The First Self-Help Book I Ever Read


Until today, he has published summaries of the 70 most effective business books, and the name James M. Russel is the author of Dale Carnegie‘s written: ” How to Win Friends and Influence People” – the eighth book my parents gave me during my high school years in 1936. I later read “How to Develop Self-Confidence&Influence People by Public Speaking ” and many more. My father would say that he benefited greatly from these books and gave examples: For example, for the proverb I learned manners from the ill-mannered,” he told me the following incident that happened to Carnegie: Back then, letters were dictated, and secretaries would type them up and complete with a fresh signature. However, important men, who were very busy, would add the note “dictated, but not read” to the bottom of the article because they had not found time to review and sign. When the young Carnegie, who thought this was a necessity of important men, added the same note to a letter he had written, the only reply he received was “Your bad manners are exceeded only by your bad manners.”

Dale Carnegie was a distinguished figure. The book he wrote can actually be considered the world’s first self help book. The subject is personal development, but it is a book that teaches how to make friends by convincing the other person because he was a skillful salesman. I later found that many of the books that popularized the topic of persuasion reached nowhere near Carnegie’s caliber. Or most were Carnegie’s copies or extended repetitions. Russell asks: What do Warren Buffett and Charles Manson have in common? What do a billionaire investor and a bloodthirsty gangster have in common? Their favorite book is How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Dale Carnegie was born the son of a poor farmer in Maryville, Missouri, in 1888. He was educated at State Teacher’s College. His first job after college was to give sales courses to farmers; later, he started selling for Armor & Company. He was appointed as the firm’s manager in the South Omaha region. He died of Hodgkin’s disease in 1955.

Dale Carnegie was the first person to discover the lack of persuasion and spent his life improving it. We can even say that he is the world’s first personal development specialist in sales.

Carnegie was giving lectures in eloquence in New York in the 1930s, just after the Great Depression. When Simon & Schuster, one of the biggest publishers of today, saw that the lectures were attracting attention, they asked Carnegie to publish his lecture notes, thinking that they would sell well. When he was offered to write a book, he read every book that explained human behavior and told the life stories of successful people. He even set up a team to summarize them. When the book was published, it was seen that the bookstore was not mistaken in its opinion. The book is thought to have sold 50 million copies to date, including pirated editions. The book has been updated by Carnegie’s heirs after his death, leaving its core content intact.               

As Carnegie begins his book, he says that in order to master the art of winning friends and influencing people, three basic principles of dealing with people must first be learned. “Use them whenever possible and even ask a friend, partner, or coworker to remind you if you violate one of these policies,” he says. The author, who recommends continuous practice, says that the practices should be noted daily and that the person should be aware of which method is used in what situations.  

Carnegie’s Three Fundamental Principles:

Principle 1: Do not criticize, condemn, or complain

The first and foremost basic principle of managing people is to be kind. For this, you should not criticize, condemn or complain about people. Instead of judging or belittling people, you should try to understand what they do and why. That way, you can be supportive, tolerant, and kind. People love and respond positively to those who do.  

Avoid expressing your negative emotions, and control yourself. If you want to change others, focus on yourself!

“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive!”

Principle 2: Give Honest & Sincere Appreciation

Understand people’s needs and give them what they want. People have various requests. The most common desires are health and safety, food, sleep, money and products and services that money can buy, sexual satisfaction, happiness with children, and a sense of importance.

The most important and most difficult is the desire to feel important, although others are fulfilled in some way or another. It is the desire to feel important that encourages individuals to dress in the latest fashion, drive the latest model cars, and be successful.

The way to understand a person’s core character is to know what triggers what makes them feel important. Only after learning this can you make that person feel important. Of course, it is necessary to avoid saying or doing anything that will harm this feeling.

