Business Books & Co.
A monthly in-depth discussion of a popular business book.
10 months ago

[S4E1] How to Win Friends and Influence People

The classic self-help book by Dale Carnegie.

Transcript
David Kopec

Welcome to Business Books and Company. Every month we read great business books and explore how they can help us navigate our careers. Read along with us so you can become a stronger leader within your company or more adept entrepreneur. We're so excited to have everyone back for season four. This month we read how to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. First published in the 1930s, how to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the most popular selfhelp books of all time. Carnegie's suggestions for how to achieve the title's objective are largely based on anecdotal wisdom. But the anecdotes are numerous and often hard to argue with. While some of the advice is old fashioned and much of it is common sense, the vast majority of the outlaid principles have stood the test of time. But before we get into this classic book, let's introduce ourselves.

David Short

Hi, I'm David Short. I'm a product manager.

Kevin Hudak

Hi, I'm Kevin Hoodak and I'm Chief research officer at a commercial real estate research and advisory services firm.

David Kopec

And I'm David Copack. I'm an associate professor of computer science at a teaching college. Okay, so how to Win Friends and Influence People was written by Dale Carnegie in the 1930s. But who is this guy? Who's dale Carnegie.

David Short

Dale Carnegie was an American writer, lecturer, and self improvement speaker and entrepreneur. He was born on a farm in Maryville, Missouri in 1888. In high school, he took up speech and debate, ultimately becoming very successful in getting his first experience coaching others on public speaking through debate. And then after graduating from State Teachers College in Missouri in 19 eight, his first job was selling correspondence courses to ranchers and then subsequently selling bacon, soap and lard for the Armor Company out of Nebraska. He left sales and went to acting school in New York and actually did some traveling performances before returning to New York, where he started hosting his first classes in public speaking at the YMCA. These classes proved incredibly popular and he ultimately toured and scaled those lectures to actually selling a sold out Carnegie Hall performance. Four years after he first started speaking at the YMCA, he actually ultimately changed the spelling of his name to associate himself directly with the steel magnate. I'm not going to go through the letters, but Carnegie was spelled differently beforehand and he translated the lessons from his classes into many books, including this bestseller. He ultimately died of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1955 at his home in Forest Hills, New York.

David Kopec

Thanks for that, David. Very interesting life story and some of it's recounted actually, in the intro to the book. So how did Carnegie develop this book prior to the book, he was presenting these ideas, as you mentioned. And how did that go from him presenting them and how he was presenting them into a book form?

Kevin Hudak

Yeah. So as Dave already mentioned, Carnegie was quite a Renaissance man. He created a series of these popular Public Speaking and Leadership classes. And eventually Simon and Schuster approached him about turning one of his 14 week classes on Public Speaking and leadership into a book. And at this point, Carnegie already had started printing note cards. He had leaflets and handouts and workbooks totaling dozens or hundreds of pages that he was already giving to his students. And the funny short story is that at first Carnegie didn't want to consider a book. But ultimately Simon and Schuster had a stenographer at one of his classes. They wrote up the full program, they presented it to Carnegie and he agreed to edit and revise it for publication. That's the short story, the longer story, as Carnegie presents it. Like you said COPEC in the beginning of the book. How this course, ultimately how his book was written, is that at that point, no such, quote, self help book industry existed at that time. So he spent years in advance of the publication of this book in 1936, combing newspaper columns, magazine articles and writings from philosophers new and old. He even at one point hired a research assistant who dug into libraries across the country for a year and a half. He also scored some interviews with some of the Luminaries of his time ranging from Marconi and Edison to FDR Clark Gable to Helen Keller in education. And so ultimately, after 15 years of research doing these classes and presentations and other writing, that all went into this book that we've been reading for this episode, right?

David Kopec

So this was really a very serious endeavor. This is a book that was based on a lifetime of experience and research. It wasn't just something that he came up with out of his head one day. How is the book structured? How does he present these ideas? How does he chunk them out?

David Short

So he broke it into four core sections fundamental Techniques in Handling People. Six ways to make people like you win people to your way of thinking and be a leader. And then within each of those sections, he has a series of core principles that start the book. And then he tells a lot of anecdotes, he provides a lot of quotes from those many years of research that Kevin just talked about. And he really just hammers these points home over and over again.

