When my parents died, we found an impressive stack of Dale Carnegie books and tapes. I thought lovingly of their influence on my dad, and went on with my sorting. I had never read any of it.
I brought home a lot of treasures from my parents’ home, but Dale Carnegie wasn’t among them. Outdated, I thought. How to Win Friends and Influence People is old—older than me. I was born in the fifties. How to win Friends was published in the thirties—1937 to be exact.
A few years later, a fellow piano teacher told me excitedly of a book she was reading. It had changed her thinking, and it was changing the way she taught piano. I was eager to hear about this book. I wanted to improve my teaching too.
The book? You guessed it. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I was stunned. How had I missed this treasure, once at my fingertips. Maybe it wasn’t outdated.
I checked it out from the library and begin listening to it in my car. I couldn’t believe how relevant it was. I listened to it several times, and tried to absorb it. The messages in the book were powerful.
Fast forward several years. Friend-husband and I just returned from a trip with our youngest son and his wife. There was a lot of driving involved and our son had brought some CD’s to listen to in the car. The book was familiar. The author was Dale Carnegie. I was eager to hear How to Win Friends and Influence People again.
Though I knew what to expect this time, the material sounded brand new. It was meaty and fresh. I tried to absorb it, but there was so much. I need this information in my life. I need it all the time.
I think I’m good with people, but not this good. I’ve had a lot of disappointing experiences in the last few years. People let you down sometimes. If I had been better at some of the principles taught in that book, could I have turned some of those experiences around?
I’ll never know, but I can try again.
I decided to put it to the test. I tried some of the ideas out on two sticky little people problems. It made a difference. Those two problems evaporated. I’m a believer, but old habits die hard. I need to hear this stuff every day.
Here’s a snippet from an Amazon review: “This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today as it was when it was first published, because Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated.”
Warren Buffet said it changed his life.
Maybe everyone should read it.