How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie
Contributed by Jack Shields
Dale Carnegie
Year Published
About the Title

Published first in 1936, just a few years after the Great Depression, Dale Carnegie’s seminal self-help book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has become a staple answer to anyone seeking to improve their social skills and confidence, and for people who’ve forgotten how to make friends due to the complexity of relationships in adulthood. The book’s relative universality and timelessness comes from how it identifies and takes a preventative approach to conflicts, which are inevitable, between or among individuals and groups of individuals. For instance, the first principle and maybe the most significant that Carnegie spells out roughly amounts to “stop criticizing others.” Most might find such an observation too bland or apparent, “Of course, people aren’t going to like you if you complain about something. What’s so good about this book?” To the chagrin of those with similar immediate reactions to the above, the irony of asking such a question lies in the fact that such a question criticizes and complains about the book, breaking its first rule already. In “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Carnegie walks readers through the logic of common maxims such as “don’t complain or criticize” or “stop pointing fingers” to help that individual truly understand why such behavior so often develops into habits and inclinations that ruin, strain, or alienate those around us. Cultivating diplomacy, compromise, and teamwork are too often taken for granted, and Dale Carnegie puts that in perspective for all.

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