When How to Win Friends and Influence People hit the streets in 1936, people were amazed. Nothing like it had ever been written before. In this book, Carnegie provides a four-part approach to improving one’s people skills through anecdotes and examples.
Part One covers three basic interpersonal skills. Carnegie explains how showing appreciation for people rather than criticizing them, and inciting a genuine wanting by the other person to want to know better actually opens the door to developing a relationship.
In Part Two, the reader is encouraged to really get to know someone by using six basic steps:
1. Show a genuine interest in the person you are speaking with.
2. Be pleasant and smile.
3. Know and remember the person’s name.
4. Find out about the person and encourage them to talk about themselves.
5. Once you know what they are interested in, talk about that subject.
6. Show the person he is important and he is a pleasure to know.
Part Three addresses ways to influence another person’s opinion without inciting anger or resentment. Through avoiding arguments, respecting the other person’s opinions, admitting mistakes without pointing out theirs, and listening you can find common ground and create a solid base for your ideas.
The final portion of the book deals with leadership skills. Many leaders use intimidation or discipline to show someone how to act or perform. This approach often leads to resentment and contempt. Carnegie suggests a more subtle and positive approach to lead. Through appreciation, praise, and encouragement, and asking a favor instead of barking orders, you can create an atmosphere that people are not only willing to follow, but eager to.
How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the few books that stand the test of time. This is by far my favorite book to date.