Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




diplomacy

I'm currently reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, having seen it recommended on this forum.
I've read lots of self-help books but had overlooked this one, maybe because of something about the title. But it seems to me, so far, that this book is more profound and helpful than many others, since it highlights a small number of fundamental facts about human nature.
The central facts of human nature are, more or less: each of us deeply desires attention and appreciation; each of us pays far more attention to our own selves than we do to others; we all strive to see ourselves as kind, considerate, intelligent, trustworthy, etc., and will defend that image with all our strength, however inaccurate it may be.
The trick to getting along with others, and having a more pleasant and successful life, is to refrain from attacking other people's egos and refraining from defending your own. This must be extremely hard at times, because it goes against our basic instincts and emotions. For example, even if you are absolutely sure you are right, you have to admit that you may be wrong. Emotion and instinct, not logic, are the keys to human relations.
I'm not saying I never heard of or thought of any of this before. But I'm thinking about it a lot right now, and I'm going to try it out and see what happens (I'm having trouble getting along with certain cantankerous individuals).
Has anyone read the book and experimented with the techniques?
I usually think logic is more important than anything else. Looking back, I can see times when I might have gotten more recognition and appreciation if I had considered that logic is not enough.

PC
Sunday, January 26, 2003

Mr. Carnegie's book 'How to Stop Worrying and Start Living' has helped me out a great deal.  The book you mention, 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' has also helped me to deal with people.

Nameless In USA
Sunday, January 26, 2003

Think of the best bosses you've had, the most pleasant aquaintances, even some folks you've met briefly at a meeting or party.  When you meet with certain folks, you nearly always feel better.  This probably comes naturally to a few folks, but it's something you can learn if you really want to.

My very best boss, Ed, was like that. He readily admitted to a constant study of how to get along with people and he certainly did.  He could ream you a new one and make you feel great at the same time.

A good anecdote: Ed had just taken over a new postion and a new group of systems folks.  Shortly, he met with another group about a contentious and long standing problem.  Right after the meeting I ran into one of my friends from the other group who attended that meeting.  He said, "Ed was great, We mad more progress that we have in 2 years." Then I talked with Ed who said, "I was just terrible, I made everybody mad, they are going to hate me."  Ed never stopped trying.

tk
Sunday, January 26, 2003

>>> This probably comes naturally to a few folks, but it's something you can learn if you really want to. <<<

Unfortunately, statements like this are impossible to validate and can lead to circular reasoning and a blame the victim attitude.

Understanding people and being able to interact well are valuable skills.  Most people can probably improve their abilities with time, but individual talent varies so widely that some people will spend their entire life and not become as good as others might be by the time they are adults with no effort.

mackinac
Monday, January 27, 2003

I think that getting out of harmony with your social environment can become a self-perpetuating cycle. I think certain fundamental truths of human nature can break a destructive cycle.
The people who seem to have natural social abilities may have never fallen into a destructive cycle, or else learned early on how to get out of them quickly.
I didn't feel as respected at work as I would like to feel, and that's one reason I read the book. I thought I had to become more competitive and assertive, but that isn't my nature. After reading the book, and agreeing with some of the basic premises, I felt things starting to fall into place. I decided not to worry about proving that I'm as good as someone else -- we are all different and simple comparisons are not possible. I decided to be extra careful of other people's egos -- making others feel smart is a good way to get them to see me as smart. It's paradoxical, like most of human psychology.
Today went very well, so I'm going to keep on trying this.

PC
Monday, January 27, 2003

Agree mackinac, some folks seem born with charisma and charm, most folks not.

But most folks can get better at it if they want.  Long hours in front of a computer isn't a great builder of the social graces.

tk
Tuesday, January 28, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home