The shelves are filled with important works, vital works, left and right.
But which among them can truly make the knowledge and skills you acquire in the others useful?
I’m not talking about any religious texts, like the Bible. They are in a category all to themselves.
I am talking about How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
This book is not exactly an unknown. It has been in circulation since 1936, read by millions of people.
But it truly is one of the most important books ever written, for two reasons.
“The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success”
This is the subtitle on my copy of the book, and it is a bold one.
My first book, Power Words, which will be coming out in November 2021 (perhaps available as you’re reading this so head over to the bookstore at the top of the page, not-so-subtle wink-wink) does not contain such a subtitle no matter how much I think it should.
That is next-level boldness that I hope to have some day and is rarefied air.
To be be so bold, you need to have the material, the subject matter, and the backing to back it up, and Carnegie does.
You see, you can gain all the knowledge and all the skills in the world from other books, sources, etc. But if you do not have the skills to get people only your side, to make them feel truly valued and important, you’ll take those skills with you, as they say.
Actually, I believe the saying is “you can’t take it with you”, so if you don’t develop the interpersonal skills to bring your ideas and skills to the table, you might leave them completely unused and wasted.
Which is why this book is so important.
Even if you already believe the ability to get people on your side, win friends, and influence them (not manipulate them) is vitally important, the point doesn’t really get driven home until you start reading this book.
Which also means a book of this importance cannot be written by just anybody. It needs the right touch. No matter how well-intended, in many peoples’ hands, it would be in the wrong hands.
This book has the topic, the subject matter, the vital importance to all aspects of life, to be one of the most important books ever written. In order for it to truly become that book, it needs the right author and the right style.
Which brings me to the second reason this is one of the most important books ever written.
Dale Carnegie’s Storytelling Style
This is one of the best written “self-help” books, regardless of topic, that I have ever read. And I would assume that goes for most who have read it.
Carnegie introduces a topic each chapter, then uses the power of storytelling to illustrate that topic, which helps in a couple of ways.
First of all, it brings you into the book. You’re not just a spectator, having ideas told to you, which in many cases would be just fine. But in this case his storytelling that draws you in personally takes this subject to another level, giving it its strength to drive the concepts home in a way that works so well for this topic.
His storytelling is so effective, you begin to feel that you can see and picture the characters and the scene in your mind. It is clear as day. This serves to not only make the pages turn, but it also helps you in your own application of the concepts as you “see” real-life people in the real world applying them right before your very mind’s eye.
Once you “see” people doing it, you naturally see it in yourself as well.
“They did it. So can I.”
Once you see it in yourself, you can much more easily start to believe you can do the same and you start to become the person who applies these ideas, naturally and authentically.
Carnegie also wisely utilizes stories from many famous people from (now) long ago, written at a time when those stories were fresher, giving parts of his book an almost history-in-the-present type of feel that goes way beyond the pages of the history books and into the personal lives of some of history’s most well-known figures. You’ll read stories about personal interactions of Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and several from Abraham Lincoln.
Since they were written closer to the time they happened, from the perspective of those who were there, the feeling of being there in the present is much stronger, helping you the reader visualize and imagine these scenes with much more vivid clarity.
Beyond the ability to visualize and place yourself as an observer in these stories, you also get an inside look into how some of history’s most influential people were able to win people over and build friendships and relationships. In so doing, you see how these historically influential people did not just use their skills on a large scale, but rather how they used them on a personal level first, which eventually translated into wider-scale influence.
Everything starts closer to home.
Additionally, the fact that you see these historical figures utilizing the concepts laid out the book on a personal, micro level, gives you an idea as to the power you have in your own life.
Influence is not something relegated to only the powerful or those with “reach”. In fact, those who truly earn influence on a wider scale always have it on a personal level first. The stories Carnegie tells in this book will not only illustrate that, but show you that you have access to these skills and ideas as well.
This book needs to be read differently than others
What makes this book extra unique is its value in everyday life which, in my view, affects the way it ought to be read.
With many books, you’ll often sit down and read it through to its conclusion before you start another book. It usually makes sense to do so.
I’d recommend not doing so with this book.
Some successful people recommend reading this book once a year, and I think that’s a great idea.
However, I think a better idea is to read small bits of this book every day.
The topic is too important to leave by the wayside for any considerable amount of time.
The concepts you learn and apply in this book are used constantly, so long as you are in contact with other human beings.
Reading it yearly is wonderful and will likely result in you being far more liked, respected, and successful than the vast majority of people. But allowing any of these concepts to drift far from your mind in between readings could be dreadful compared to the benefits of reading it consistently.
I believe it is better to keep these concepts and their application close to mind consistently rather than to revisit them once a year and potentially discover the many ways in which you forgot them over the course of the previous year.
Which brings me back to the second reason this book is the most important book ever written – the storytelling.
The way this book is written in terms of the short stories told throughout makes it easy to read just a page or two a day and get tremendous value out of those couple of pages.
Doing so will keep your mind focused on these concepts daily, which is usually how often we interact with other people. It will also keep you from learning more concepts in one sitting than you can actually apply and commit to memory and practice. That will help prevent you from glossing over too many concepts and losing vital nuggets of wisdom throughout the process.
Of course, everybody needs to read this book at least once, so if you have not done so yet, I recommend you buy a copy now.
And if you have read this book before, it’s never a bad time to pick it up and start reading through it again. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain.
Including more friends.
And get a copy of my book, Power Words, the definitive guide to retaking control of your mind and rewiring it for the ultimate joy, success, and prosperity, where I delve more deeply into the concept of becoming what you believe. – COMING NOVEMBER 2021