August 6, 2005

Book #14

On the advice of Paul Graham E bought one of the old original copies of How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Mr. Graham was right, there were some unPC ideas that are no longer in the later editions. In particular, if you buy a more recent edition, you will miss out on the last two sections:

Letters that produce miraculous results (I would have taken this out too, seems like Mr. Carnegie gets quite a bit of the credit for the structure of annoying junk mail and spam!)


Seven Rules for Making Your Home Life Happier This section just cracked me up. Gender roles have changed quite a bit since 1936 and the advice, while built upon solid principles, is caged in outdated perspectives and a society that no longer exists.

One of my favorite quotes? "Every man knows that he can kiss his wife's eyes shut until she will be blind as a bat, and that he has only to give her a warm smack on the lips to make her dumb as an oyster."

My second favorite quote? "And she never knows whether to be mad at or disgusted with him, because he would rather fight with her and pay for it in having to eat bad meals, and have his money wasted, and buy her new frocks and limousines and pearls, than to take the trouble to flatter her a little and treat her the way she is begging to be treated."


Overall, for someone as socially clueless as I often am, this book was a good reminder of common sense: You will always have more success (not just professionally, but in all relationships) if you try to see things from the other person's perspective. I suspect that the world would be a better place if everyone read this book and took its lessons to heart. I could probably stand to re-read it every year or so to remind myself of my faults and how they can offend those I wish to endear. Preachy self-help language typically annoys me, so the fact that I could get through this book and found it reasonably helpful is probably as resounding of a review as any I would ever give a book that can be found on the self-help shelves.

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