Title: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Author: Dale Carnegie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
“Everybody in the world is seeking happiness—and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.” -Dale Carnegie.
The book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, is a classic and even today, years since it was published, it’s still just as if not more popular, why? Because this book is behind all the other books about influencing people.
The story about how I became interested in this book is quite curious. I had heard about it before, but didn’t really get into it. Years passed and one day, after a boxing class, in a conversation with my coach, he told me about the book and how he read it when he was in jail, a good place to use its techniques and lesson I would say!
After the talk and the amazing story, I started thinking about this book and the ‘influence’ it had on other books and world culture in general. From among all its lessons and psychological tricks, stick with me, as in this review I’m going to share the three most valuable lessons I took from this great book, let’s start!
Become Genuinely Interested in Other People
I am going to say something that might offend you…but you are not the centre of the universe. Believe it or not, everybody has problems, everybody has issues, and everybody has a story to tell! And this lesson can be tied to another lesson called: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
All the lessons are related to each other in some way, but this one talks about a reality that nobody is talking about; sometimes people can be so selfish and narcissistic that it seems like we do not care about anyone else.
You might argue that we should all focus on ourselves, and it is true, but as a society, there are times where our position is as givers and not as takers, and in life in general, sometimes our position is as leaders, not as followers.
Jordan B. Peterson, the psychology rockstar, talks about this; after years of experience in clinical psychology and treating patients says that: if we only started listening to the person, we have next to us we will realize that people ARE interesting. Some people know things you do not know. If we only listened more, we would learn so much from others, and we would not repeat the same mistakes other people made.
Show Respect for the Other Person’s Opinions, Never Say, “You’re Wrong”
We all have seen people arguing, especially these last few years, and with all the controversies, people just do not respect others. Let me share an example:
Last week I was in a park and outside were anti-vax people holding signs, after a few minutes some teenagers started arguing with them, and from my perspective, it did not look like a pleasant interaction. I don’t care if you’re pro vaccines or against them, the point here is that today we cannot have normal debates anymore, people think they know the absolute truth about absolutely everything.
If you want to influence people, I bet you will never scream in their faces; even if you disagree with the other, show some respect, you can agree to disagree, and you will not lose your pride. And in the cases where you are the calm person and the other one is screaming at you, just remember this simple advice from the rapper Kevin Gates on what to do when you show respect, but the other person does not: ‘Let the clown have the circus.’
Talk about Your Own Mistakes Before Criticizing the Other Person
If you genuinely want to understand people’s behavior, you must walk in their shoes, that is the premise of this lesson, and the keyword here is ’empathy.’
Not everybody has the same background, psychologically speaking, what you learn at home, from your parents, school, your friends, and the context, and environment where you live, will shape you to react in a specific way to a specific stimulus.
With All People, in all Situations, it’s Always Better to Add Value than to Detract from it
For example, if you grow up in a place where showing your emotions was something unthinkable and every single day the words ‘you are useless’ were said to you, how could you expect that person to be an expressive and ‘happy’ adult? A lot of therapy, would probably be needed.
So, even though books talk about this in a business context, this is an important concept that we should all know regardless of our niche.
Now, when influencing people, you must tell the other person your experience on that topic, but I am not talking about showing off, I am talking about showing vulnerability; in other words: ‘I am not saying this because I know more than you or because you are not capable of doing it, I am telling you this because I have been there, I know that feeling and I do not want you to make my same mistake.’
There is a big difference between these two perspectives.
In a way, it seems like I have been talking about how to be a better person rather than how to win friends and influence people, but that is the secret; if you are a good and honest person people will listen to you, otherwise, why should they?
This is a quick, and easy summary where the only thing you need to remember is that if you want people to follow you, you’d be better off giving them good reasons, upfront!
- “Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
- “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
- “Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
- A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”
- “To be interesting, be interested.”