David Kopec

And now the book has actually had multiple different editions. So those four sections that David mentioned are in all of the editions. But I, for example, read an old edition from the 1930s and it had two additional sections. One about writing effective business letters and another about how to have a good marriage. So we won't go into those additional sections. We'll go into the four core sections that all the different editions have. And for the rest of the episode, I thought the way we could do that is discuss the specific principles presented in each section by Carnegie and talk about whether we agree that they're a good advice and how they've kind of applied in our own lives. So let's start with the first section, the most fundamental section called Fundamental Techniques in Handling People. And the first principle in that section is don't Criticize, Condemn, or complain. And just to be clear about how this is presented in the book, each of these principles is provided several pages of expository and anecdotes that highlights why it's a good principle. And then the principles are summarized at the end of each section. So, okay, for the two of you, how has don't Criticize, Condemn, or complain been a useful technique for you in handling people?

David Short

Dave, we won't go through it over and over again, but for my edition, it's actually if you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. So it's funny how even the chapters, while they cover the same thing, don't necessarily use the exact same terminology. But I thought it was a really good initial intro. Again, you kind of said it from the very start. It's kind of common sense wisdom that people don't react well to criticism. And so rather than going after someone, start with some kind of positive information. Don't look to criticize people, instead look to give compliments and things like that. It's just very straightforward. People don't like hearing direct criticism.

Kevin Hudak

And a short point too. And also with the bees nest analogy, what he's really telling us here is that we have to learn how to get the honey without the sting, right? And that the resentment that your criticism or your judgment creates can actually demoralize or even paralyze your peers, your coworkers, prospective customers, even family members. I thought one interesting anecdote he gave was about President Lincoln. And early in his life he was really filled with ridicule for others and was quick to judgment. But he once wrote an insulting letter to a peer who then challenged him to a duel. And while the duel did not happen, that was when Honest Abe realized how fruitless kicking the bee's nest could really be. And one of the things that Carnegie brings up here is examples of famous historical figures writing letters that had their true feelings as negative as they can be, but then throwing them away. And I for one can very shamelessly admit that I have written some scathing emails and correspondence to folks to get my feelings out, only to then reflect and say, this is probably a bad idea. I now have relieved some of that tension and I threw that right into my computer recycling bin. My email account trash.

David Kopec

Now, the principle is called don't Criticize, Condemn, or Complain in my edition. But those are actually three fairly different things. Criticize and condemn are pretty similar, but complain is more just like, I'm upset about this thing, but it's not specific to being part of an argument or something like that. So I would actually summarize all three of them together as don't be negative. Is that fair? And I think that's a theme of kind of the whole book.

David Short

Yeah, absolutely. And to be honest, this is the one kind of negative I'm going to give towards it. It does feel a little bit like in general, I actually really enjoyed the book. I don't want to be negative. I'm going to ignore the advice of this chapter. I think this idea of just always be positive is like the one thing that I feel like is maybe a little bit outdated from this. I think it's true, I think it's accurate that you're not going to win friends and influence people through negativity. But I do think this idea that you should just always put a smile on your face and all, it's just like sometimes things are not great and it's okay. I think people should be okay with acknowledging negativity at certain points. I think going after someone and things like that are not great. But it is the one part of this that I did feel like is a little bit I don't know, from my perspective, over the top.

David Kopec

I mean, being negative is actually an important part of certain business cultures. We read the book radical Candor. I think that was season two. We read the book. No rules.

David Short

Rules.

David Kopec

I think also in season two. And being able to give people criticism is actually super important for many, many businesses to be effective. And so, obviously, I think that these are general principles and you can't just take them at face value for every situation.

Kevin Hudak

And I actually think that it was almost not a mistake to put this principle first and foremost, but perhaps because a lot of what Carnegie goes on to explain in later principles, which we will be getting onto next. Actually helps you cushion potential criticism more constructively and win those friends and influence your peers and coworkers before you come to the point of outright criticism and negativity. So I thought the sequencing was just a little weird here.

David Kopec

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, let's go to the next principle. Principle two, give honest and sincere appreciation. How is that applied in your lives? What did you think about this principle?

Kevin Hudak

Yeah, I thought that Carmel, with a list of what humans crave, wants this idea that and he gave examples of Andrew Carnegie praising his colleagues as much in public as in private, being genuine in that appreciation. He used this quote that Charles Schwab was, quote, hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. He even gave one example of John D. Rockefeller saying that giving one of his colleagues a fund to investing a million dollars with a bad buy in South America. But Rockefeller came back and said it was splendid, he had been able to save 60% of the money he invested and that they don't always do that well upstairs.

