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Book Review – How to Win Friends & Influence People – Daylen Thane

by on November 11, 2007

Book Review – “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Winning friends in your organization and learning how to influence people are the foundations of making change happen. When you are trying to initiate change as an Information Manager, you invariably have to get buy-in from your employees, and if you want to do it right, you need to read “How to Win Friends & Influence People”. This book was written for everyone wanting to better their people skills and have a fulfilling life with friends and happiness. I had heard great things about this book before, but nothing compares with the experience of reading it and applying it to everyday life. Most of the book consists of suggestions that you probably have heard before, but Dale brings his recommendations to life in a new way by showing successful examples of using these principles over and over again. The most striking part of this great book is that its core is based on the Golden Rule: ”treat others as you would like to be treated”; everything comes back to being nice and treating people fairly.

I was really impressed to see things pointed out to me that I have never thought about, even though after reading them they actually made perfect sense. The book was written in a very easy to read manner, entertaining, and is one of those books that really gets to you and makes you want to be different, a much better person. It is filled with countless examples of people being successful at “winning friends and influencing people” by following Dale’s recommendations and principles. Reading these examples made the book more realistic, and made me think that by practicing these guidelines I can actually attain similar results, i.e. influence people while making friends.

As change mangers, I don’t necessarily believe that our goal is to become friends with our employees, but it is essential to obtain their respect and admiration so change efforts take place; and what better way to do this than by being able to influence our employees and customers? The author gives many examples where people obtain what they want or need by changing others’ behaviors. I consider this information vital as we advance in our careers as Change and Information Managers.

Dale divides the book in four parts. Below I am listing a summary of each part with the priceless advice he gives, my personal opinion of each, and how I believe these suggestions would make us better Change and Information Managers:

· Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

o Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain – After reading the first couple of pages of this chapter, my first thought was: “How do we correct behaviors if we can’t criticize them?” I am really glad that Dale gave plenty of suggestions and examples where behaviors get changed without criticism, since this is useful information I can, without any doubts, use in my daily life.

o Give honest and sincere appreciation – Dale stresses the fact that complimenting others must be sincere. He argues that people can see right through insincerity, and using mere flattery can have negative consequences against your character. During this chapter, he introduces the phrase “be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise” which he continues to often use throughout the rest of the book. Furthermore, he also gives another great piece of advice that I must not leave out of this book review. He says to always remember this old saying: “I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” I am really glad he included this advice in the book, as it is one of the most uplifting pieces of information I have ever read, and I would be very fortunate in my life if I remember to apply it constantly.

If we frequently give honest and sincere appreciation during our managing career, the people we interact with will be more open to our ideas and constructive criticism (but remember to keep this last one at a minimum), which will allow us to obtain their collaboration when we need it.

o Arouse in the other person an eager want – It is really interesting how the author points out how people are only interested in what they want; and the only way to effectively get them to bide your desires is by arousing an eager want in them. As Change Agents, this information is extremely important for us since we can use it to our advantage by guiding people to change because they want to, and not because we think it is necessary and it needs to happen.

· Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You

Part Two is composed of six chapters. These chapters encapsulate the following points: “Become genuinely interested in other people, Smile, Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language, Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves, Talk in terms of the other person’s interests, and Make the other person feel important– and do it sincerely”. Again and again, Dale shows countless examples where people use these suggestions to successfully be liked by others. Even though you don’t have to be friends with people to work with them, you will be a more successful manager if they like you and admire you. Thus, it is a good idea to “make people like you”.

After reading this part of the book, I started noticing how people truly enjoy talking about themselves. I highly believe that we can successfully utilize this information if we learn to be genuinely interested in other people and in what they have to say. Furthermore, when we listen to others’ ideas, we can learn a lot from them. One key point of being a manger is portraying ourselves as open to communication and discussion, so our colleagues feel comfortable talking to us.

· Part Three and Four of the book probably have the most value to us, as Information Managers. Part Three is titled: Win People to your Way of Thinking, and part Four: Be a Leader. During these parts of the book Dale shows us ways of changing people and becoming someone who is admired and followed. He starts by telling us that the only way to win an argument is by not getting involved in one. He also tells us to always show respect. I truly believe in showing respect since that’s the best method for getting people to respect you back. I recently read a Project Management research paper in which skilled negotiators are studied, and all these successful negotiators applied each and every one of Dale’s recommendations from part three of the book. Furthermore, being a leader involves more than getting people to agree with you. The author tells us how to be a good leader by giving great suggestions such as: “Ask questions instead of giving direct orders, Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest, Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct, and others. I strongly believe that anyone can use these suggestions to “change” people and make their relationships more pleasant. More importantly, we can “change” them to get them onboard with the change management efforts we are trying to promote.

The recommendations about being a leader could specifically be applied to us, Information Managers, when trying to encourage people to use new information systems, or in any other Management role we may achieve in our career.

I highly think all of you would very much enjoy reading this excellent book. The author gives priceless suggestions that, if used every day (or regularly), could change our lives for the better. Not only do we have the potential to become better human beings, but we can also become great leaders and Change and Information Managers. “How to Win Friends & Influence People” will make you reflect about your actions, but overall, it will inspire you to change. The book is very fun and easy to read, and I am positive there is a lot you can learn from the countless examples of people who have succeeded at befriending others.

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