win friends.

August 17, 2008

I just finished the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. It’s split into four parts: how to handle people, how to make people like you, how to influence people, and how to be a good leader. Each part has several take-away points that the reader can attempt to incorporate into his life to better deal with people. Somehow I felt that the majority of the book was common sense (I am aware that what seems like common sense now might not have been back in the 1930s). Basically, people will like you more and be more willing to do what you want it you like them and you’re not a jerk about it.

This was the first self-help book I have ever even attempted to read, and the genre is just not for me. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that people will read books to help them solve problems. Perhaps it’s because I would never find the motivation to actually apply what I read, and therefore the books would never really help me in any way. It also could be that I am happy enough with how things go in my life that the cost to change outweighs the benefits I would gain. I’m giving it one more try with 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but there’s a good chance I won’t even finish it.



  1. My dad tried to get me to read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, written by the son of the guy who wrote 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While I won’t say it’s crap and totally not worth reading, there’s a large chunk of it that’s common sense. Also, like you said, I have a distinct lack of motivation to actually change my life very much, so reading self-help books is rather a exercise in futility since I don’t really want to help myself that much. Maybe your experience with it will be different however.

  2. I’m kind of opposed to these “How to Get People to Like You” books on principle, and I cringe whenever I hear about people reading them. To me they fall in the same category as those sleazy books on how to get laid on the first date. They teach you a bunch of “things to do” that can eventually get you something you want from other people(i.e. respect, influence, friendship, sex). If you already do these things then the book is useless for you, but if you don’t then it’s essentially teaching you how to be manipulative to get what you want.

    I suppose it’d be fine if the person actually changed their life permanently because of it, but how often does a $20 paperback book constitute a life altering event? Chances are most people will use it only when it’s convenient or if they need something, and they end up “winning” a bunch of friends that like them for something they’re not.

    Sorry about the rant. It’s just that I prefer to like people for who they are, not some trick they picked up from a book.

  3. I tried reading 7 Habits myself. I couldn’t get over the fact that the author tries to run his family like a small business. He is also proud of this. Nope, I just don’t trust that.

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