Monday, 25 February 2008

How To Win Friends And Influence People

To keep my "How To" theme fresh and add a little twist, various blogs will be named after famous (relevant) "How To" examples and I will tie in the actual example to the blog!

This particular week's title is named after the bestselling "first and best book to lead you to success", How To Win Friends & Influence People! Bear with me as I attempt to explain its link with my Canadian life so far.

For a start, the book itself has only become known to me in the last two months and so it can be argued that everything I know about it is relevant to my blog. Secondly, I struggle to think of a more important task over the last two months that I have undertaken than making new friends to settle in well. Without new bonds and attractions, I would be one lonely guy in the middle of an unknown city!

The book became known to me when I found it lying around in the Bowen's house. I had never heard of it but the front cover assured me that it was old ("updated FOR the 80's") and popular ("over 15 million sold" - before the 80s!). After a quick flick through I discovered it to be about personality traits and learning good social habits that appeared to be as important now as they would've been in 1936. Things like how to criticise without offending or what attributes a leader should have. After all, leaders have to influence people more often than anyone - or else they are lousy leaders.

This week I came across the book again whilst online (wasting time) on Facebook. Having recently taken up reading again, with an ever growing list of recommended classics and bestsellers that I "have to read!", I decided to add a book application so that I could display my reads (past, present & future reads) and rate them out of 10 for direct comparison.

Among the "classics" listed was "How To Win Friends and Influence People" so I became intrigued again and decided that I'd read it when I had finished reading "Brave New World" and "Life of Pi", and listening to "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and "The Audacity of Hope". After that I plan to read "The Kite Runner", "Catcher in the Rye" and "Lord of the Flies".

If anyone wants to rate, read or recommend me more books then I'd be glad to hear from you. Whilst working I do have an awful lot of time on breaks and in the truck that would otherwise be filled with Sal-chat.

Sal-chat (for anyone who hasn't met Sally, my boss) includes any one of her various Sal-isms or phrases. Examples include "A word to the wise" (which is used whenever she says ANYTHING!), Holy Toledo(!!) and "literally" even when the thing she has just said is clearly metaphoric!

For a while, in moderation, Sal-chat is hilarious. She can brighten my day with various certain expressions repeated until kingdom come occasionally, anytime! However, I fear that one more "you'll be so surprised, you'll jump outta your skin...literally" may cause my "Grammar Nazi" brain to overheat and I may well collapse/explode.

Wanting a better grasp on grammar, spelling and vocabulary is another cited reason for my decision to read/listen to books; favouring learning (possibly a new language soon too!) over music over and over and over again!

For those of you hoping to learn something valuable from this blog (since I did promise a learning experience from these blogs when I began them), I have included some useful proverbial tips for you (including one from Dale Carnegie's book!) that can be used in your everyday lives:

  • Never remove a fly from a friends forehead with a hatchet!
  • -Indian Proverb
  • Talk about your own mistakes when critising other people
  • -Dale Carnegie
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • -Stephen Covey

    Or in plain English:

  • Don't overreact,

  • Use humility when you criticise,

  • Listen before you talk.

  • Make the kind of friends who don't mind photos like this being taken of them!

    I hope that these guidelines fare you well. For more information I recommend both "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens" (simplified version of "...Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey's son) and "How to Win Friends and Influence People", depending on your age. Both give useful tips towards leadership and positive outlooks.


    Anna Jagric said...

    That book is on my list of things I want on Amazon already lol
    It was recommended to me aaages ago as a classic!

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