How to win friends and influence people is a famous book written by Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie was an American writer and lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. He has written several books which focuses on self-improvement and interpersonal skills. One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people’s behavior by changing one’s behavior toward them.
How to win friends and influence people includes the following parts:
- Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Six Ways to Make People Like You
- How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Be a Leader – How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
We will go through the first part in this blog and describe the principles one can adopt in his/her life to become good at handling people. I have included whatever I highlighted while I was reading this book.
In the first part, the author describes three principles on how to deal with handling people. Each principle is followed by numerous examples from real life. Since it’s just a summary, I would not be mentioning all the examples here.
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
When criminals don’t blame themselves then what about us!
Al Capone was an American Gangster who was known by the nickname “Scarface”. Crowley was sentenced to the electric chair. When he arrived at the death house in Sing Sing, did he say, “This is what I get for killing people”? No, he said: “This is what I get for defending myself.”
If Al Capone, “Two Gun” Crowley, Dutch Schultz, and the desperate men and women behind prison walls don’t blame themselves for anything – what about the people with whom you and I come in contact?
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
George B. Johnston of Enid, Oklahoma, is the safety coordinator for an engineering company. One of his responsibilities is to see that employees wear their hard hats whenever they are on the job in the field. He reported that whenever he came across workers who were not wearing hard hats, he would tell them with a lot of authority of the regulation and that they must comply. As a result he would get sullen acceptance, and often after he left, the workers would remove the hats. He decided to try a different approach. The next time he found some of the workers not wearing their hard hat, he asked if the hats were uncomfortable or did not fit properly. Then he reminded the men in a pleasant tone of voice that the hat was designed to protect them from injury and suggested that it always be worn on the job. The result was increased compliance with the regulation with no resentment or emotional upset.
Let’s realize that criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home. Let’s realize that the person we are going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself, and condemn us in return; or, like the gentle Taft, will say: “I don’t see how I could have done any differently from what I have.
Before you criticize, think from other person’s perspective.
When George Meade didn’t follow Lincoln’s order during Battle of Gettysburg.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought during the first three days of July 1863. During the night of July 4, Lee began to retreat southward while storm clouds deluged the country with rain. When Lee reached the Potomac with his defeated army, he found a swollen, impassable river in front of him, and a victorious Union Army behind him. Lee was in a trap. He couldn’t escape. Lincoln saw that. Here was a golden, heaven-sent opportunity – the opportunity to capture Lee’s army and end the war immediately. So, with a surge of high hope, Lincoln ordered Meade not to call a council of war but to attack Lee immediately. Lincoln telegraphed his orders and then sent a special messenger messenger to Meade demanding immediate action.
But Meade did just the opposite of what Lincoln has ordered him and Lee was able to escape. This made Lincoln furious and wrote Meade a letter. One can find the full letter here. In the letter, Lincoln criticizes Meade’s actions. But Meade never saw that letter since Lincoln never mailed it.
My guess is – and this is only a guess – that after writing that letter, Lincoln looked out of the window and said to himself, “Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quiet of the White House and order Meade to attack; but if I had been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen as much blood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn’t be so anxious to attack either. If I had Meade’s timid temperament, perhaps I would have done just what he had done. Anyhow, it is water under the bridge now. If I send this letter, it will relieve my feelings, but it will make Meade try to justify himself. It will make him condemn me. It will arouse hard feelings, impair all his further usefulness as a commander, and perhaps force him to resign from the army.
Changes that we can bring into our life.
Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favour of it, but why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others – yes, and a lot less dangerous. “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean.
When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all.
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
What do we want?
Sigmund Freud said that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great. John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently. Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.
Lincoln once began a letter saying: “Everybody likes a compliment.” William James said: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” He didn’t speak, mind you, of the “wish” or the “desire” or the “longing” to be appreciated. He said the “craving” to be appreciated.
Everybody wants to feel important.
History sparkles with amusing examples of famous people struggling for a feeling of importance.
George Washington wanted to be called “His Mightiness, the President of the United States”; and Columbus pleaded for the title “Admiral of the Ocean and Viceroy of India.” Catherine the Great refused to open letters that were not addressed to “Her Imperial Majesty”; and Mrs. Lincoln, in the White House, turned upon Mrs. Grant like a tigress and shouted, “How dare you be seated in my presence until I invite you!
Our millionaires helped finance Admiral Byrd’s expedition to the Antarctic in 1928 with the understanding that ranges of icy mountains would be named after them; and Victor Hugo aspired to have nothing less than the city of Paris renamed in his honour. Even Shakespeare, mightiest of the mighty, tried to add lustre to his name by procuring a coat of arms for his family.
How people go insane if they don’t find themselves important!
Some authorities declare that people may actually go insane in order to find, in the dreamland of insanity, the feeling of importance that has been denied them in the harsh world of reality. There are more patients suffering from mental diseases in the United States than from all other diseases combined.
If some people are so hungry for a feeling of importance that they actually go insane to get it, imagine what miracle you and I can achieve by giving people honest appreciation this side of insanity.
Why Charles Schwab was paid over a million dollars a year?
