Book Review: How To Win Friends & Influence People

So, I picked up a copy of this book from the thrift store. I’d never read it before, but I had heard about it, and was interested in reading it.

Most of the book is explaining the “Nutshell” of the book, which is (with my editorial in parenthesis):

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

#1: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. (Sounds like a reasonable suggestion.)

#2: Give honest and sincere appreciation. (Encouragement is good.)

#3: Arouse in the other person an eager want. (Sounds a little manipulative to me.)

Six Ways to Make People Like You

#1: Become genuinely interested in other people. (But… some people are genuinely un-interesting!)

#2: Smile. (It makes them wonder what you are up to.)

#3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. (Just try saying it in every sentence you say to the person!)

#4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. (I agree with the good listener part, unless the other person is really boring or talks about their ailments all the time.)

#5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. (Humility is a good thing.)

#6: Make the other person feel important  — and do it sincerely. (If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made!)

Win People to Your Way of Thinking

#1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. (Sounds a little dodgy to me.)

#2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re wrong.” (Respect their wrongness!)

#3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. (Again, showing humility is a good thing.)

#4: Begin in a friendly way. (Don’t be hostile!)

#5: Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately. (Wabbit season! Duck season! Fire!)

#6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. (This is the listening thing again, but some people never shut up!)

#7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. (RED ALERT! Majorly manipulative!)

#8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. (Humility.)

#9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. (Empathic. Not a bad thing.)

#10: Appeal to the nobler motives. (Nobleness is an underrated value.)

#11: Dramatize your ideas. (Write a screenplay!)

#12: Throw down a challenge. (Challenge is good!)

Be a Leader

#1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.  (Everyone needs ego stroking.)

#2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. (There was this guy I knew….)

#3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. (Humility again.)

#4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.  (Don’t you think this is a good idea?)

#5: Let the other person save face. (Don’t hurt their widdle feelings!)

#6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” (Give all of the kids a medal!)

#7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. (Self fulfilling prophesy of creating ‘good’ people.)

#8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. (Deception!)

#9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. (Ack! Get them to give you all of their money!)

Many of these items are relatively benign. Others are a bit more… sinister.

Did L. Ron Hubbard have a copy of this book when he was coming up with Scientology?


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