This book is about the fundamental principles that Dale Carnegie noted that lead people to have happier lives. The book is divided based on how these principles are used and played out.
He was born in Missouri in 1888 and was educated at Warrensburg State Teachers College. He would develop the Dale Carnegie Course, which helped people with public speaking, and eventually tapped into teaching professional development.
In 1936, Carnegie wrote this book.
How Does It Hold Up…?
The book is definitely as relevant 70 years before this particular edition was published. What makes it so is the emphasis on sets of principles to live by in order to achieve any form of success in life.
A theme that plays out is how Carnegie selectively picks rich, famous people who were of common birth. These include Abraham Lincoln, Hall Caine, and Andrew Carnegie; and they all have benefited from using one or more of the principles that Dale Carnegie lists. These choices of figures is very strategic, since the book highlights how anyone can employ these principles into their daily lives.
One key aspect is humility and admitting one’s fault. This would be done in order to avoid any further conflict, which would result in lower profits. It also involves de-escalation until there is a solution that can be agreed upon.
Using the right words is also used in retail, which is definitely one where conflict is bound to be rife. It involves hearing the angry patron out and making sure that you don’t lose their business. This can also be applied to someone in a leadership position, specifically by asking them realistic, genuine questions about their business; or making complimentary observations.
As for the specific successes that Carnegie mentions, they generally within the same category as finances. Basically, most of the people detailed in this book become successful either in the financial or the political realm. Of course, not everyone wants to be successful in either of those fields. Of course, Carnegie himself is aware of this, since he introduces his book, referencing Sigmund Freud’s theory that every person’s interests can be boiled down into two proto-desires:
- sexual gratification
- sense of importance
As such, there aren’t any–or at least a summable amount–of accounts of people who were in a successful relationship or any other metric.
The social aspect is important, since befriending leads to influencing. In order to befriend someone, Carnegie writes about identifying with the other person’s emotions and fascinations. In other words, it is about employing empathy, listening to the speak, and making them feel important.
Allie Bjerk, from the 6-Figure Bloggers book, wrote about how Carnegie’s book was among three that inspired her. Indeed, since she specializes in finance, it can be no surprise how much he inspired her blog.
What Musashi Miyamoto preached was seeing oneself in the enemy, not to agree with him, but to outsmart him. This type of thinking can apply to this book, though it is not enemies to be interacted with but with possible allies.
Christian Mabsbjerg noted how empathy was key to success in the business world, in spite of the underestimation of the liberal arts major. What that field tends to do is find patterns within literature and human behavior. That is why it is important for those who are able to have gut instincts to make crucial decisions about whether to pull out of the stock market when everyone is feeling nervous.
Connecting To The Previous Book
This book can connect to Deep Work by Cal Newport only so far as psychology is involved. Since Newport demands discipline on the part of the reader, Carnegie is more focused on interactions between people. I can see how both of these books would play out in the financial world.
Carnegie brings a lot of historical context into this book, primarily US presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield. This backs up the ethos behind this book, implying that if they can act on these principles, then so can anyone else.
The way that it is written can convey a sense of story-telling, since the ways in which each principle is played out is done in narrative form. It is almost as though Carnegie is trying to break the monotony of dry, non-fictional prose. Of course, I cannot confirm whether the conversations actually happened.
Carnegie also encourages the reader to structure their interactions to make it less about themselves and more about the other person.
The creativity can be there for those wish to find it in their own daily rhetoric. It is all about framing the conversation, so as to not make it about oneself, rather about the other person. To be a creative talker means to be a conversationalist. In order to practice that art, it involves making sure that the other person is able to explain their interests.
Making other people feel important is also a creative pursuit in itself, since it would involve studying that person, even down to their first name and birthday.
It can be innovative in the sense that it would lead to a large network of important people. A lot of conflicts would also be de-escalated with the principles being used from this book.
The point that Carnegie makes in his preface is for the reader to lead a fulfilling life. Of course, this can be applied to anyone not just in the financial or political world.
Inspiration To Myself
I would say that fulfillment is a bit subjective, since not everyone has the same goals. Some people want a productive job, a lot of money, or good relationships. I would have to consider the fact that fulfillment in Carnegie’s sense is more akin to a species’ adaptation to a particular niche. Ecologist Ian McHarg makes the point that humans are no exception to this law of nature. Humans build and shelter themselves in such a way that they adapt to a particular climate or landscape. It is no different with human society amongst itself.
I can see how this would inspire many people, regardless of what field they get into.
Recommend This To…
- Anyone interested in being more socially adept, for obvious reasons.
- Anyone interested in history, since you will find many instances of historical figures interacting with one another.
- Carnegie, Dale. “How To Win Friends & Influence People.” Special Anniversary Edition. Over 70 Years in Print. Simon & Schuster. 1936. First Pocket Books Paperback Printing. November 1998.
- Dale Carnegie.
- Madsbjerg, Christian. “Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of Algorithm.” Hachette. 2017.
- McHarg, Ian. “The Essential Ian McHarg: Writings on Design and Nature.” Edited by Frederick R. Steiner. Island Press. 2013.
- Miller, Sally. “The Essential Habits Of 6-Figure Bloggers: Secrets of 17 Successful Bloggers You Can Use to Build a Six-Figure Online Business.” Sally Miller. 2018.
- Miyamoto, Musashi. “Book of the Five Rings.” 1643. Yellowed Paper Books. 2020.
- Newport, Cal. “Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World.” Grand Central Publishing. 2016.
- Ynkawen, Michalangove. “Deep Work, By Cal Newport | 21 | 2022 Centobibliennial Reading.” Ynkawen. 2022.