Friday, June 25, 2010

The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same

Free-form Friday

I've been listening to Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. It was originally published in 1936, so I'm a bit late to the game.

I've found myself smiling, time and again, as I've listened to 40s-era advice that sounds like the latest pearls of wisdom from the social networking gurus. I trained as a historian, so I know that there's really nothing new under the sun. Still, I was intrigued by the parallels.

"That's nice," you may say, "but how could an advice book published in 1936 have anything for us now?"

I'll explain in detail in the coming weeks. For now I think the high-level take-away is that the publishing industry is no more mysterious than any other business because they're all fundamentally about human relationships. People haven't changed that much so the same principles for handling human relationships still apply.

I'm going to devote Tuesdays to a series of notes pointing out how Dale Carnegie's advice applies to modern writers. In preparation for that, here's a summary of the principles of How to Win Friends and Influence People from Wikipedia.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
  1. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six Ways to Make People Like You
  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a man's Name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in the terms of the other man's interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
  1. Avoid arguments.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
  3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
  6. Let the other person do the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Sympathize with the other person.
  10. Appeal to noble motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge & don't talk negative when the person is absent, talk about only positive.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to other people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes first.
  4. Ask questions instead of directly giving orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

Image: Photography by BJWOK /

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