Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Am I a looser if I don’t “Win” friends? And how do you win them anyway? Is there a lottery? I’m confused but millions of people over 100 years now have gotten the answers from Dale Carnegie’s book , “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Now it has been digitally updated for your smart devices. Yes, you can now ”Win” everywhere. Does that make you a winner? Not necessarily, read the book again, you need it.
Dale Carnegie made a fortune by preaching that nice guys can finish first in the many races we all have to participate in in life. We race for the sales at the supermarket, we race to get the job of our dreams, we race to get accepted in the schools of our choice. Some people race well, just to race. Should we go with our instincts and push everyone out of our way? Or, should we say, ”No, after you!” back and forth until you are ahead of someone anyway? Yes, a kinder gentler way to be ahead in the race.
75 years after he published his simple recipe for success his business is still going strong. The motto is just two steps in life. Your goal is to win the friends and then influence people. Sounds simple but for most of us, we have to work at the kindness thing. No one wants to be friends with mean people. His philosophy in a nutshell was that you CAN change people’s behavior by changing YOUR attitude towards them.
The Carnegie empire is still selling the book along with dozens others like, “How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job,” or “The Quick & Easy Way to Effective Speaking .” If you don’t want to read, the Carnegie empire teaches courses promising to bring you out of your shell. They promise that you will speak better, listen better and generally be a better person. I don’t need a stinkin course. This is all stuff my Mom taught me while growing up!
I remember it well! Don’t mumble, stand up straight, look at me when I am speaking to you young man! And be polite. Yes, Memories. The courses go a bit further than be a better person. They urge you to be able to persuade others to DO WHAT YOU WANT! And that is why corporate America will pay for these courses because they want their employees to be extremely persuasive to get people to buy their junk.
The Chairman, Peter Handel, estimates that 8 Million people have taken the course. That could be the population of some countries . Some of the most impressive or at least famous alumni of the courses include Oral Reddenbacher know for his successful Pop Corn business , Warren Buffet ,one of the richest men in the world, and John Boehner, the current Speaker of the House.
The famous book was published in 1936 and is simply a collection of parables and listed principles. For example, “Become genuinely interested in other people.” The book is also a collection of simple business advice. For example, “Show respect for the other person’s opinions, Never say, “You’re wrong” One of the principles is simply, “Smile” All the advice is common sense the problem is that it is NOT common practice. Lets face it, people are mean.
At a Dale Carnegie class, everyone participates in group discussions. The course costs $2,000 dollars for 8 sessions and is pretty much the same course as Carnegie taught as a teacher 99 years ago. He started teaching his classes in 1912. He grew up poor on a farm in Missouri but managed to go to college. His story is that he turned to public speaking to win friends at college.
After college he became a traveling salesman, tried being an actor and failed. He succeeded in being a cheerleader of sorts for the depressed worker. By then hundreds of thousands signed up to hear him speak. To date he has sold 30 million copies of his book and is published in 80 different languages in 80 different countries.
The man who is enthusiastic will find the scales tipped in his favor.
And a man of second-rate ability, with enthusiasm, will outstrip a man of first-rate ability without enthusiasm.

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