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

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