Why did Andrew Carnegie pay a million dollars a year, or more than three thousand dollars a day, to Charles Schwab?
One of the first people in American business to be paid a salary of over a million dollars a year (when there was no income tax and a person earning fifty dollars a week was considered well off) was Charles Schwab. He had been picked by Andrew Carnegie to become the first president of the newly formed United States Steel Company in 1921, when Schwab was only thirty-eight years old.
Schwab says that he was paid this salary largely because of his ability to deal with people. Let’s hear it in his own words:
I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,” said Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. “There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.
Make others feel important.
That is what Schwab did. But what do average people do? The exact opposite. If they don’t like a thing, they bawl out their subordinates; if they do like it, they say nothing. As the old couplet says: “Once I did bad and that I heard ever. Twice I did good, but that I heard never.
When a study was made a few years ago on runaway wives, what do you think was discovered to be the main reason wives ran away? It was “lack of appreciation.” And I’d bet that a similar study made of runaway husbands would come out the same way. We often take our spouses so much for granted that we never let them know we appreciate them.
We nourish the bodies of our children and friends and employees, but how seldom do we nourish their self-esteem? We provide them with roast beef and potatoes to build energy, but we neglect to give them kind words of appreciation that would sing in their memories
Appreciation vs Flattery
The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.
Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.
Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.
Changes we can make in our daily life
One of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation. Somehow, we neglect to praise our son or daughter when he or she brings home a good report card, and we fail to encourage our children when they first succeed in baking a cake or building a birdhouse. Nothing pleases children more than this kind of parental interest and approval.
In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.
Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime – repeat them years after you have forgotten them.
Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Why only talk about what we want!
Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.
So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
Examples from real life
One day Ralph Waldo Emerson and his son tried to get a calf into the barn. But they made the common mistake of thinking only of what they wanted: Emerson pushed and his son pulled. But the calf was doing just what they were doing; he was thinking only of what he wanted; so he stiffened his legs and stubbornly refused to leave the pasture. The Irish housemaid saw their predicament. She couldn’t write essays and books; but, on this occasion at least, she had more horse sense, or calf sense, than Emerson had. She thought of what the calf wanted; so she put her maternal finger in the calf’s mouth and let the calf suck her finger as she gently led him into the barn.
Stan came home from work one evening to find his youngest son, Tim, kicking and screaming on the living room floor. He was to start kindergarten the next day and was protesting that he would not go. Stan’s normal reaction would have been to banish the child to his room and tell him he’d just better make up his mind to go. He had no choice. But tonight, recognizing that this would not really help Tim start kindergarten in the best frame of mind, Stan sat down and thought, “If I were Tim, why would I be excited about going to kindergarten?” He and his wife made a list of all the fun things Tim would do such as finger-painting, singing songs, making new friends. Then they put them into action. “We all started finger-painting on the kitchen table – my wife, Lil, my other son Bob, and myself, all having fun. Soon Tim was peeping around the corner. Next he was begging to participate. ‘Oh, no! You have to go to kindergarten first to learn how to finger-paint.’ With all the enthusiasm I could muster I went through the list talking in terms he could understand – telling him all the fun he would have in kindergarten. The next morning, I thought I was the first one up. I went downstairs and found Tim sitting sound asleep in the living room chair. ‘What are you doing here?’ I asked. ‘I’m waiting to go to kindergarten. I don’t want to be late.’ The enthusiasm of our entire family had aroused in Tim an eager want that no amount of discussion or threat could have possibly accomplished.
Think in terms of what other people want.
Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do it?” That question will stop us from rushing into a situation heedlessly, with futile chatter about our desires.
If there is any one secret of success,” said Henry Ford, “it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.
The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition. Owen D. Young, a noted lawyer and one of America’s great business leaders, once said: “People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their minds, need never worry about what the future has in store for them.
If out of reading this book you get just one thing – an increased tendency to think always in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle – if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.
Looking at the other person’s point of view and arousing in him an eager want for something is not to be construed as manipulating that person so that he will do something that is only for your benefit and his detriment. Each party should gain from the negotiation.
The little boy had the unholy habit of wetting his bed.
Little Johnny used to sleep with his grandmother. He mad the bed wet every night but he would never accept it. His parents scolded him but that didn’t change his habbit.
What were his wants? First, he wanted to wear pyjamas like Daddy instead of wearing a nightgown like Grandmother. Grandmother was getting fed up with his nocturnal iniquities, so she gladly offered to buy him a pair of pyjamas if he would reform. Second, he wanted a bed of his own. Grandma didn’t object.
His mother took him to a department store in Brooklyn, winked at the salesgirl, and said: “Here is a little gentleman who would like to do some shopping.” The salesgirl made him feel important by saying: “Young man, what can I show you?” He stood a couple of inches taller and said: “I want to buy a bed for myself.” When he was shown the one his mother wanted him to buy, she winked at the salesgirl and the boy was persuaded to buy it.
“You are not going to wet this bed, are you?” the father said. “Oh, no, no! I am not going to wet this bed.”
The boy kept his promise, for his pride was involved. That was his bed. He and he alone had bought it. And he was wearing pyjamas now like a little man. He wanted to act like a man. And he did.