From ‘mental rut’ to big rewards

Christoff Oosthuysen reviews How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, published in 2006 by Vermilion (first published in 1937).

Perhaps the best-known self-development book of all times is “How To Win Friends And Influence People”, which has already sold over 16 million copies in most languages of the world; and keeps on selling.

When Dale Carnegie first developed a talk and educational programmes on this topic he was not expecting such a huge response. The publishers printed only 5 000 copies of the first edition.

Today, the advice from Carnegie on getting out of the “mental rut” that prevents you from developing yourself so that you can live a more “rewarding life”, is as relevant as it was when he first wrote the book nearly 80 years ago.

And with this revised and updated edition of 2006, the reader is offered a book with relevant references to the modern context.

Why is it then that this book became so immensely popular? Perhaps the answer lies in the powerful promise that it will help you to shift your mindset so that you can increase your popularity and influence, so that you can have more engaging relationships, and so that you’ll be able to create enthusiasm amongst your team for supporting your dreams.

In short, the book offers you a result where you are much better at getting others to support your objectives.

For business owners this is of course a key element in creating a successful business since you need to recruit the right people and keep them motivated as your team members; and you need to interact with prospective clients and convince them that they should do business with you.

As Carnegie himself comments in the introductory chapter, the book came into being as a result of decades of offering educational courses which were designed to train people to “think on their feet and express their ideas with more clarity (but) they needed still more training in the fine art of getting along with people in everyday business and social contacts… (since) dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business”.

A good example is that of a business owner who took part in Carnegie’s programmes where the same tips presented in the book were introduced for him to use in his business.

The business owner introduced the principles and was amazed by the results.

Not only did the business gain in profits, but the owner also found that he gained more happiness both at home and at work.

While sales people can clearly benefit from increased influence, the book is applicable to all.

It offers practical ways of getting along with others and winning them over as supporters. It is best to read the book, where the Carnegie principles are explained very eloquently.


, Dale Carnegie,

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