The first book that I finished reading post-exams is Dale Carnegie’s 1936 bestseller How To Win Friends and Influence People. Do not get the wrong impression that I am looking to charm my way through things by reading such a book – the title does not ring a very positive bell in my ear.

The reason that I read this book is because I simply bumped into this book in UCL’s library some time last month when I was spending almost every day in the library revising for finals (boring times!). I have definitely heard of this book before but did not bother reading it. Plus, it’s an old book written nearly 80 years ago!

I guess curiosity got the best of me and I borrowed this book after exams ended just to see what it is all about. I did not have any expectations (in fact, I have negative expectations) with this book. After the first few pages, I realised that this book is a very easy read and although written in the early 1900s, the principles advocated in the book still hold very true today. There is definitely merit in classic books that have stood the test of time.

I thought it would be a good idea to reproduce the principles from the book to share here:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want
  4. Never show others that you are not interested in what they have to say

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re Wrong”
  3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  4. Begin in a friendly way
  5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives
  11. Dramatize your ideas
  12. Throw down a challenge

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  5. Let the other person save face
  6. Praise every improvement
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest
This book has certainly been one of the best books I have read and I believe that I will refer to the principles many times throughout my life. I highly recommend this book and for you to learn the principles advocated by Dale Carnegie.

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