When giving feedback to a staff member, it is necessary to use appreciation rather than criticism to motivate him. Criticism of a supervisor is very effective in destroying a person’s motivation. Praise the person in every way possible and do not try to find fault with him. But also avoid insincere compliments. People are not stupid, and they understand insincerity. Instead, appreciate others honestly and sincerely.

‘Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.’

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

If you want to increase your impact on other people, discover what they want to achieve and help them achieve it. Doing so helps you understand their point of view and examine the situation from theirs as well.

The need to be appreciated is one of the most basic of human needs.’

Dale Carnegie gives the following advice in the second part.

Six Ways to Get People to Like You

Rule One: Become genuinely interested in other people.

Because people see you as a representative of your organization as a manager, you can deepen your employees’ commitment to your company by showing genuine interest.

Rule Two: Smile.

Smiling is important because actions are more effective than words, and a smile helps show people that you like them. It shows that you are happy to see them and that you want to be friends. Of course, you have to be sincere in all this.

Rule Three: Learn people’s names!

When you meet someone for the first time, find out about that person’s name, family, job, or interests. Visualize this information as a picture in your mind. Then, when you see that person again, it is impossible not to remember them. It’s important to remember names because people care a lot about their names. Otherwise, would so many people have schools, hospitals, libraries be built and named after themselves? For example Dale Carnegie Institute.

Rule Four: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Paying special attention to the person speaking to you is much more important than looking around to see who else is around. If a customer comes to complain, simply listening carefully can help dissipate that customer’s anger. It can even eliminate the person’s complaints. 

Rule Five: Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.

Speaking in a way that interests others, talking about their hobbies and passions makes the difference. Theodore Roosevelt was a master of this skill. Because he was knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects, when he was going to meet with an important statesman, he would research that person’s interests. This habit allowed Roosevelt to surprise people with the information in his repertoire. Roosevelt knew that the way to a person’s heart was to talk about the things they value most.

Rule Six: Make others feel important –and do it sincerely.

Find a friendly way to make others feel important. For example, ask yourself honestly what qualities in people you can admire. Psychologist William James used to say that the deepest passion in human nature is the desire to be appreciated.

By showing that you appreciate others, you help them feel important. However, you need to be sincere when showing your gratitude so that compliments are not seen as insincere compliments.

In the third chapter, Dale Carnegie talks about 12 persuasion techniques under the heading “How to Get People to Agree with You”:

Technique 1: Disagreements only put others on the defensive, and a person who feels lost in a conflict also loses morale. The rule is this: you can’t win when you enter an argument. Even if you win, you lose. Even if you are right, it is not possible to change the opinions of others; being right does not change anything. Therefore, avoid getting into an argument. Understand the other person’s point of view, accept disagreements positively, and control yourself.

‘The only way to win an argument is to avoid it.’

Technique 2: Respect other people’s opinions. Don’t make others think you disagree with them with careless words, looks, intonation, or gestures. When you challenge other people’s opinions, you don’t make them change their minds, and you just motivate them to respond. You may even gain enemies.

‘When teaching someone something, do not pretend to be teaching, assume that you have forgotten, not that you do not know.’

Technique 3: Admit that you’re wrong. If you make a mistake, admit it immediately. Making such a confession is especially helpful when others think you’re wrong. You tolerate self-criticism more easily. Other people are more likely to be forgiving and supportive when you admit your mistake. Otherwise, they will be more critical and angry with you.

Technique 4: Even if you’re angry, start the conversation amicably. You can’t win over someone who feels negative towards you. But by calming that feeling, you can begin to bring that person into your perspective.

Technique 5: Use the Socratic Method. Have the other person say “yes” at the beginning. Start by talking about things you both agree on. Once you get a “no” answer, you run into a lot of hurdles to overcome because the argumentative person wants to stay consistent. That’s why it’s helpful to start with “yes” questions or an agreement statement. Once the person makes a habit of saying “yes,” you can ask the harder questions.  

