In 1912, the same year the Titanic sank, a young teacher began offering courses in human relations and communications at the YMCA in New York City. His approach was to teach and demonstrate everyday skills rather than formal speech tips that did not translate into the real world of communication. Over time, Dale Carnegie revised and improved his curriculum. A significant part of his content can be found in How to Win Friends and Influence People. This is an essential book to read and reread many times.
The book is comprised of 30 principles organized into four sections: Fundamental techniques for handling people, Six ways to make people like you, How to win people to your way of thinking, and Changing people effectively as a leader. Each principle is illustrated with numerous stories, either experienced personally by Dale Carnegie or based on his extensive study of historical figures. Though some stories are dated, the principles are timeless and will improve how you communicate with others.
The first nine principles are:
- Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener.
- Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
- Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.