David Short

Yeah. Honestly, I'm going to take a total 180 from what I just said, I think this was the single best piece of advice I got in the entire book. This whole idea that honest and sincere appreciation, I think it's like, I don't know, I found it incredibly powerful in this that you don't want to flatter people. That is the thing that I kind of thought this book was maybe going to be about. And this was the part of the book that really pulled me in and made me feel better about finishing the rest of it. That it's not about just smiling and saying what's going to make people happy. It's instead about actually thinking about why you appreciate this person and giving specific reasons that relate to the work that they've actually done. And I might be misremembering which section we go into, those detail that might have come a little bit later, but that whole concept of sincere appreciation, I think, is incredibly important. And obviously it's something again, it's a little bit obvious or whatever, but it made this book more meaningful to me because I was thinking this was going to be about ways to trick people into liking you or whatever. And this idea that you should really be truly observing that person, truly finding what you do appreciate about them, and giving them a sincere compliment that's specific to what they did well, and giving them details about what they did that was specifically better than what others might be doing. I found that to be, like, very good advice.

David Kopec

Yeah.

Kevin Hudak

In short, when it comes down to it, at points in the book, Carnegie even says that these powers can be used for ill, but that he encourages us to be as authentic and genuine in deploying some of these. I came away from this book thinking that he was very much a humanist and that he believed by deploying some of these skills and muscle memory, you can enrich the subject of your conversation. You can enrich yourself and have a more rewarding life.

David Kopec

I agree that this kind of idea of sincere compliments versus insincere compliments was one of the most powerful things in the book. I've noticed today that people are so responsive to compliments because there's so much negativity in the world. I think social media has made our world so negative. And when you are actually just sincerely complimenting somebody, it almost like takes them aback. Today, at least, that's been my experience in my life. Okay, great. The next principle, and the last principle and the fundamental techniques for handling people is principle three arousing the other person an eager want. Let's first explain what that means. What does it mean to arouse in somebody an eager want?

Kevin Hudak

So when it comes down to it, it sounds like where Carnegie is going with this is that influencing others is all about talking in the language of their wants and needs and expectations. This is almost like consultative selling, or as it's described these days, right, identifying someone's pain points or their needs and framing your offer in them. I almost felt like Carnegie was getting a little bit into boss territory from never split the difference that we handled in season three with one example of a negotiation where Carnegie was talking to a hotel manager over a venue for his class tour. And he started that negotiation by saying, I know that one large event that you can get, whether a wedding or a gala, might be more profitable than my 14 sessions that I might have in that same room. He leveled with him. He acknowledged the weakness in his own offer, but then Carnegie reframed it in the context of all the luminaries and executives who would be attending his events, his classes, seeing the hotel. Right. Those same folks might refer the hotel or that venue for other events, business. So he led with the weakest points of his argument, or he led with the weakness in his offer. And I thought that was extremely important, acknowledging first and arousing in the other person what they want, what their needs may be. And I actually thought that he was including some letters in this section which are very much applicable to the digital age when it comes to email etiquette, framing up your content in email. One thing he mentioned was when you're writing a letter to a potential client, to a customer, you're going to start typically with your features, your benefits, your problems. Right? But what Carnegie says is, who cares about what your company desires? You need to catch their attention and focus by talking about what's in it for them.

David Kopec

Okay, great. Let's go on to the next section. It's called Six ways to make people like you. Sometimes some of these principles might sound a little bit repetitive as we go into each section versus some of the ones that were in the previous section, but they each have their own little spin. The first principle in this section is become genuinely interested in other people. And this kind of reminds me of Trillion Dollar Coach, which we read all the way back in season one, Bill Campbell, he was saying that in order to be a good manager of people, you need to like people and actually be interested in people. And this kind of reminded me of that. But how do the two of you feel about become genuinely interested in other people?

