Monday, August 31, 2009

How to win friends & influence people: Part 5


This is my continuing series of How to win friends & influence people by Dale Carnegie. You might ask what’s with the cute baby picture of my son Samuel. You’ll find out as you read along.

Part 2, Chapter 2: A simple way to make a good first impression.

Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy, I am glad to see you. – Dale Carnegie.

Smile. That is the subject of this chapter on A simple way to make a good impression.The smile has to be from the heart, sincere and honest. Not a fake politician type of smile.  A smile says I’m glad to see you and meet you. Many times just putting a smile on your face will make you feel better. It makes you think of happy thoughts and brightens your mood.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Smile.

Next Chapter: If you don’t do this, you are headed for trouble





Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to Win Friends and Influence People Part 4

If you’ve just joined us here I’m doing a chapter by chapter summary/review/thoughts on Dale Carnegie’s classic self improvement book How to Win Friends & Influence People. This book so far has both reinforced ideas that I’ve already known about and has also given me great insight into new ways of thinking.

The first three chapters covered are called Fundamental Techniques in Handling People and they are:

In Part 2 of the book is called Six ways to make people like you. Admit it, we all want to be liked. Whether are liked is another matter.

The next chapter is called:

 Do This and You’ll Be Welcomed Everywhere.

In this chapter Dale tells us that the key to getting people interested in us is to show interest others. Let’s face it for the most part were really interested in ourselves. When others show interest in things that are important to us we become more open to them. We’ve all talked to people who are only interested in talking about themselves and what interests them. Those are usually people that we avoid  in the future. We show more attention and appreciation to those who like to talk about us and make us feel important. Much of what Dale Carnegie says may seem like common sense but, how common is it really? The key is to become genuinely interested in other people.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Become genuinely interested in other people.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Write a letter

I just got to thinking today who actually sends out written letters these days? I know I can’t personally remember the last time I wrote someone a personal note or letter. I’ve occasionally had to write a letter but, they’ve usually pertained to business matters. Nowadays everyone is texting, Twittering, Facebooking, IMing each other. These are generally short messages not more than a few sentence long. Proper grammar or punctuation is almost nonexistent. I’m not exempt from this either.

j0438585I remember back many years ago when I wrote home from my stint in the Army I wrote home constantly. Sometimes I’d write my girlfriend at the time several in one day. I’m not even sure if she read them all when she got them. I’d probably die of embarrassment if I saw one of them today. I believe I wrote my wife a few but, that was before we were married(ten wonderful years ago, you never if she’s reading this.). I think she read them because she married eventually. I’ve slacked off in writing her much lately. It’s hard to write a letter to someone you see every day. She’d probably love to get one.

An actual letter is a lot of work these days compared to email or texting. It must be hard to imagine actually writing on paper(or typing it out), folding and stuffing it in an envelope, finding an address, finding a stamp and finding post office. Then it may take days for it to get to it’s destination. Then you never know if they’ve got it or not. Seems like forever in this instant gratification society we live in.

I’m curious to know how often others write family or friends a letter these days.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Part 3

I’m definitely hooked on reading this book at this point. It now goes where I go and it’s hard to put down. I’m so glad I picked this one up and wished I had done it a lot sooner. This one does live up to all the hype.

Chapter 3: “He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”

We all know what we want in life. It may be a nice house, successful career, happy family, new car, and so on. How many of us focus on what other people want? Ever talked with someone and the most popular word was “I”? You probably get tired of that after awhile.

As Dale  puts it:

So the only way on earth to influence other people is talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

I think we are more drawn to people and friends that are interested in us. When we show interest in other people wants and desires they’ll show more in us. The key is to listen to other people and be attentive to there desires.

The next time your trying to persuade someone to do something like putting your kids to bed, negotiating a business deal, selling something to try to think of how it relates to them and what they want. What you want and what they want can be two different things. If you stop, listen and focus on what they are concerned with you have a better chance of finding a solution that works for the both of you.

Dale Carnegie Principle: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Next Chapter: Do this and you’ll be welcome anywhere

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Part 2

Here we continue with my read through of Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to win friends and Influence people. Today we explore Chapter two titled: The Big Secret of Dealing With People. So far this book has lived up to all the hype I heard about it before. It is definitely worth reading.

Chapter 2: The Big Secret of Dealing with People

Dale begins by telling us that the only way to get someone to do something is to make them want to do it. That’s it in a nutshell. Sure you can force them to do something but, that only works for a short time.  When your not around you can sure little or nothing will get done. you have to give people what they want in order to get them to do something.

So what to do people want? Most if not all people want to feel important or appreciated in some form or manner. Aside from normal physical needs the feeling of importance is high on the list of people’s wants. I worked at one job where I thought I did the job well.  I was efficient and hard working. I was pretty much the only doing it my company and so I felt I had an important job in keeping the job flow moving. My one boss appreciated it so much they gave me a few raises that were considered merit raises along with normal pay increase. I felt like an important part of the company. Along the way I had the opportunity to move to a different position. I felt at the time it was a good move. I did OK in the job but, I felt something missing inside me. I was now among many doing the same job and felt less important. Eventually through circumstances(not negative though, They couldn’t find someone to replace me) I went back to my old job. I was never happier.

