in empathy, communication, and human relations.

Carnegie’s emphasis on understanding and valuing the perspective of others, coupled with practical strategies for positive engagement, makes it a crucial guide for anyone aspiring to lead, influence, or simply improve their interpersonal relationships. While the concepts may seem straightforward, their implementation requires patience, practice, and a genuine interest in the welfare of others. This book is not just about achieving success; it’s about cultivating a life of respect, influence, and meaningful connections. Whether for a budding entrepreneur, a seasoned executive, or anyone in between, Carnegie’s teachings offer a roadmap to a more fulfilling personal and professional life, making this book an invaluable addition to any library.

About the author: James Chaplin
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