David Short

I think this does sort of tag on the piece that I was talking about previously. I think, again, this is like an echo of that fundamentally the reason that other people are going to be interested in being friends with you is not because you seem really interesting, it is probably because you seem to show genuine interest in them. And so it is about actually listening, actually trying to understand what is going about with that person. And then that kind of feeds into that ability to give the honest and sincere appreciation. But before you can do any of that, you do have to truly be listening. And that's again, another thing we hear over and over again is that most people care a little bit more about themselves than they do about others. And so you just genuinely showing that you are interested, you are listening, you are actually trying to understand what they're saying and you're not just waiting for your own turn to speak is something that's going to make them enjoy spending time with you and want to do more of it.

Kevin Hudak

And I'd say too, to add to short's point, this of all of the principles I believe requires the most training and muscle memory. And to COPEC's point earlier, there is some redundancy between these and Carnegie provides some instructions for how to use this book. In fact, he suggested stopping at each principle or stopping at each chapter to sort of reflect and even deploy some of those strategies in your everyday life. The example that he provides for this, becoming genuinely interested in other people, is who doesn't look at a photograph and focus first on themselves in that picture, right? What he's saying is the key is focusing on others first. An example he gave us of a magician who's exceptionally interested in his audience. And it comes through in the show with the amount of intimacy he generates with that audience. And the reason that he did that was he recognizes that they are the reason he is able to support his career, live his lifestyle the way he does. In my own career, just in my background in survey research, focus groups, one on one interviews, we always design research methodologies that lead with qualitative research before quantitative. So focus groups, interviews, in depth conversations. Before we do a more impersonal online survey, we want to base our orientation on that, the customer, my clients clients, et cetera, as opposed to writing questions that might appeal to us as the researchers or even our clients perceptions. So really it comes down to building that muscle memory training and then building your methodology, so to speak, around other people.

David Kopec

The photograph one is so funny for me right now because it's my grandmother's 100th birthday on Saturday, going up to Montreal to celebrate it with her. And I'm making a special photo album, right? And so I'm asking family members like, hey, give me a photo of you, and we call her Bubby, but give me a photo of you and Bubbby. And I noticed that everyone always chooses photos that they look amazing in and they don't really care what she looks in. It's amazing how in so many different aspects of life this applies. It also applies, by the way, in my business in education and teaching, right, students like you, when you ask them questions about their lives, how it can be just about their academics, it can be about just basic things like what dorm they live in, whatever, right. They're interested in talking about themselves. And if you show an interest, genuine interest, in what's going on in their lives and how their academics are going, then you get better student reviews.

Kevin Hudak

Well, it goes back to I mentioned consultative selling before, but I'm not sure about the exact number and ratio. But one of the things that I had learned is if your question to statement ratio is anything less than five to one or seven to one, then you're sort of messing up that opening conversation, that discovery conversation.

David Kopec

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Now, principle two is a simple one smile. I remember this from concert choir in high school. The music instructor said that if we all smile, studies show that audiences will like us 50% better. So I learned this at an early age, and I'm not a good smiler. But since reading the book, I think a lot of the things in the book are kind of common sense, right? But by reading the book, you kind of remind yourself of this common sense wisdom that you might have learned at some point in your life, and you start applying it more. And I've already noticed that just by going out of my way to smile more at people, everything I say to them is listened a little bit more intently.

Kevin Hudak

Well, Cope, you do have a great smile. So I have to say that is a boon. But speaking from in the lens of Carnegie, one of the things that he mentioned is that smiles can almost be heard over the phone. There was an example where there was a high end, sought after prospective employee or candidate. He took a job with a firm because, quote, and this is in their words, managers and the other companies spoke on the phone in a cold, business like manner, which made me feel like just another business deal. Your voice sounded as if you were glad to hear from me, that you really wanted me to be a part of your organization. So even that smile and what he says is that the act of smiling actually has an impact on the smiler as well. If you're in tough times, if you're on the phone with a candidate, if you're in a meeting, smiling reminds yourself that not all is hopeless, is what Carnegie says. And I definitely try to approach most of my interactions with a smile as well.

David Short

It's really funny. I have found that to be one of the things I've listened to the most. Also, COPEC and I have seen the same thing. It's so funny, it's such a small thing. And I feel like I was smiling before, but I definitely am smiling more now. And without a doubt, you just get such a better response from everyone. Like everyone just naturally smiles back.

David Kopec

Okay, moving on to our third principle in six ways to make people like you remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. So again, another principle about people are into themselves and they want to hear their name.

