I Don’t Read Books Often, But When I Do, They’re Life Changing

It’s pretty much public knowledge that I’m not a big book person. I just feel that I can use my time better. But I have just finished a book that has already changed my life and will change my life permanently moving forward. The book is called ‘How To Win Friends & Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie, by far the greatest book I have ever read. And no, it doesn’t teach you to make friends. And no, I didn’t read this because I have no friends. I have plenty of friends thanks. This book has been around for over 75 years and has barely been changed. Basically the book is about how to improve your relationships with people and using those skills to your advantage. It’s not about manipulating people, but understanding people. SO the way the book is set up is each chapter is a different lesson/subject. The author recommends reading each chapter twice before moving to the next one. Also, it’s recommended to underline/highlight important sentences/passages, which I was a huge fan of. I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone because I truly believe everyone should read this. You will improve your problem solving skills along with your interpersonal skills. A lot of successful people have read this book and continue to read it. I was reading it last week and some guy walked past me and said “great book, I read it every 5 years”. The book is that incredible. Here’s a few things I learned.

Use someone’s name. Sounds pretty simple, and that’s because it is. But you’d be surprised how often you forget. Instead of saying “thanks”, say “thanks, Eric”. Instead of “how are you” say “how are you, Eric”. It really makes a difference. After reading that in the book, I started applying that to my everyday life and noticed immediate results. So simple, yet so effective. “From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as we deal with others.”

Become genuinely interested in people. There’s a difference between appreciation and flattery. Be honest and sincere with your appreciation. Don’t compliment someone because you want them on your good side or you want them to like you or you want them to do something for your benefit. Mean it. As humans we have a natural desire to feel important. So make someone else feel important, even if it’s with the smallest compliment/appreciation. You shouldn’t have to think about if it’s genuine. “Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.”

Don’t criticize. This is the hardest one for many people to adapt to, myself included. I am guilty of criticizing anything and anyone pretty much whenever I can. Criticism is ineffective, it puts people in a defensive state. While it may feel good, it doesn’t make the criticizee feel good. And it won’t help your efforts to get them to support your opinion, whether or not it’s correct. To not criticize at all is a tough task, but being aware of your criticism is a great first step. People have a difficult time admitting fault, so they’re unlikely to take kindly to direct criticism.

Try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Instead of condemning someone when they’ve made a mistake, try to understand them instead. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s life. Instead of putting them down and pointing out the mistakes, try to relate to them. “How would I feel if that happened to me?” Become interested in the other person’s situation and you’re far more unlikely to condemn. Basic human interaction skill, put yourself in their shoes. “If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.”

The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. Listen first; give the other person a chance to talk instead of immediately building barriers. Look for common areas of agreement. Be honest; search for areas where you can admit error and apologize for mistakes. This will essentially disarm your “opponent”.

I could go on forever about the lessons I’ve learned and the new skills I’ve picked up. But you need to figure them out for yourself. Everyone who reads this book takes something different out of it. So read it, get something out of it.

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