Dale emphasizes that it must be sincere appreciation and not just flattery. Flattery is false and only tells a person what they want to hear. In other words you become a “Yes” man only telling a person what they wish to hear than giving them an honest compliment.

Dale’s #2 Principle: Give honest, sincere appreciation.(Dale Carnegie)

Chapter 3: He who can do this has the whole world with him, He who cannot walks a lonely way

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How to win friends and influence people: Part 1

This week I finally received my copy of Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends & Influence People. This is considered the grandfather of self help books and is still relevant today after being first published in the 1930’s. I had been curious about this book ever since my interest in the self-improvement genre has grown in the last couple of years. I’m going to through a series of posts as I go through each chapter to give my insights and thoughts on the book.

Chapter 1 : “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive”

In this chapter Dale uses a number of examples from history to show that criticism, condemnation or complaining rarely works. Criticism often puts a person on the defensive then they try and justify themselves. It hurts a person’s sense of pride and importance and arouses resentment explains Carnegie. Harsh criticism rarely evokes change in people. “Instead of condemning people,let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do.” Dale writes. The main principle of this chapter is “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.”(Carnegie, 1936). From my understanding Dale tells us that it is often futile to get people to change with criticism, complaining or condemning.

When thinking about this it really does make sense. How many times have we seen spouses criticize each other over and over again for the same thing yet nothing changes. When political parties criticize each other they rarely change anybody’s mind. Many times it just makes them want to defend there position or way of thinking even more.

Next Chapter: The Big Secret of Dealing with People

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How I spent my summers in Marshfield

Though I don’t recall ever doing the cliché’ back to school essay in real life, this might be considered a summary of those summers I spent as a youth. The majority of my summers were spent in Marshfield which is located on what is considered the South Shore in Massachusetts. As I sit in my house located in the small city of Providence, Rhode Island. Where houses are packed together like sardines. Even in the early morning hours there is still the noise of the city going on around you with loud neighbors, sirens going off in the distance, and the annoying thumping of  drivers sharing rap music with neighborhood at 3am. Every quirk or pet peeve that may just be brushed off in a suburban or rural neighborhood is amplified in the city it seems. I guess my mind tries to escape to a more quieter and normal pace. When the worst things you had to deal with were sunburns, poison ivy or crashing your bicycle.

Humarock Beach,Scituate,MA


Our family moved to Marshfield just before I was to go into first grade. We lived with my grandparents (my mother’s parent’s). We spent our summers doing many things. We’d hit Rexhame beach many times during the summer. We lived close by Humarock Beach but, we didn’t visit their as a family a lot. I when I got a little older I used to stay up all night and ride my bike down to Humarock Beach to watch the sun come up. We had plenty of woods to explore and play in. We had a large porch that we sleep outside on warm summer nights. We’d watch thunderstorms passing by in relative safety.

We had a large yard which was like a magnet for our friends around the neighborhood. We had numerous games of tag, war, kickball, or just running around raising heck.

The Marshfield Fair was usually the highlight of the summer. The rides were cool and it was interesting to see the animals. Sometimes we’d hit the fireworks show on the weekends. The only sad part was it marked the end of summer and it was soon back to school.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Circle of Influence

Many of us get worked up or anxious about things that we have little or no impact on. We worry if the boss has ulterior motives for his actions. We worry what other people think of us. Energy is expended that can be used for better things. 1959 Cadillac wheel

Author Stephen Covey describes it as two circles.  The large circle is called the circle of concern and the smaller circle inside it is called the circle of influence. The inner circle being the actions we can control or influence. The outer circle being items we are concerned about but, is beyond our direct control.

When we concentrate our efforts on the inner circle on things we can control it makes it stronger and larger. Increasing it’s power over the outer circle of our concerns, with it’s positive energy. We have more control over our own destiny and influence. We become proactive instead of reactive.

2010 Chevrlet Camaro RS


Should we expend our time and negative energy on items we have little or no power over it shrinks the inner circle of influence. We become reactive and what we have control over shrinks. When you concentrate on the concerns very little is accomplished in your inner circle.

Think of much like the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference

---Reinhold Niebuhr

While we cannot always control the environment or or actions against us we can control our response to it. Picture the Circle of Influence like the wheels on a car. Sports cars usually have large rims and thin tires. This enables them to have more control on the road therefore having more influence on the the vehicle where you are going and how fast. If your riding on tires like on an older larger automobile the rims(inner circle) were smaller and tires bigger giving a softer ride with less control of the vehicle. Which one would you rather drive?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Class Pictures

Every time i see your face,
It reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all i got is a photograph
And i realize you're not coming back anymore.

