How to Win Friends and Influence People
Since I am only reviewing leadership books of the Veterinary Economics suggested reading list to which I can give five stars, I think I will start each review the same way…I loved this book! Five stars!
And I did. How to Win Friends and Influence People was published in 1936 and I absolutely LOVE Dale Carnegie’s writing style. He wrote as if he were wearing a top hat. Unfortunately, I read a rereleased edition that Mrs. Carnegie published in 1981. She updated some of the stories and language. So every time I read a story in the first person that occurred after Mr. Carnegie passed away in 1955, I would do a double take – a sort of “I-just-saw-a-ghost” jump and yell. The lessons in this book are invaluable and timeless. I will buy it for sure if I can find an original edition.
Bunny Trails Several times, when Mr. Carnegie needed an especially pure or great example, he would turn to a story of a dog. What struck me was his emphasis on the effectiveness of positive reinforcement training (which he did not word in that way of course, as it is a relatively new term, though not as new of a concept as I had assumed.) When he wanted to emphasize how kind words are more effective than harsh words, he would remind the readers how much more quickly our pets learn when we train with kindness and rewards. I began to think it would be very fun to trace the history of animal training.
Of course, as far back as the Old Testament, Balaam was reprimanded by an angel of God Himself for mistreating his poor donkey. But I had until now assumed that “Positive Reinforcement Training” as a replacement for “Negative Reinforcement Training” had just tipped into favor in the last few decades. Apparently wise, successful people knew all along that kindness and compassion are the best way to treat anyone, whether human or animal, and just did not have a nifty name for the concept yet.
Also, of course, I would like to read the other books Dale Carnegie has written. He had an engaging writing style, and fun stories with solid morals. And while he was a great man in his own right, he also seems to have been one or two degrees from every famous person of his time, which also makes for a fun read.