How to Win Friends & Influence People is a book written for people to succeed in business. It is a handbook to use when handling people and situations. It was written in 1936 and thus uses quite a lot of old examples, but the book isn’t dated at all and still relevant today. This book is not a scientific book. It sometimes uses some psychological study results but mostly leans on examples of highly effective people. Is it a book worth reading?
The answer to that question is a sound yes. It is not based on scientific results but on human understanding. He uses a lot of anecdotes of his life and other more famous people like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. It does also not claim to be a scientifically based books, so those who don’t trust these kinds of pseudo-scientific books would want to clear out. But to those I say: do not! The book is pretty honest in its way of giving information. It follows its own rules quite strictly. Carnegie merely suggests and never says you should. He mostly just gives other ways of approaching a situation which has helped very successful people, and just might work for you.
How to Win Friends is quite a short book, packing a lot of punch. Most of the rules play on each other and not all of the rules are needed. Some could have been clipped together or be left out completely. But repetition is never bad and because of this the rules keep sticking. Carnegie suggests reading the book multiple times and implementing the rules into your life if you feel like it. This is something I would recommend doing as well. Self-help books are books you should try to implement in your life, try them out and see if they have improved your life in a way (I mean you should do this with every book, but self-help books are books written to do so). Try out the rules and see if they work for you.
All in all, this is a book that tries to give you a right mindset and succeeds in bringing it to the front. Instead of criticizing people who are less experienced than you, ask yourself how you were doing on that level. Instead of saying someone or something is wrong, try to place yourself into their shoes and evaluate their opinion. Instead of commanding people, try asking people to do something. These are some of the things the book tries to point out and these are all admirable qualities to have. The book is a book about self-reflection and understanding. Two virtues the true philosopher gladly tries to put time and energy in.
I would give this book a second read, but most of all it’s a book I would grab to, to read just a chapter. Just to remind me that compassion and understanding can bring you a long way and it’s something all philosophers should be happy to have.