It is hard to believe that How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, was written at the same time as “Think and Grow Rich.” It was easier reading and a lot less cringeworthy in it’s attitudes. All of us at York Business BookClub thought it was a really good book for life and would recommend it to others to read.
We all liked that each chapter set out a method of how to win friends and influence people, then gave a number of examples from both business and family life and then gave a succinct summary of the chapter such as:
“Become genuinely interested in other people”
“Be a good listener”
“Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.”
I particularly liked the recommendation to move away from criticism and dispute as it never gets you anywhere – something that people today, particularly on social media, could learn a lesson from.
During discussion about the book there was some feeling that people “had got wise” to these techniques – for example, whilst getting names right is a good thing, using a first name repeatedly with a stranger can be a bit creepy. There has also been a change in attitudes since the 1930s – a man flattering a women’s figure is unlikely to go down very well in today’s workplace! We also felt it was a bit “American”. Brits may not be so receptive if someone came in to a business meeting and asked a lot of unrelated questions or had find out in advance the names of their children or where you lived.
What did I get out of it?
At the end of each of our Business BookClub’s our facilitator Ros Jones always asks us what we got out of it and what we would change.
My main feelings from the book were that the best way to work and live is to avoid conflict and to make other people feel important. As a result I am going to try to turn around my communication away from “what I do” to “what do you do” and to listen more.