Book of the Month - March 2019: How to Win Friends and Influence People
When I was initially introduced to How to Win Friends and Influence People, I was skeptical. It seemed like an odd way to phrase a title: winning friends makes it seem as if people are prizes, and influencing people seemed slightly euphemistic for “controlling people without them really knowing”. But, after beginning to read Carnegie’s advice, I’ve learned that that’s just Carnegie’s style of writing - blunt and truthful - which just adds to its appeal. It covers everything from how to make conversation with others to the secret to success (here’s a hint on that one: be open minded).
By far, my favourite section of the book is from Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You, with the particular method being #4 - An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationlist. Personally, dinner conversation with family friends has always been, dare I say, borderline painful. Topics are limited to school, grades, and future career plans; as expected, conversation tends to become awkward and redundant very quickly. Even when introducing myself to others that I probably won’t see again, I always feel like I need to somehow make myself and my experiences seem more interesting and relatable than they might actually be (i.e. the small spider you saw on your wall last night has now become a rare species of tarantula that isn’t even found in Canada).
Carnegie completely flipped my idea of how to approach conversation; to put it bluntly, it’s not about telling the most interesting tales about yourself, but making the other person feel like their own tales are interesting. It’s a known fact that people like talking about themselves, so why not help them out with that? And who knows, you might learn a thing or two as well by putting your listening skills to use.
I admire how Carnegie delivers his advice; not only do you receive the advice as it truly is, but you begin to uncover its role in your past experiences with it by reading about his experiences. An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationlist begins with an anecdote of the author conversing with a woman at a dinner party, where the woman spent nearly an hour sharing the details of her trip to Africa, without much input from the author himself.
Now that I have one of Six Ways to Make People Like You under my belt, I’ve only got 5 more until I’m a better “people person”. If you’d like to be a “people person” too (amongst other things that Carnegie advises us on), you should definitely check out How to Win Friends and Influence People! On the Chapters website, there’s an except that you can take a look at as well: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/how-to-win-friends-and/9780671027032-item.html?ikwid=How+to+Win+Friends+and+Influence+People&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0