- Ringo Starr “Photograph”

Recently while moving some stuff around my mothers house I came upon my 1st grade class picture. It was beat up and folded down the middle. Sadly Mrs. Russell our teacher has a piece of old scotch tape on her face so it’s hard to make it out. The bottom half looks like it has some water damage and a few kids are almost obliterated totally(Sorry Jennifer and Bobby). With a hint of foresight my mother actually wrote kids names on the back. This was helpful because even though the faces are somewhat familiar the names aren’t as easy to remember.South River School 1973-74

When looking up old school friends it’s a struggle to remember names in faces. I’ve been wanting to find these old class pictures and I was thrilled to find this. Even beaten and battered I felt like I struck gold. It seems like the older I get the more nostalgic I get. I love these old school class pictures. I remember the kids I played with and the girls I had crushes on.

I remember being down with pneumonia(or flu I’m not sure now) the week before Christmas(around that time). Being sick as a kid is never fun. My grandmother who was a school bus driver brought home a card (and maybe something else I can’t remember) that was signed by all my classmates. I thought that was pretty cool and I still remember that to this day.

I’m not sure whatever happened to Mrs. Russell later on. My younger brother had her several years later, but after that I don’t know what ever happened to her. Her act of kindness was one of the coolest things any teacher did for me. Thank you Mrs. Russell wherever you are!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yes or No

As part of an introduction I was trying to think of a way to do it without being boring. I came across this little yes or no quiz on Facebook and thought it would be a good icebreaker( Thank you Gretchen if your watching). It’s a list of questions that you can only answer yes or no with no explanation involved. Enjoy the quiz:

Kissed any one of your facebook friends? yes
Been arrested? yes
Kissed someone you didn't like? No
Slept until 5pm? No
Fallen asleep at work/school? Yes
Held a snake? No
Ran a red light? Yes
Been suspended from school? No
Experienced love at first sight? Yes
Totaled your car in an accident? Yes
Been in a vehicle at more than 100mph? Yes
Driven a vehicle at more than 100mph? Yes
Been fired from a job? Yes
Fired somebody? No
Sang karaoke? No
Pointed a gun at someone? No
Done something you told yourself you wouldnt? Yes
Laughed untill something you were drinking came out your nose? Yes
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Yes
Kissed in the rain? Yes
Had a close brush with death (your own)? Yes
Ever feared for your life? Yes
Seen someone die? No
Played spin the bottle? No
Sang in the shower? Yes
Smoked a cigar? Yes
Sat on a rooftop? Yes
Smuggled something into another country? No
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? No
Broken a bone? No
Skipped school? Yes
Eaten a bug? No
Sleepwalked? No
Walked a moonlit beach? Yes
Ridden a motorcycle? No
Dumped someone? Yes
Forgotten your anniversary? No
Lied to avoid a ticket? No
Ridden in a helicopter? No
Shaved your head? No
Played a prank on someone? Yes
Hit a homerun ? No
Felt like killing someone? Yes
Cross dressed? No
Been falling down drunk? Yes
Made your gilrfriend/boyfriend cry? Yes
Eaten snake? No
Marched/protested? No
Had Mexican jumping beans for pets? No
Puked on amusement ride? No
Seriously or intentionally boycotted something? No
Been in a band? No
Been on TV? No
Fired a gun? Yes
Skinny dipped? No
Gave someone stitches? No
Eaten a whole habenero pepper (or other hot peppers) No
Ridden a surfboard? No
Drank straight from a liquor bottle? Yes
Had Surgery? No
Streaked? No
Taken by ambulance to the hospital? No
Passed out when not drinking? No
Peed on a bush? Yes
Donated blood? Yes
Grabbed electric fence? No
Eaten alligator meat? No
Eaten Cheesecake? Yes
Eaten your kids halloween candy? Yes
Killed an animal when not hunting? No
Peed your pants in public? No

I don’t normally do these much but it is sometimes an interesting way to learn about someone. Just thought I’d have some fun on a lazy hot summer day.


Hello my name is Robert Plumer and I’m a part-time blogger. I also work full-time at a not-so-typical blue collar job. When I’m not working I’m usually on the computer surfing and spending time with my family. I’ve been happily married for over ten years to my lovely wife Jessica. We have two son’s, IMG_3686 Joshua who is 7 years old and Samuel who is 8 months old.

I also like fixing computers and cars. I enjoy helping others with there computer problems and the occasional automotive repair. I also have blogs dealing with computers and automobiles too.

I’m also a part-time student and I have been attending classes through Community College of Rhode Island and will be switching to New England Tech in October.

Going back to school at 40 has been a very enlightening experience. I enjoy learning and reading very much. Along with required studies I’ve developed an interest in psychology and personal development. As you can imagine those subjects don’t fit well into my computer and automotive blog. They also tend to be a bit more personal so I created this blog to share my insights, thoughts and discoveries along the way in my own personal development and learning.

I’ll be sharing my insights in personal development and psychology as I learn from them. I’ll also share books I read and movie’s or show’s I’ve found to be inspirational or gave me some food for thought. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll return again soon.


I’m just testing my blog writer software.

Saturday, August 15, 2009