Technique 6: When dealing with complaints, let your customers do the talking. Let them say everything they want to say. The more you listen, the more you will learn about their work and problems and the better position you will be to help. Listen patiently with an open mind, be sincere, and encourage your clients to fully express their concerns and ideas.

Let the other person talk more and feel superior.

Technique 7: It is important to aim for collaboration. Let the other person feel responsible for generating ideas. Remember that people believe in their own recommendations. Therefore, encourage suggestions to come from them. You just ask and listen patiently. 

Technique 8: See things from the other person’s perspective. Put yourself in his shoes, empathize so you can better understand what he wants and needs. This is especially useful if you are trying to sell someone a product or service. Thus, you can learn the motivation of the person in front of you.

Technique 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. In this way, you show that you understand and empathize, even if you disagree or would do something different. “I don’t blame you at all for feeling that way. I would certainly feel that way if I were you.” These words open any lock.

Every human being craves understanding and attention.

Technique 10: People often have two reasons for doing things: the real reason and the reason that sounds good. People are inherently idealistic and think they are acting in good faith. So by being positive about it, you will be more fortunate in changing them. ‘Appeal to the nobler motives.’

Technique 11: Express your ideas by dramatizing, narrating, and animating; this is done in movies and on television – why not by you? Use strong illustrations to convey your ideas. This approach works because simply telling the truth is not enough.

Technique 12: If nothing works, protest! This technique works because successful people love the chance to prove themselves. For example, industrialist Charles Schwab once drew a large 6 on the floor of a mill to note how many batches of goods the day shift workers produced. The next day, when the night shift workers arrived, they drew a 7 on the floor to show that they had performed even better. This motivated the day shift workers to work even harder and write 10 on the floor when they went to work. By expressing what he wanted, Schwab encouraged his employees to work more productively and more diligently. This tactic has been effective in asking his employees for better jobs. 

Money neither brings people together nor keeps them together.

Leaders say ’Carnegie, would apply the following nine important principles to motivate people without hurting or offending them:  

If you need to discuss a flaw or concern with someone, start with sincere praise and honest appreciation.

If someone makes a mistake, indirectly raise awareness of their mistake.

Identify your own faults before condemning anyone else.

Instead of “directly ordering” someone, “What do you think of that?” Ask questions like Have employees suggest their own ideas.

Don’t blame anyone for their mistake.

Appreciate even the smallest improvement, and be sincere and generous in your compliments.

Assign a quality to the person next to you.

Encourage employees and make it easy for them to correct their mistakes.

Get people to willingly do what you want.

While I remembered all this again, my father’s saying, “Bendeniz Sabri”, your servant Sabri as soon as he answered his phone came to mind. When I was little, I used to think that my first name was Bendeniz, but it turned out to mean here, ‘I am at your service.’ Of course, it is also an act of courage to say this every time you answer without knowing who is on the other end of the phone. Similarly, if anyone has a grudge against me or wherever there is a problem, I first go to him directly and deal with it. In fact, once upon hearing a Prosecutor visiting I said, ‘if you have anything to ask me, I’m here.’

Coming to this day, you might think that Carnegie’s words are “plain” advice. However, there are still many popular books of persuasion and communication, many of which are shallow and do not go beyond Carnegie. Today, the rules of ‘empathy, arousing the interest of the other, avoiding excessive criticism, criticize yourself” are important elements that vary in degrees according to culture and time. Second, Carnegie’s advice is not to win real friends but to manipulate people into selling or employing them, right? It’s as if Carnegie is drawing a path that proposes to achieve goals through a little flattery, based on the fact that the other person focuses only on himself. Although he is talking about sincerity here, there is no doubt that the tactics are manipulative. The value of the book still lies in the details. For example, don’t give orders, ask questions, listen and convince people by giving good examples, and the ways of influencing the other are still valid today. Today, there are undoubtedly many studies and valuable books that explain how human behavior will change, how to communicate better, how to motivate people and how to live happily together. Yet, I still think Carnegie is the first book one should read.  

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