Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends And Influence People” is a classic non-fiction, self-help book that was originally published in 1936. It became a massive success selling tens of millions of copies with people still reading the updated versions today.
It has been lingering in my mind to read it for a while, though I must admit, I found the title to be off-putting. “Win friends” sounded synonymous to “manipulate” in my head. However, a few of my uncles as well as former professors all insisted it was great for understanding and improving my leadership qualities. So, when my previous book list was complete, I finally decided to pick this one up and I am glad I did.
The book starts with Carnegie recommending reviewing the chapters every now and then as a reminder to implement the tips mentioned into our lives. He suggests reading through the entire book roughly then reading it all over again carefully.
I’ve only read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” once and so this Parting Stories book review is based on my first impression.
First, I love Carnegie’s style of writing.
He writes from the perspective of a professor teaching his student. It was stated in his biography that he was a popular teacher of some sort so maybe that followed into his writing naturally.
His English is formal and unusual to modern ways of writing. There are a few unfamiliar words that I had to search up and some conversations that would not be considered colloquial nowadays. I love it though and wish people spoke as they did back then. It’s evident the average person read many books and spent a lot of time writing as this was before the technological revolution. I hope Parting Stories encourages people to write everyday again.
In the book, Carnegie explains how to behave like a leader and create a bond with anyone. He teaches how to get on the good sides of the majority to achieve what we please. Carnegie provides numerous true stories and examples of famous people at the time like Theodore Roosevelt using his suggested actions. The direct quotations, full speeches and letters, and interactions are all included, proving them to be true.
I found many experiences mentioned relatable and recognized that I had done some of the actions Carnegie suggested already in the course of my life which have worked. I also recall making similar observations on the influence certain behaviours had on others.
In one chapter, Carnegie shared a story from one of his previous students.
One man was having trouble reviving his bond with his wife and did not understand why she was taking so much time out in their garden. His wife would put so much effort in the appearance of their household back and front yard plantation which confused him. Later, he decided not to argue about this being a “wast of time,” taking Carnegie’s lessons into consideration, but recognize and encourage her efforts. As a result, his wife became overjoyed. Soon, the two of them were spending quality time together in the garden. He didn’t have to do anything special. All she wanted was time doing something she loved with the presence of her husband.
My parents went through something extremely similar. My dad was having trouble understanding the appeal my mom had towards gardening. Soon, he took that as an opportunity to connect with her and now often helps her out when he has the chance. This decision to spend time together doing an activity that meant a lot to my mom, changed the dynamic of their relationship. They’re constantly talking about it joyfully.
“How To Win Friends And Influence People” is reasonably popular. Dale Carnegie’s psychology makes sense and should be used today. Parting from this book, I admit that I too am convinced it will forever remain a classic and will soon be in university course readings.
I recommend picking up the book like most people and reading it at night before going to bed. I tended to read roughly three chapters at a time which allowed me to sink in the strategies and tactics. Still, rereads are necessary for me as my mind is incapable of remembering every detail after a while without any reference. If there’s a book worth buying, this is the one!
Thank you for reading and I hope you are convinced to pick this book up if you have not already!
Founder and Managing Director at Parting Stories
Manager I, Operations at Amazon
BBA ’20, Schulich School of Business at York University
Certified PS Writer