The First Book I Recommend for Anyone with a Job

Or – How not to be the person that nobody wants to invite to lunch…

For anyone who isn’t already familiar with Dale Carnegie, I recommend you get acquainted with his work by reading How to Win Friends & Influence People. This book was originally published in 1937 and still holds up today. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading – or rereading – this book.  Most of the principles and guidelines should be obvious to us all. However, remembering and adhering to his advice is an ongoing struggle for most.

Being Liked = Success

We can all think of a least one friend that is liked by almost everyone. Other people simply like being around them. They have hundreds of numbers in their cell phone, or 500+ friends on Facebook.  Now think about that friend’s personality and attitude. Chances are they closely follow one of Carnegie’s key points (without even knowing it) – don’t overly criticize, condemn, or complain (the 3Cs). There are more than enough other people contributing to the 3Cs.

Many of us can also think of coworkers or friends who have been very successful in their careers primarily because they are genuinely liked by others. These people might not have been pegged as “most likely to succeed” back in high school. But by treating people the right way, having a great attitude, and creating a large network of friends and colleagues, they have been able to achieve great things. Of course being universally liked isn’t a prerequisite for success – think Donald Trump – but it certainly helps. Combine this type of positive attitude and likeability with talent and hard work, and we have a recipe for great success.

Some Key Takeaways.

This is a book that is meant to be read more than once and revisited from time to time. Here are my key takeaways from my last skim through the book.

  • Reduce The 3C’s – Criticize, Condemn, Complain
  • Never say “you’re wrong.” It forces the person into a corner and into defense mode.  You can get your point across and make it obvious who’s in the wrong without actually saying it.
  • Ask questions instead of giving orders. For example use “Is there a way you can deliver this faster” instead of “You need to get this done faster.”
  • Be quick to admit your mistakes.
  • Talk about your mistakes before criticizing other’s mistakes.
  • Don’t always be right.  Even if you are always right – which is highly unlikely – people tend to dislike someone who’s always right. This isn’t to say you should make an occasional mistake on purpose. Rather it’s a matter of letting some opportunities to prove others wrong slide. For example, we don’t need to correct insignificant details in someone’s story.
  • Smile. Chances are that well liked friend of yours smiles a lot.
  • Increase celebrating achievements.
  • Increase praising others publicly.
  • Show genuine interest in others.
  • Remembers names and use them. People love hearing their own name.
  • Praise in public, criticize in private.
  • A great quote from Charles Schwab that he credited as one of the keys to his success: “I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”

If you enjoy this book, you may also want to check out some of his other work.  I also recommend reading The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking. It’s a classic guide to speaking and presenting in public.

Follow Discussion

2 Responses to “The First Book I Recommend for Anyone with a Job”

  1. ChrisM

    I find it hard how you can lead and manage others without at times criticizing them. So it’s a bit hard to get your heard around how to correct your employees deficiencies and mistakes without criticism. It seems that some people need to be handled too gently.

  2. Glen

    He elaborates on this point throughout the book. It’s not that people should never criticize, rather that they should emphasis praise, and lack of praise, as an alternative. In other words if people come to expect praise for a job well done, withholding praise ends up serving the same purpose as criticism without some of the negative consequences. Of course you still need to give specific details on what the person did wrong when appropriate. But as I mentioned above you should pick the right battles (i.e. don’t overly criticize) and reserve criticism for the right situations (i.e. not in a public setting).

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