David Short

Yeah, I mean, again, seems like we're going to keep saying this over and over again. I'll try not to. It's something that you've heard about beforehand. It's something that frankly I am terrible about and so I have been focusing on it, but I don't know that I've gotten that much better at it. To be honest. I don't know that it has that great of advice about how to do this effectively, but I do think it is good advice. So I think absolutely using people's names is something that makes them feel like you are focused on them. It is something that I definitely want to focus on more. It's something I kind of heard about beforehand and definitely something I'll try to focus on more. Short.

Kevin Hudak

I definitely agree that there's not a lot of instruction in how to memorize some of those names, but not to pat myself on my own back. But I'm actually pretty good with names. And it all comes from being a political body guy for years. So I would escort the politicians that I was working for to events. I would learn everyone's names, whisper it into his or her ears. I was like Tony Hale's character in Veep, so I've always been pretty good with names and complimented for that. Though one time I was at a client conference where I was presenting and I actually got someone's first name wrong, apologized and said that I was thinking that he was, for the purposes of this John Doe, let's say. And that person was equally impressed that I knew one of his closely related colleagues who was actually in his department, that I remembered their name, that I remembered their full name, and I regained some of that appearance of competency knowledge of their company. At that same conference. Another one of the executives said it was scary, hopefully in a positive way, how I was able to retain those names. Right. And it's all about showing care at that most fundamental level. As Dave said of COPEC said, that person's name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language. And before we move on, I also just wanted to say that I love the example of Andrew Carnegie that Dale Carnegie gave basically inventing sponsorship rights or naming rights. As a young boy, he was raising bunnies and he wanted help getting clover and other food for the bunnies he had offered the neighborhood kids. If you help me with this, I will give the names to the bunnies that you want. Right. So each of the neighborhood kids was able to name one of the bunnies. And I thought that was hysterical. Really, when it comes down to it, it's not just remembering the names, but it's also honoring them. Right. Again, Carnegie is always focused on these techniques being used authentically. It's not manipulation when there's a meaning and a genuineness behind it. And again, that's the better way to be a humanist in Carnegie's terms.

David Kopec

So two different sides of this. When I was in my early twenty s, I read in some magazine dating advice, always mention the person that you're dating's, name as much as you can on the dates and they're going to like you better. So probably came out of this book originally or something like that, and that was effective for me. And I've always remembered that actually, and I always do when I first meet somebody, try to repeat their name to them at some point in my first conversation with them, which shows right away that you took interest in them and that you wanted to know who they are. Now, other side of this. Today frankly, students are very sensitive about whether or not you get their name right. And that's actually been a topic that we talked about in a meeting today at my college. And you have to be careful. You have to make sure you really are paying attention. Because people today are offended if you get their name wrong, like if you mispronounce it, or if you maybe use a nickname when that person didn't necessarily want a nickname. Like I've had students say to me before, and this is my bad, right, that their name was like Daniel or something, and I called them Dan and they didn't actually like that. In fact, my dad was like that. My dad's name was Daniel or Danny, but he hated Dan. And so you have to be a little careful not just make assumptions about how somebody's name is supposed to be pronounced or that they're okay with a nickname. They want their name the way that they like it.

Kevin Hudak

Well, here's how you give extra care and attention, COPEC and actually deliver on what Carnegie is saying. I found in my experience, someone is as flattered as appreciated. If in the middle of a conversation, you ask them to either correct the pronunciation of their name, spell their name out, or just repeat their name because it shows you even though you may have missed it on the first chance, you're very interested in learning more about them and making sure you get that most fundamental of things right.

David Kopec

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Principle four be a good listener, encourage others to talk about themselves.

Kevin Hudak

So I thought this principle was interesting. It really came back to what we read from Chris Voss in Never Split the Difference. That idea of active listening that he expounded upon so much. Right? The first step is being a good listener is letting them speak first, but it's also asking questions that you know, that they'll enjoy answering. When I think about that in today's terms, I think about meeting prep. I think about actually being deliberate and dedicating time before. A meeting to huddle as a group. So my team to make sure that we know the dynamics, the interests, the professional backgrounds and focus of each of the folks that we'll be speaking to. And I thought a fun anecdote in this principle from Carnegie was this Western Union delivery boy who was writing to Ralph Waldo Emerson. General James Garfield. Ulysses S. Grant. Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. He wrote to them, asked some interesting questions about things that he had researched, and they often wrote back to him. And in some cases, he was welcomed into some of their homes to have conversation and dinner. Right. And again, this just screams to me of how to do modern day networking. Right. It's not necessarily writing letters to these folks, but engaging with them via social media, DMing them with relevant questions that aren't just jokes. And so I took away a lot from this principle.

