Alright, alright this might be a cop-out but the entrepreneur interview I had for this week fell through. Then I went to Chicago for an event put on by my company. I didn’t get around to blogging. Soooo enjoy this book review, trust me if you’re an entrepreneur this book is a life changer!!
There are certain books that we’ve heard of over and over and over that we “should” read. We get them at the library, borrow them or even purchase them but never seem to get around to reading them. Well I finally took initiative and read one of these books and I gotta say it’s now a yearly must read. The book…(drum roll please) “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. If you’ve read it, that’s great hopefully you learned as much as I did, if you haven’t here’s a little book review to help you get motivated to pick it up. There are four parts to this book.
Part I: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People-Mr. Carnegie gives three principles in this section, the first one was the most important to me. He says “don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” Anyone who has worked in the corporate world knows that these are the “Three Big C’s.” It seems that everyone is critical (look at me being critical of others being critical, oops) of their manager or co-workers or the sales team or the marketing guys, it goes on and on. Then the complaining begins (again, here I am complaining about the complainers, geeez) and the venting starts it’s a vicious cycle. I’ve found myself in this same cycle but have made a conscious effort in not being apart of the Three Big C’s since reading this book. It’s easy to be critical and complain but fighting the urge to do so helps build relationships and connections that could potentially help you in the future. As well as helps against creating enemies and burning bridges.
Part II: Six Ways to Make People Like You-This section has had a HUUUGE impact on me. It gives good advice such as smile, remember and say names when addressing others, be a good listener etc. All great pieces of advice but this one line sums it up for me “become genuinely interested in other people.” I mean think about it your best friends aren’t people who talk about themselves, they are people who actually ask about your life. Obviously there is some give and take but I always leave a conversation feeling better when the other person asks about my life and my interests. At the end of the day who do we reaaaally care about? Ourselves…Let’s be honest we are all looking out for #1 (at least to some degree). So if we actually take the time to genuinely ask about the lives of people we meet, I can guarantee (bold statement…okay almost guarantee) you that, that person is going to leave the conversation thinking, “yeah that’s a cool dude/dudete.” You’ll gain new friends and strengthen the ones you already have. Ever since reading this section I’ve had fun listening into other people’s conversations (yes I eavesdrop) and hear how much we actually talk about ourselves. It’s actually surprising how much we love talking about “little ol’ me.” So make it a point to be genuinely interested in others.
Part III: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking-This section in all honesty is the one I need the most work. Simply put…drop your pride. Here is the breakdown to get people to think your way according to Dale Carnegie…
1. Start out friendly
2. Never say “you’re wrong”
3. If you’re wrong admit it as quick as possible
4. Get them to say “yes” as soon as possible
Here is the sentence I underlined in my book “make suggestions-and let the other person think out the conclusion.” I have to admit I really really really want to win arguments but at the end of the day when most people argue nobody leaves happy and they probably leave with a stronger stance on their own point. I have yet to see anyone change their stance on an important matter based off a Facebook post. When you can lead a person to come up with their own conclusion based upon calm, friendly questions and suggestions they will agree with you because they are the ones coming up with the conclusion (easier said than done, I know) not you. Give it a try, let me know how it works for you, I’d love to hear suggestions 🙂
Part IV: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment-When I think of the people who I consider to be the best leaders in my life I find they fall into some or all of the categories mentioned in this section. Here are a few examples…
My parents as leaders in our home always gave us a “fine reputation to live up to.” When we did something well we were praised and then asked to live up to that standard. If we weren’t able to keep up that standard we were never criticized but made aware that we had done well in the past and could continue to reach that level in the future.
I had a wrestling coach that was great at “beginning with praise.” He would list the moves I did well then followed up with how I could improve.
Lastly one of my first jobs after high school was part of a yard crew for a property maintenance company (mowing lawns, pulling weeds etc.). I worked there with my younger brother. Our boss was the CEO and founder of the company. One thing he was great at was allowing us to “save face.” My brother and I messed up probably more than we should have but we were always allowed to make up for those mistakes. One time in particular we were spraying the lawn weeds with poison. We had two types of poison that we used, one was for planters and sidewalk cracks (killzall, it killed everything) the other was for lawn weeds (2-4d). Well…as you can guess…we mixed up the poisons and killed a lot of spots on several lawns. We probably should have been fired but he allowed us the time to dig up the spots and lay new sod (wasn’t a fun restitution but it was better than the alternative). He could have fired us but nothing would have been solved. He would’ve had to find new hires and we wouldn’t have learned to be more careful and pay attention.
As a leader these are several actionable steps that can be taken to become better at leading those we are in charge of. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a must read my friends! If you’ve read it, what do you think about it? Did you get as much out of it as I did? If you haven’t go ahead and commit to reading it in the comments below! 🙂 🙂 Cheers.