In Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends & Influence People
, the fine
art of getting along with people
in everyday business and social contacts is described
in simple detail, complete with anecdotes, testimonials and examples of the proposed
techniques' success as well as strategies to better incorporate them into the
reader's life and the manner by which he or she approaches it.
Carnegie chalks up financial success as being comprised of two things. Though
obviously important, least significant of the two, he says, is the ability to
actually perform the job. The author maintains that fifteen percent of financial
success is due to one's technical knowledge in his or her profession. It has
come to be expected that a certain level of competency be observed in viable
candidates for continued employment. In effect, being able to do one's job makes
one no different from his or her coworkers.
What separate the wheat from the chaff, however, are personality and the ability
to lead people. This quality is what distinguishes an employee and sets him
or her apart from the anonymity of an organization. As such, Carnegie attributes
the remaining eighty-five percent of one's financial success to skill in human
engineering. He writes: "...the person who has technical knowledge plus
the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm
among people - that person is headed for higher earning power." It
is the integration of the two skill sets that will guarantee success.
The author breaks down the four areas that one must work on to achieve betterment
in social interactions through a series of principles that, though seemingly
logical and sensible, are often overlooked. He does so as a summation of each
chapter following a string of anecdotes and testimonials. Reading through them
all, a pattern in recommended human behavior slowly begins to emerge and upon
completion of the chapter, the principle is clearly articulated in italics and
as a final point, summing up all that had preceded it. In this manner, the philosophy
appears to be offered to the reader as a logical conclusion as a consequence
to the actions observed therein.
The first section he calls "Fundamental Techniques In Handling People".
In it he describes how to handle the most basic of social interchanges with
principles so simple as to inform the reader that A) people do not enjoy being
criticized, condemned nor complained to, B) as a general rule, most people enjoy
honesty and sincere appreciation and C) it is best to "arouse in the
other person an eager want". It is a far easier facilitated process
to maintain relations with a person if they find you pleasant to be around.
In that vein, the author then goes on to cover "Six Ways To Make People
Like You". In this section, Carnegie illustrates the value of being
an amiable person and describes a half-dozen easy to understand methods to become
one. Essentially, what behavioral prescriptions he recommends are but appeals
to the other person's ego. Dale Carnegie attempts to relay to his audience that
the best way to get in someone's good graces is to act in their interest because
everyone's ego enjoys a good massage. This is best exemplified in the principles
"Become Genuinely Interested In Other People", "Talk
In Terms Of The Other Person's Interests", "Make the Other
Person Feel Important - And Do It Sincerely", and most definitely in
the principle entitled "Remember That A Person's Name Is To That Person
The Sweetest And Most Important Sound In Any Language."
The next section, "How To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking",
describes the manner by which one would accomplish exactly that. Dale Carnegie
prescribes techniques of how one should conduct oneself if ever he or she is
placed in a scenario where rival ideas clash with his or her own. Not only does
the author describe ways to do so while maintaining respect for the other person
as well as demonstrating tact in the situation, the system presented is a brilliant
way of approaching arguments and/or discussions intelligently and not solely
with blind passion and fervor.
If it can be summed up simply, this section of How To Win Friends And Influence
People illustrates how one should participate in the discussion of differences
in opinions strategically. It is not unlike a war where the battle is won by
the side employing the better tactics and weaponry. Here the weapons are words
and the tactics are such principles as "Begin In A Friendly Way",
"Get The Other Person To Say 'Yes, Yes' Immediately", "Let
The Other Person Feel That The Idea Is His Or Hers", "Let The
Other Person Do A Great Deal Of The Talking", and "Throw Down
The fourth and final section of Dale Carnegie's book encompasses suggestions
on the subject of leadership and examples of good management skills. Entitled
"Be A Leader: How To Change People Without Giving Offense Or Arousing
Resentment", Carnegie reinforces the ideas presented in the preceding
sections but provides them with instances involved with an objective of some
sort. If it stands to reason that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link
so too is a team or group with its most ineffectual member. What needs to be
pointed out, however, is that the effectiveness of any team member is often
a product of how he or she is connected to the group.
The leader or manager is what holds a team together. His or Her attention to
the group members and how they fit affects how they perform. Carnegie acknowledges
this in the principles "Talk About Your Own Mistakes before Criticizing
The Other Person", "Let The Other Person Save Face",
"Use Encouragement. Make The Fault Seem Easy To Correct", as
well as "Praise The Slightest Improvement And Praise Every Improvement.
Be 'Hearty In Your Approbations And Lavish In Your Praise.'" A leader,
the author says, does not have to be a bully or an aloof and unapproachable
superior being to be a good one.