The book How to Win Friends and Influence People has been the go-to book for everyone from rising partners to middle managers since its release in 1936. Its continued success isn’t an accident, either. Because while our understanding of psychology and social behavior has become a great deal more sophisticated since this book came out, the advice contained within its pages continues to be spot-on and a valuable tool for business.
Make People Like You, And They’ll Listen To You
The central premise of the book is that if you can make people like you (or at least feel positively inclined toward you), then they will be a lot easier to work with. As such, the book gives you tips on how to talk to people, what makes people like you, and what you should avoid doing if you want to maintain those good relations.
The short version is that you need to be cooperative with other people, and to try to see things from their perspectives as often as possible. Only when you can place yourself in someone else’s shoes can you get their view of a situation, and then figure out how to proceed. Above all, though, remember that criticism is often seen as an attack. This starts a fight far more than it solves problems, making people defensive. Instead, you need to learn to forgive, to encourage, and to help, which makes it clear that you’re on the same side as someone else.
Most importantly, though, you need to light a genuine desire in someone else. Whether you’re a coach firing up a player with a locker room speech, or you’re a manager working with your team members to make sure they’re performing at their peak, the concepts in this book give you the tools to get other people to do their very best.
For a brief run-down of the philosophical high-points in the book, read the 2-minute review from Farnam Street.