Friday, October 21, 2005

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I got this book at a place called Powell's Bookstore which has locations in the airport in Portland, Oregon. It was awesome because they had all these used books in the airport--perfect because it's not like you really want to spend 25 bucks for a book that you just want to read on the airplane.

Anyhow, I have heard of this book forever, and I finally decided this was a good opportunity to read it. I infer that it's the seminal work on interpersonal relationships, and a lot of what it has to say, I've learned from people who obviously were informed by the book. It is copyright 1936, so obviously it's stood the test of time. (My boss says that when you plan a conference, you should have food that stands the test of time. We used shrimp and quesadillas and apparently they work okay for that purpose.)

My takeaway from the book is that you need to let people "save face". For example, you shouldn't corner people and say "you should do whatever" because that will trigger their ego to respond. Instead, you should facilitate the process of letting them figure out what the problem is and why fixing it will be of benefit to everyone. (This is kind of like the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where you have Tula and her Mom and Aunt trying to convince the dad to go along with their idea.) You kill two birds, in a way, because your problem gets fixed, and if you tackle it right, you will have made a friend in the process.

Obviously, easier said than done, but these are some points that are worth mulling over if you are dealing with some interpersonal troubles. A takeaway quote is that a "person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

By Dale Carnegie
ISBN# 0671027034