I remember it was the end of my High school days when a seed of curiosity started germinating in my brain. It was to explore the world, the people, the principles, the life, the existence, the reason for my existence and many more of such weird ideas.
At that time, Android phones were rare in Pakistan, I had no access to a personal Laptop and the PC was shared, the only device I could use with comfort was a Nokia Symbian series phone to explore the internet (that was also a luxury for me xD). I started searching on the internet for anything that could quench my thirst and help in the germination of that seed of curiosity. - an effort towards self-actualization.
After scrolling hundreds of pages, reading titles of many books and changing the search keywords, I was able to find and download some books that clicked my taste.
One of them was Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people”. The day I read it, it really helped in my paradigm shift, it helped me in being a better Human being but what I realized after some time was that I became more of a nice person - an excess of anything is dangerous, all my words were sugar-coated; exactly thinking from the other person’s perspective and ignoring my self.
I later realized that self-ignorance is what was the worst thing I’d done. There is nothing wrong in the philosophy itself, the thing is that we should not forget ourselves when thinking about the others. Criticism is condemned by Carnegie, I agree on that but what about a situation where it is mandatory, Dale Carnegie will not tell you this. Instead, he’ll tell you the ways to manipulate the things, manipulate the thinkings, manipulate the sincerity and deceive ourselves and the others. I know human behaviour can be best understood by Carnegie’s philosophy, but it’s not the only way to understand and make paradigms. No leader become great by just appreciating, sugar coating and manipulation. They actually criticize what is wrong. That’s what religions teach us as well.
If I can’t tell someone their insecurities, their wrongdoings and the wardrobe malfunctions just to not make them feel bad, they will be felt bad ultimately by other people, they’ll think and they’ll realize that I was just playing sincerity cards with them.
I don’t deny the facts he’s mentioned, his book is not outdated and will never be. He is a master in understanding people but things are not acceptable when it comes to using his philosophy to manipulate.
Not all of us are salespeople, neither professional negotiators, we don’t need to win everyone and at least not by flattery, we can also win by telling about ourselves not just by listening to their perspective.
Be yourself, and be genuine. Be honest, be kind, and understanding to others. If a book teaches you all these, accept that. If a book teaches some of these things, accept that as well. If a book teaches you not to be yourself or that your idea is not worth it, leave that book in the library shelf and find another.
Nowadays, The trend is shifting from inspiration to motivation which is destructive in a sense. If you are trying to tell me that I can cross the sea by swimming, then don’t just motivate me by telling the story of a guy who crushed the mountains and conquered the seas, Instead, tell me by your case study. Inspire me and I’ll be your follower.
Dale Carnegie’s other books are great as well. I have not any critical opinion about them. His book “How to stop worrying and start living” is one of the best books I have ever read. I don’t have any issue with the content of “How to win friends and influence people”. The problem arises when personality ethics overcome character.
I hope that you find a good book that can help you change your character instead of just changing your personality. I hope that more people stop judging others by their personalities, I hope one day the pattern of thinking will be changed, I hope one day people will live in their freedom, I hope one day you will be that person, these personality specialists prepare you to confront.