How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Wow! This is surely the Daddy of all Self Help Books. Written in 1936 its message is as relevant and crystal clear today as it’s always been. If you rub someone up the wrong way, it is extremely unlikely that they will do anything to help you. Get on their right side, by understanding what drives them and what they like to do, and they’ll more than likely assist you in anyway that they can.

In essence what Carnegie teaches is that, when you are trying to influence someone, you should subordinate your personal interests to those of that person. I made this mistake once, when a customer of mine was talking about his favourite football team – one that I happen to dislike. Instead of keeping my big gob shut, I had to wade in saying that his team was a bunch of ne’er-do-wells and vagabonds. Result, I nearly lost my customer.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

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Why You Should Develop Yourself

You need the skills to be able to do your job. FACT. From the least techincal job to being a brain surgeon or rocket scientist, there is no getting away from it, you aren’t going to last long if you do things the wrong way.

Call it training, call it personal development. Whichever way, look on training as an opportunity to change your look on life and your approach to it – and therefore to change your life to something that you want it to be. As with Time Management, you need a list of goals, so that you can set your training requirements accordingly.

I’m going to say that there are two type of training. The first is how-to-training. The nuts and bolts of your chosen business. If you’re a plumber, you need to know how to bend pipes and to join them together and so on. But then you’ve also got softer skills to learn – lets call this personal-development-training. E.g. improve your confidence, improve your conversational skills, and win more customers.

Magic Wand

Remember there is no such thing as a magic wand. Many personal development books and courses make very similar, highfalutin claims. These are not entirely untrue. However, no book in the world will make you do the things that they claim, unless you do something too.

When I was an -employed person, we’d get sent on many such courses. I’d go along to the workshops, join in all the fun, really throw myself into learning the techniques. I’d learn stuff like ‘how to get my boss to do what I want him to with him knowing’ then go back to the office and attempt the techniques in the work place… deathly silence… tumble weed blows across the office…

The course notes would sit there and gather dust. I’d always have excuses. ‘Yeah, but it’s all right doing it in the workshop, that’s only a bit of fun,’ and so on. FACT, these were free courses that my employer had sent me on. If nothing else, it was my duty to take on board what was said and put it into practice.

Used To Wonder

I used to wonder why the people who run such courses can manage to convince big companies into paying them extremely large sums of money for taking their employees out of the office for a couple of days at a time, whilst neglecting the important business of carrying out the company’s core tasks. Now, having been self-employed for a while, I’ve realised that what these consultants teach is worth so much more that whatever pittance they get paid.

This article, written by me, has previously been published on my former on-line incarnation,

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S.U.M.O. – Paul McGee

This is a great book. The acronym stands for Shut Up, Move On. Say it to yourself (or to someone else) when you’re thinking, and therefore behaving in a way that is likely to hinder our ability to succeed. The first part is the Shut Up bit. Now it doesn’t necessarily mean ‘belt up and get a grip’ – you are allowed some time to wallow – it’s more of an opportunity to re-evaluate your postion, and then Move On.

Photo credit, NatanahelioThis second element is the one that requires you to do something, i.e. it’s the action bit. Without action, you can re-evaluate to your heart’s content, but if you don’t change then why bother with all the re-evaluation? Actually, this is a very good point about this book, or any other self-help book for that matter. I used to think that just by buying a particular tome that all of my problems (whether real or perceived) would be solved, just like magic! Of course I was wrong – action is required.

Anyway, Paul goes on to describe how you can take control of your life and therefore fulfil your full potential. Perhaps the best chapter is the last one, with the rather quirky title – Ditch Doris Day. It’s not meant as a direct reference to Doris, more to her most famous song, Que Sera, Sera. Paul’s point being that life should be what you make it, not the chance outcome of a series of coincidences. He’s obviously more of a Talk Talk man it seems.

Photo credit, Natanahelio


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