I recently downloaded the classic book ‘How To Win Friends & Influence People’. I’m sure you’ll all have heard of it and perhaps seen it in bookshops. Written by written by Dale Carnegie, the book has sold over 15 million copies and has been translated in 36 languages since its first publication in 1937 (with only 5,000 copies). The version I read was revised by Dorothy Carnegie so that the overall impact of the book isn’t weakened by outdated references.
Dale Carnegie conducted educational courses for professionals in New York since 1912. Through that he started developing the art of ‘getting along’. As he put it ‘I realized that as sorely as these adults needed training in effective speaking, they needed still more training in the fine art of getting along with people in everyday business and social contacts’. He then spent years doing research through successful people at the time and looked at their ability to deal with people. The outcome was his book, which he revised frequently until his death.
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all ― Dale Carnegie
I don’t usually read too many of these self-help type books though I really enjoyed this one. It's full of fantastic quotes from famous businessmen and politicians. The general premise of the book is that people don’t respond well to criticism. He spoke with hundreds of managers and bosses. Many of them used to shout and ball at their workers whenever they did wrong. They later made a conscious effort to change their ways. They found that being more sincere, respectful and appreciative to workers increased productivity considerably.
He also shows lots of examples of this in other scenarios such as relationships between father and son, husband and wife, friends and associates. It’s so easy to relate to what he writes in the book.
I’ve been critical of others many times in my life. I assume you all have too. I’ve wrote pissed off emails to companies when they’ve screwed me over, I’ve shouted at my bank for over charging me and I’ve criticised friends and partners over trivial issues. What Carnegie makes clear in the book is that being critical rarely helps you get what you want as it hurts the other person’s pride. He encourages a more positive approach to dealing with people and showing appreciation for them whenever you can (not flattery, as he notes that flattery is insincere and people don’t respond well to that).
Talk to someone about themselves and they'll listen for hours – Dale Carnegie
I recommend reading the book if you haven’t already done so as a lot of what he says can be applied to working online. We are constantly dealing with others when working online, be it designers, customers, reps from services we use or simply networking. Sooner or later, someone you rely on is going to let you down or mess up in some way. Are you going to be critical of them or put yourself in their shoes and perhaps realise that they tried their best?