Book review: How to win friends and influence people

Transcript of the video:

So, I decided to start this video series where I take books that I read and talk about them basically, review them, say what I liked about them, what I’ve learned from them and why you should read them.

The basic premise is I would talk about what I learned from these books or what they are trying to teach and it’s you to figure out whether this book is right for you or not.

Generally speaking, I tend to mainly read self-development books, I believe that at a certain period of a person’s age, they should read some books and at a different phase they should read another type of books… etc, but that’s just my opinion.

Before I start, I have to say excuse my setup, the video quality might not be good and the voice quality might not be that good because I’m basically just using my phone to record this, and it’s leaning back on my monitor stand. Maybe in the future there will be an upgrade in terms of recording setup.

So, the book that I want to talk about today is actually one of the best books that I’ve read, and it’s “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.

Before I start talking about what this book teaches, I definitely want to mention this things that Carnegie mentions in the preface of the book. The reason why he wrote this book (I admire this principle). He says that “I wrote the book that I wanted to read”.

What he means by this is that, he tells the story where he asks many of his peers and people around him in his environment “Is there any book that I can read that teaches me how to communicate and how to talk to people, how to deal with people, both in personal relationships and in business and professional relationships? “.

To his surprise, there was no book at that time, this was like what? the 1930s? or 1920s even? This book was published in 1936 if I recall correctly. there was no book in this matter to his surprise. Carnegie thought there should be a book about this.

Carnegie talks about this thing where communication essentially is the most important skill for you to have, regardless of what you do in terms of profession or job. And even outside of work, communication is very important. The only human beings convey information or interact with each other is 99% communication through talking. So Carnegie wrote this book to teach people how to deal with people essentially.

I really like the structure of this book, it goes over some principles, it goes over the “dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with people. It gives you a principle, then it gives you many examples of it being used by some great people of all time and leaders and how they dealt with people and how they used this principle and tells a story about it as a proof kind of if you will.

What fascinated me as well is that Carnegie read tons and tons of articles, and pieces of psychology and biographies of great people like Julius Cesar, Thomas Edison and he did mention that he read over a hundred biographies of US president Theodore Roosevelt alone. He essentially did his research before writing this book.

It goes over many principles, for example, at the start of the book he talks about how you should never criticise people and you should approach them lightly. You should make remarks where the person did a positive thing. For example, If I had a housemate that does not wash dishes, I would not say “You don’t wash dishes”, that would be direct criticism. So Carnegie suggests a way where if this person washes dishes one time I will be like “Oh wow, you washed the dishes, thank you that’s very well done from you”. This is the positive reinforcement that Carnegie is trying to communicate to us this is the way we should approach this.

Along with many other principles, Carnegie talks about how you should not care about arguments and winning them that much. He says, “The only way to win an argument is to avoid it”, and he goes on to tell many stories that prove that this is the right way to deal with arguments. He talks about how when you are wrong, admit it, drop your ego and just admit that you are wrong because this is healthy for relationships.

So this book is very important, I believe everyone should read this book. It changed the way I view interactions with people, it made me more mindful and aware of my interactions. I read this book two times and I will read it again another two times. This is the kind of book that each time you read it you get more from it, and this is the type of book that I would recommend reading cover to cover. You shouldn’t read all books cover to cover, it depends of the book, you should pick and choose chapters. But books of this calibre are read cover to cover and multiple times.

I can’t stress enough the importance of this book. It made me change the way I interact with people in certain way. I wouldn’t say I’ve changed completely.

I can be criticised in a sense that it can be misinterpreted. Some of this advice might seem to some people as “too positive” and some people can interpret it in way that makes them too nice, which is not a good thing, it’s not a good thing to be a nice guy.

For example, “the only way to win an argument is to avoid it”. This is an important principle. BUT, this does not mean you don’t argue, this does not mean you avoid argument, this does not mean you avoid confrontation. That is not healthy in relationships (avoiding confrontation).

To reiterate, this advice applies to both personal and professional life, this advice applies as well to dealing with people in the professional environment, how to negotiate with people, how to talk to co-workers or your employees and how to be a good leader. There is a good part in this book about leadership and how leaders inspire the people that work around them.

I hope I did it justice in this describing how good this book is. If you get a chance, pick up “How to win friends and influence people”. It’s a very good book.

Thank you for tuning in, I hope to see you some other time, bye.

Copyright © 2019 Ahmed Hadjou