Books

How to Win Friends and Influence People

It’s my third time to fully read this book. Once at my teenage in Korean; once in college and, this time, in grad school, in English. Not surprisingly, every time I read this type of classic bestsellers, I learn new things. I now see things differently, owing to my experience that has accumulated over time.

First and foremost, after reading the book, I certainly started to think more in the perspective of others and listen more. In general, I felt better at communicating with others than before. Golden rules—be genuinely interested in others, hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise, smile, and remember names—deserve to be repeated as many as in the book.

Though skeptical of their general efficacy, I’d accept and practice most of the other rules, at least for when I’m serving other people–for example–when acting as a leader, doing public speaking, or dealing with students as a TA.

I do not, however, think it’s a panacea for all. Since published in 1936, people across the world and across generations have read it. Carnegie puts as though we could absolve most of relationship problems through his life-learned rules by enthusiastically enumerating the endless successful cases of his pupils. He seems to find it hard to understand why people don’t simply follow his rules for the sake of their own life. After nearly a century since the first publish, its steady selling insinuates that humankind might be still struggling with the same sort of problems. The irony makes all the examples, and the principles, dubious. Perhaps, we might be overwhelmed by harsh competitions in the market.

As a matter of fact, there’s no scientific reference at all throughout the book; one might just treat the book as total rubbish and go on her life. Nevertheless, I would take most of his rules as ways of becoming more amicable to others, rather than “winning real friends.”