After being recommended this book numerous times and reading most of it, I asked a psychologist friend what she thinks about it. Her answer was - "This book simply teaches to change your behavior in order to manipulate people for your own needs. But at the end, it's really not worth it trying to redo yourself. ... Still, it's a good idea to smile."

P.S. After embracing some of the book's ideas, if not as a personal agenda but as general knowledge, my behavior changed. I turned too aware of my conversation style, feeling boring or annoying when I talk about myself, keeping in mind the rule saying "everyone likes to talk about themselves and nobody likes to listen to others talk about themselves". The book, in fact, prevented me from behaving naturally with people I should feel at ease with.

My girlfriend has a copy of Dale Carnegie's infamous book How to win friends and influence people. She got it on a training course that she attended with another 100 or so people. (This bulk buying might go some way to explaining the huge sales for the book.)

At the end of the course it was compulsory to give a speech to all the other trainees saying how much the book had benefited you (if you wanted to pass). Her description of this reminded me of the techniques used by some cults. Unsurprisingly, very few people chose to challenge the instructors in front of a large audience and reveal what they really thought about the book, thinking instead about their future promotion prospects.

The book itself seems to be fairly heavy with platitudes and I think I would need to master more motivational techniques to read more than the page I managed. Perhaps a motivational book would help?

This book is perhaps the best textbook on social engineering/diplomacy available. The ideas in it aren't complex, and aren't derived from some psychological study -- it's simply what works. It is manipulative, but yet strongly recommends that you be sincere, and that you put yourself in the other person's shoes. It's not directly manipulative in it's tactics, though -- why flatter someone falsely when you can praise them truthfully, avoiding any possible backlash.

The book itself is written in a conversational style, using examples and ancedotes to get the point across, almost koan-style. There is a touchstone phrase at the end of each chapter.

Applying these ideas takes effort, though. That's the point of the class -- apply the ideas in How to Win Friends and Influence People, the ideas in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, and the ideas in The Quick and Easy Way To Effective Speaking.

I read the book in the summer of 1999 to help improve my fraternity's rush efforts in the fall. I am graduated now, and working at a company where it is mandatory to take Dale Carnegie Training.

First published in 1953, this book has sold millions and is still selling strongly.

Dale Carnegie has produced a piece of work that has obviously survived the test of time. Not surprisingly, because most of the angst in our everyday life comes from dealing with people.

I think the book teaches you the basic principles of manners and courtesy. Would you say that is it manipulative just because it tells you how to make other people feel good about themselves and about dealing with you? Perhaps even a little subversive?

This book is the soothing antidote to nice people don’t get ahead. Read it if you want to put yourself on the cover of the human relations magazine. Read it if you constantly meet people and have to be continually associated with them.

I have the 1968 edition, and I don’t know if the anecdotes in them have changes. But the last part is Seven rules for making your home life happier. It does take use the more traditional role of working husband/house wife, but the rules still apply.

For example, Rule 1 - Don’t nag.

In Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends & Influence People, the fine art of getting along with people in everyday business and social contacts is described in simple detail, complete with anecdotes, testimonials and examples of the proposed techniques' success as well as strategies to better incorporate them into the reader's life and the manner by which he or she approaches it.

Carnegie chalks up financial success as being comprised of two things. Though obviously important, least significant of the two, he says, is the ability to actually perform the job. The author maintains that fifteen percent of financial success is due to one's technical knowledge in his or her profession. It has come to be expected that a certain level of competency be observed in viable candidates for continued employment. In effect, being able to do one's job makes one no different from his or her coworkers.

What separate the wheat from the chaff, however, are personality and the ability to lead people. This quality is what distinguishes an employee and sets him or her apart from the anonymity of an organization. As such, Carnegie attributes the remaining eighty-five percent of one's financial success to skill in human engineering. He writes: "...the person who has technical knowledge plus the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people - that person is headed for higher earning power." It is the integration of the two skill sets that will guarantee success.

The author breaks down the four areas that one must work on to achieve betterment in social interactions through a series of principles that, though seemingly logical and sensible, are often overlooked. He does so as a summation of each chapter following a string of anecdotes and testimonials. Reading through them all, a pattern in recommended human behavior slowly begins to emerge and upon completion of the chapter, the principle is clearly articulated in italics and as a final point, summing up all that had preceded it. In this manner, the philosophy appears to be offered to the reader as a logical conclusion as a consequence to the actions observed therein.

The first section he calls "Fundamental Techniques In Handling People". In it he describes how to handle the most basic of social interchanges with principles so simple as to inform the reader that A) people do not enjoy being criticized, condemned nor complained to, B) as a general rule, most people enjoy honesty and sincere appreciation and C) it is best to "arouse in the other person an eager want". It is a far easier facilitated process to maintain relations with a person if they find you pleasant to be around.

In that vein, the author then goes on to cover "Six Ways To Make People Like You". In this section, Carnegie illustrates the value of being an amiable person and describes a half-dozen easy to understand methods to become one. Essentially, what behavioral prescriptions he recommends are but appeals to the other person's ego. Dale Carnegie attempts to relay to his audience that the best way to get in someone's good graces is to act in their interest because everyone's ego enjoys a good massage. This is best exemplified in the principles "Become Genuinely Interested In Other People", "Talk In Terms Of The Other Person's Interests", "Make the Other Person Feel Important - And Do It Sincerely", and most definitely in the principle entitled "Remember That A Person's Name Is To That Person The Sweetest And Most Important Sound In Any Language."

The next section, "How To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking", describes the manner by which one would accomplish exactly that. Dale Carnegie prescribes techniques of how one should conduct oneself if ever he or she is placed in a scenario where rival ideas clash with his or her own. Not only does the author describe ways to do so while maintaining respect for the other person as well as demonstrating tact in the situation, the system presented is a brilliant way of approaching arguments and/or discussions intelligently and not solely with blind passion and fervor.

If it can be summed up simply, this section of How To Win Friends And Influence People illustrates how one should participate in the discussion of differences in opinions strategically. It is not unlike a war where the battle is won by the side employing the better tactics and weaponry. Here the weapons are words and the tactics are such principles as "Begin In A Friendly Way", "Get The Other Person To Say 'Yes, Yes' Immediately", "Let The Other Person Feel That The Idea Is His Or Hers", "Let The Other Person Do A Great Deal Of The Talking", and "Throw Down A Challenge".

The fourth and final section of Dale Carnegie's book encompasses suggestions on the subject of leadership and examples of good management skills. Entitled "Be A Leader: How To Change People Without Giving Offense Or Arousing Resentment", Carnegie reinforces the ideas presented in the preceding sections but provides them with instances involved with an objective of some sort. If it stands to reason that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link so too is a team or group with its most ineffectual member. What needs to be pointed out, however, is that the effectiveness of any team member is often a product of how he or she is connected to the group.

The leader or manager is what holds a team together. His or Her attention to the group members and how they fit affects how they perform. Carnegie acknowledges this in the principles "Talk About Your Own Mistakes before Criticizing The Other Person", "Let The Other Person Save Face", "Use Encouragement. Make The Fault Seem Easy To Correct", as well as "Praise The Slightest Improvement And Praise Every Improvement. Be 'Hearty In Your Approbations And Lavish In Your Praise.'" A leader, the author says, does not have to be a bully or an aloof and unapproachable superior being to be a good one.

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