The term “life” is pretty much all-encompassing.
When I talk about living “life” in charge, that covers everything from your exercise habits, to financial planning, to eating choices, to career planning, and everything in between.
Many segments of your life are solitary — most people have no idea whether or not you take a fiber supplement. They also probably don’t care.
But there are a whole lot of areas in life that overlap with other people — and like it or not, you need to know how to work with them.
I just finished reading Dale Carnegie’s famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and I am very glad that I did. It had been on my “to read” list for a number of years, and I finally was able to cross it off.
I was eager to get a lot of useful pointers and perspectives on how to interact with people in different circumstances, and I was not disappointed.
The book starts by tackling a few fundamental techniques in handling people, and follows up on that with ways to make people like you. It then moves forward into the realm of influence, giving tips for winning people to your way of thinking (without making them resent you).
If you have any leadership aspirations, this book is a reference you’ll want to keep on your shelf for a long time. I know I plan to hang on to my copy and re-read it in the future.
I actually read each chapter twice before moving on to the next one. I also underlined key things that I want to remember because there are so many nuggets of wisdom.
One of the great things about this book is that it’s so simple. The techniques it describes are not complicated at all — the only requirement to use them is that you have a sincere shift in the way you approach people. Carnegie makes it clear that this book is not about manipulating others — it’s about good will and bringing out the best in both others and yourself.
Some of the topics may seem like common sense, and you may even be familiar with a few. But Carnegie gives such a practical treatment of these simple approaches that it’s hard not to come away with a more profound grasp of the power of a few simple words.
One of the marks of a person living life in charge is that they are constantly seeking to improve themselves. They are always learning and always seeking new experiences. They never assume that they know everything, but what they do know, they put to good use.
If that’s you, I promise you will appreciate this book. Everyone needs to interact with people in some way — whether it’s negotiating with your mechanic or asking for a raise. No man is an island, after all.
People skills can always be improved and refined, even if you think you have a good handle on things. As I mentioned earlier, there were a few approaches in the book that come naturally to me, but now I have words to express them. Now I can better articulate why I’m inclined to do things a certain way. And that in itself is hugely important, in my opinion.
So if you haven’t figure it out yet, I highly recommend that you go buy a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. It’s a classic for a reason — it’s tried and true and has stood the test of time.
Do yourself a favor and read it once (or twice), then share a comment about how you used one of the techniques from the book in your own life!