Review: How To Win Friends & Influence People

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Although I love the idea of sitting down with a cup of coffee and a good book, I'm no longer huge fan of reading because I very much prefer watching films or dramas instead—I guess you can say I'm more of a visual person. However, I do remember the time when I did read a lot, which was during my primary school days because you would get a sticker every time you remember to bring your library bag and card. Plus, my mum would frequently take us to the local library so that we would borrow about 4-5 books each to read every month.

I stopped reading for pleasure due the amount of readings I had to do for law school. (The 20 odd textbooks I purchased are still sitting on my book shelf.) However, now that I have a bit more time to myself, I started taking on the initiative to read again—to improve, motivate and empower myself.

The first book on my list of self-improvement books is "How To Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. Since it's first release almost 80 years ago (1936), it has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and translated into almost every language—making it one of the best selling self-help books ever published.

The reason why I think the book is so relevant, even in 2015, is because people have always wanted, want and will want the same thing: the ability to communicate and communicate well. This is especially true in the professional and business fields—whether you're living in the 19th century or the 21st century.

If you just read the title, you might think this book is written for people with no friends or those who lack the ability to make friends. But "this is almost the complete opposite. The book [is] about fostering a genuine interest in others and avoiding the divisive methods of conversation based on our own insecurities" (philosophizethis).

There's no special formula or rule of thumb that can be applied to help you get along with others or make people like you. Honesty and sincerity is key. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain. Listen to people when they speak to you, and be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires. Consider things from the other person's point of view. Yes, it all sounds so simple, but many things are easier said than done.

Don't let a book with one of the most misleading titles ever deter you away from the depth and relevance of its contents because I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. It made me reflect on how I present myself as an individual and how I should've acted towards others. There's nothing to lose by changing the way we interact with those around us—friends, family, co-workers, clients, or even strangers—because at the end of the day, we live in a "people world" and interpersonal skills have been proven to be far more useful than most skills.

Rating: ★★★★★

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