Thursday, May 01, 2014

Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People is currently $2.99 on the Kindle store. I'd gotten this far in life without reading the book, but a friend of mine told me she used a technique from the book and it worked, though she felt slimy about it afterwards. That's intriguing enough to get me to buy and read the book.

This is a great book, as far as being an effective politician and getting what you want from people goes. Fundamentally, the book is all about helping you tell people what they want to hear, as opposed to what reality is. For example, in one anecdote, the manager of a singer who refused to get on stage simply lied to him over and over again until he did so. In another example, Dale encourages you not to tell people that they are wrong, but to pretend that you could be wrong and asking to check the facts. In certain circumstances, that could easily win you favors, sales, and deals. In other circumstances, it could make you look like an easy pushover and mark, and you will get out-maneuvered by more politically savvy folks, especially if you're an engineer. Dale Carnegie, however, doesn't tell you how to distinguish between those circumstances. For instance, if Galileo had read this book, he might easily have avoided the Roman inquisition. It would have done immense harm to the scientific enterprise, however, so I'm glad the world is not full of people who've read Dale Carnegie's book.

People occasionally ask me for advice on their careers. Given that I'm completely oblivious to office politics, I'm a bad person to ask. But I do refer them to books such as Career Warfare. It's quite clear to me that How to Win Friends and Influence People is also a great book to read if you want to succeed at a large company, where perception is much more important than reality. Keep in mind, however, that if you're an engineer, you're a much worse liar than anyone who's not an engineer, so some of these techniques absolutely will not work for you.

Highly Recommended.

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