The book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

The Dale Carnegie book "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

The Dale Carnegie book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" contains a wealth of suggestions on the subject of interpersonal communication. According to the author, one of a person's most potent character traits is their ability to communicate with and affect others. According to the book's preface, the author did a lot of study into the successes and failures of those who have tried to influence others actively. Carnegie concentrates on a range of interactions, such as social, leadership, and familial ones. Despite being published eighty years ago, the book contains valuable concepts that are still relevant today. The lifestyles of people have changed considerably over the years, but the fundamental aspects of communicating and dealing with humans remain the same.

In part VI: How to Live Happier Lives at Home

In part VI of the book, Carnegie discusses how people can live happier lives at home. Apparently, the same issues that were affecting families, specifically marriages, in the 1930s are the same to date. Carnegie asserts that "if you want to keep your home life happy, Rule 1 is: Don't, don't nag!!!" (217). He gives the examples of great people such as Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, and Leo Tolstoi, who all had successful public lives but very miserable private lives. Therefore, despite their success, they were never happy at home. The case is quite similar to what is happening today with celebrities and leaders. They have excellent public lives but still, live in depression because they do not have happiness at home. For example, an accomplished golfer such as Tiger Woods is having a difficult time with his life because of family issues. Carnegie gives a perfect advice that "Success in marriage is much more than a matter of finding the right person; it is also a matter of being the right person" (219). This is what couples need to hear today just as they did in 1937.

Carnegie's Best Piece of Advice

I think Carnegie's best piece of advice is "Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view" (152). Most personal, professional, and even global conflicts emerge because of selfish perceptions of issues. We all want to have things going our way with little regard to others. Therefore, this advice by Carnegie is greatest because it encourages people to be sympathetic before making any decision. Surprisingly, this seems to be a summary of most of the advice offered throughout the book. For example, Carnegie says "Make the other person feel important" (104), "Smile" (75), "Let the Other Person Save Face" (186), and "Use encouragement" (199). All these advice and many others can only be possible if individuals think about the views of others. Being honestly concerned about the opinion of others implies that it would be possible to understand them and serve them in the best way possible. Parents will be good to their parents, leaders will help their followers better, and friends will develop a stronger bond when selfish ambitions and thoughts are eliminated from human interactions.

The Power of Seeing Things from the Perspective of Others

The advice of seeing things from the perspective of others enables individuals to have the power to influence people. According to Carnegie, great leaders changed people by the manner they were able to connect with the feelings and needs of the people. He writes that "with Lincoln and Roosevelt, you will have grasped the only solid foundation for interpersonal relationships; namely, that success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person's viewpoint" (149). This implies that the application of this advice has the power to change the world. When leaders understand how the population feels and what they need, they can quickly meet their expectations. Therefore, it is only possible to win people and influence them by understanding their point of view. That is the reason I consider this advice to be superior to others offered by the author.

The Worst Advice: "Dramatize Your Ideas"

The worst advice provided by Carnegie is that of "Dramatize your ideas" (167). He encourages people to "use showmanship," like in the television and movies, as a way to influence people. This is an inadequate counsel because many individuals who use drama to communicate are not honest. They rely on actions and spectacle because their words are not enough to convince others. More so, the dramatic people are very talkative and hard to cope with because they are also attention seekers. Carnegie asserts that the best way to build friendship using conversation is to "Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves" (90). Those who dramatize tend to seek unnecessary attention from those around them. It can be good for business and politics but not for building lasting relationships. When a baby wants something, it can cry and throw tantrums as a way to grab the responsiveness of the caregiver. It does this because talking is a problem. More so, Carnegie makes it clear that the best way to interest people is "Talking in terms of the other person's interests" (94). Therefore, an adult should communicate without the element of "showmanship." Carnegie did not do well to advise his readers to act like fake people on TV and movies. It shows a lack of sincerity and maturity.

The Validity and Applicability of Carnegie's Ideas

I think the ideas presented by Carnegie in his book are quite valid and applicable in human relations. It is evident that he did a thorough research before compiling the information he had into a book. He makes it clear that he observed people and even paid other people to research on the topic of influencing people. Therefore, the presentation of the book is quite impressive. The author not only issues advice but also gives specific examples of real life situations. He uses illustrations from famous people who have influenced the world as well as ordinary people who perfected the art of winning the affection of others. I also like the fact that the ideas in the book are all rounded. They are applicable in a person life, in business, politics, and social groups. Therefore, anybody can relate to the information. Personally, the last part of the book, about making home life happier, helped me improve my relationship. In conclusion, it is expected that the book by Carnegie will continue impacting the world long after it was written. The advices issued by the author are timeless. Even in the next 100 years, people can still read the book and find it useful in their lives. It touches on issues of humanity that are quite fundamental to healthy interpersonal relationships.

Works cited

Carnegie, Dale. How to Win Friends and Influence People. 1937

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