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*A Book Review*

How To Win Friends & Influence People

By Dale Carnegie

by Michael C. Gray

June 28, 2002

Would you like to make more friends? Would you like to be able to persuade more people to your way of thinking? Would you like to be a better parent? A better salesperson? Then you will want to put How To Win Friends & Influence People on your annual reading list.

How To Win Friends & Influence People is one of the granddaddies of the self-help genre. Dale Carnegie first published the book in 1937. It has continued to be popular because of the always-appealing topic and because of Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc., the organization that perpetuates Dale Carnegie's courses.

How To Win Friends & Influence People is an American non-fiction classic. But, when I gave a personal development seminar to a group of university accounting graduates, I only received blank stares when I asked if they had ever heard of the book.

When I was growing up, the first self-help book I can remember reading was my father's yellow-paged copy of How To Win Friends & Influence People, and it's message is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1937 and when I first read it during the 1960s.

Many years ago, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Carnegie Institute of Technology conducted investigations that found about 15 percent of one's financial success is due to technical knowledge; 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering -- personality and the ability to lead people.

Most universities do a fine job of teaching technical knowledge, but not many teach those critical "people skills". That's why many organizations continue to require their junior executives to complete the Dale Carnegie Course In Effective Speaking And Human Relations. You could think of the course as an executive finishing school. One of the textbooks for the course is How To Win Friends & Influence People.

This book isn't based on dry theory, but on the experiences of students in Dale Carnegie's courses who applied the ideas to find out what really works in more effective human relations. And many other things may have changed, but human nature hasn't changed over all these years.

What is the principal message of this book? It's basically to live the Golden Rule -- "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." How do you do this? Through empathy. Take an interest in other people. Understand their interests and motives. Give them praise, encouragement and appreciation. Understand that one of the greatest human needs is to feel important.

This "you" focus instead of the "me" focus, of giving and incidentally receiving, is a way of life promoted in this book.

Dale Carnegie was a teacher of communication skills, and How To Win Friends & Influence People is a masterful piece of communication that is well worth studying. Dale Carnegie initially engages us in each chapter with questions and stories. He states the principle for the chapter. Then he gives examples, some from historic leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Charles Schwab (formerly the president of Bethlehem Steel), and some from students of the Carnegie courses throughout the world. The more recent editions of the book also include more contemporary examples. Finally, there is a one sentence "executive summary" at the end of each chapter and an "In A Nutshell" list of principles at the end of each section of the book.

Frank Bettger, author of How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling, was a student and dear friend of Dale Carnegie (who urged him to write his book.) Bettger used Carnegie's format in writing his book with great success. (Maybe you can too!)

Dale Carnegie had a crisp, lively style that keeps you involved. You know that a human being wrote this book. And you feel that human being is talking directly to you.

So give yourself a treat with a big side benefit. Find yourself an easy chair and enjoy reading How To Win Friends & Influence People. Even better, sign yourself and your employees up for the Dale Carnegie Course In Effective Speaking and Human Relations. You will be paid back many times over through better human relations and more satisfied customers.

Buy it on Amazon: How to Win Friends & Influence People.

For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie is still as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1937.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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