Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Review - How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie: I got this book as a gift way back when I was in school in seventh grade or so. At the time, I was too young for it, and gave up reading after a few pages. Now, after several years, I picked it up again - it was easier to read, and made so much sense. The book can help influence our personality in many positive ways. It starts with how notorious criminals like Al Capone never agreed they are wrong, and wouldn't have done differently, making a point how environment causes people to behave the way they do, and punishments don't necessarily change perspective. It explains with innumerable examples how criticizing doesn't help and instead makes people defensive. It talks about how to make people feel important, how to admit mistakes and start with praise before pointing out others' mistakes, all of which influence positively. Examples include anecdotes or quotes from Presidents, CEOs, IRS agents, famous and infamous personalities. It also has good advice for marriages to work - some obvious such as to stop nagging (uses Napoleon's love marriage turned sour as an example), saying goodbye to husband leaving for work everyday, flowers for wife etc. It cites expert opinions from counselors and judges on top reasons why marriages fail; from number one being sex maladjustment, agreeing on how to spend leisure, financial difficulties, and lastly mental/physical or emotional abnormalities. I liked the quote from Leland Foster Wood's "Growing Together in the Family" - Success in marriage is much more than a matter of finding the right person; it is also a matter of being the right person. In order to get the maximum out of the book, I think the reader should first prepare a flexible attitude and mindset to listen and act upon advice. If that happens, this book is indeed capable of completely changing one's personality for the better.

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