Thursday, January 12, 2012

Still good advice

Recently, I was browsing through the iTunes store for a couple of audiobooks that would keep me awake on my annual dash to Florida.

Getting immersed in one of these makes the miles fly by. There's nothing like Noam Chomsky while cruising through the West Virginia coal country, or Stephen King while going wheel to wheel with giant semis on a dark, fogbound, Georgia interstate.

I happened to notice the list of most popular picks, and was surprised to find Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends And Influence People, a book first published in 1936, in 5th place.

This old book is doing better than the latest "hot" novels from Tom Clancy and Michael Connelly, which testifies to humans' unending quest for help in our relationships with others.

Although sections on writing effective business letters and improving marital satisfaction have been dropped over the years, and the language modernized a bit, Carnegie's advice still applies in the internet age.

For example, don't criticize, condemn, or complain. Give honest and sincere appreciation. Smile. Remember people's names. Be a good listener. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

We might think these are just common sense, but how many of us can say we don't need the occasional nudge to be better, more likeable people?

Not the 15,000,000 plus folks who have purchased this book since it was printed 75 years ago.

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