Now, this is a real classic. A masterpiece written in 1936 that is as valuable today as it was then. A timeless and priceless read. I would like to congratulate Mr. Carnegie posthumously for leaving us such a beautiful gift and legacy.
The book is very simple, and it´s about how to win friends and influence people, of course. And that´s exactly what it´s about, and nothing else. It´s written in a clear and very objective way. The book is divided in many small chapters to better organize the different approaches and methods to influence people. The author also fills the book with examples that make each lesson even simpler and more practical. Personally, I read one chapter a week, in order to process and remember each lesson before moving to the next one. I find this a better way to remember the techniques in the future.
I met many people, myself included, who might be hesitant or even afraid to read Carnegie´s book. That is understandable, since the title automatically makes you imagine some evil form of manipulating people to fulfill all your personal goals or force them to take action about something under some sort of duress. If that was the case, it could be an interesting book, but it´s not, which thus makes it an incredible one. It´s a sincere and honest book, trying to illustrate the best practices to help you achieve your objectives without having to confront people head to head. Whether you like or not, the world is made of people, and one way or another, you have to engage them to accomplish any objective, be it big or small.
Let´s say, hypothetically, a sales rep needs to sell a car to a potential client, and first thing the client says is “I don´t like the color, and I don´t like engine and I don´t like the price”. A regular rep would automatically get defensive and frustrated, or simply tell him that the sale was not going to happen and he should look for a different car.
On the other hand, analyzing the situation through Carnegie´s lens, there are several techniques the rep can use to make the sale. First, understand each issue through the customer’s perspective: why does he not like the color? Nor the engine? Nor the price? It´s possible the car is for her daughter and you can offer him a complete different product, maybe pink, very slow and at the same price, that he will love. Second, criticize yourself before criticizing others. The rep should tell him he also made the wrong decision last time he bought a car, showing he´s talking from experience and prone to error. Third, make the client feel important and superior. Let him talk about himself, ask about his life, remember his name, show real interest – everybody is vain and that can be exploited. Last but not least, don´t argue in a straightforward way. Don´t say “No, you are wrong”, use different words in different situations. Those are just few examples. Moreover, if the client doesn´t end up buying the car, at least he will surely give the sales rep another shot next time.
The one thing you really gotta be careful is not to force or try to hard to put the techniques in practice. Otherwise, they will seem fake and work against you, instead of for you. In order to have good results, be honest, real and truthful. The aim is not to manipulate your opposite, but to alter the status quo with a partner.
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a must read for everybody, from a mother to a CEO. Who wouldn´t like to have smoother relations, better sales, more profitable deals and fewer headaches?
Nevertheless, remember, it´s not because you read the book that every time you talk to someone you´ll get what you want. These are lessons that require practice and improvement during your whole life span. Wish you luck and success.