David Short

Yeah, I think it's, again, sort of fundamental, right, that you want to let them talk about themselves. And that is something that everyone has more to talk about. So listen to what they're saying, ask good follow up questions, and then remember those details and come back to them the next time to ask follow ups on their children or whatever it may be that you learned about. So show that you were the good listener. Don't just be a good listener, right.

David Kopec

But implicit in that is that you have to ask questions to begin with, right? Yes, ask good follow up questions, but you have to also ask questions to start them talking about themselves. I had recently finished reading this book when last week I found myself at a hockey game here. And I go to the hockey game, it's like some of our students are playing in kind of an intramural mural league, and I find the president of our college, who's the new president of our college, sitting by himself in the stands. So I chose to sit next to him because there weren't a lot of other non students there. And why not? It's a good opportunity, right? And I'd recently finished reading the books. I was thinking the whole time, how do I get the president to talk about himself so I can have a good conversation with him? So I spent the whole time thinking about what questions can I ask the president that he would be interested in talking about, like about himself? And you have to be careful, though, because in a professional context, you don't want to get too personal. And if you don't know somebody that well, right, you don't know what topics for that individual person might be out of bounds. So getting those conversation starter questions is not always trivial. You sometimes might have to really think, what is the right question to get this person talking? And it's not always the obvious one because the person might be a little bit standoffish and the situation might not call for it. Right. Like in that particular situation, it was pretty loud. So it had to be questions that would have very clear understanding and wouldn't require long exposition. Right. So I think figuring out what those questions are that will start somebody to be talking is kind of the key to getting this kicked off and being able to then just ask those follow ups and glide after that. Right. Okay. So principle five is talk in terms of the other person's interests.

Kevin Hudak

This is a bit we've been talking about some of the redundancy, and it's interesting because one of the reviewers that I listened to on this book mentioned the fact that a lot of these concepts are fairly obvious. But it's the fact that they are combined and supported with all these anecdotes in one place that makes them more powerful. The talk in terms of the other person's interests kind of loops back into what we've just been speaking about. But again, it's the right questions. It's finding out what they're interested in, why, and engaging them on those topics. One example that was in the book was this gentleman, Mr. Funkhauser, which I appreciate as a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm, who was only interested in money and enlarging his empire. In that case, it wasn't going to be a conversation about personal life like you mentioned. COPEC, the candidate came into the room and came straight forward with, quote, I believe I can make money for you today. I think this still rings true. You're going to find those folks who are just interested in the expansion of their empires, their businesses. But when you think about employer interests these days, if you can engage with them on talent, satisfaction, enrichment, if you can talk about enterprise, sustainability, because you know that's an interest of theirs. If you know they're interested more in the prestige and their image is a disruptor, those are all sort of topics that you can gauge modern day for this principle five.

David Kopec

Okay. And the last principle in this section, principle six, make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

David Short

Yeah. So I think this is another good one that we all kind of get from general experience, but he gives a lot of good anecdotes that soldifies the point home. But the point is, again, going back to what we said before, this is not about flattery. You don't want to just say, like, oh, you're so important. Oh, I care so much about you. Instead, you find some way of making clear that they were specifically good at something that they did do. And so it's not about just like general flattery. It's not about just like puffing up the other person. It's instead finding something unique about them that does make them important and noticing that thing. So maybe they are particularly good at one aspect of the job that they're doing. If it's a coworker or if it's a friend of yours, maybe there is one sport that they know better than the rest of your friends, or whatever it may be like. There are all these little ways that people thrive. And again, by showing genuine interest, by following them, you could see what are the ways that they are important and highlight the fact that you genuinely saw that.

Kevin Hudak

So when we look at what Carnegie was talking about here, it really starts with the golden rule that he quotes as give unto others what we would have others give unto us. He talks about complimenting the clerk at Radio City Music Hall and giving a compliment that is specific to the situation that they're in, specific to that person, again, making it genuine, authentic from a personal standpoint. Just today after reading this book, I was at a car wash, and in addition to tipping the crew in the tip jar, I made sure to stop this one woman who was finishing off the car, toweling it down, et cetera. And I told her how appreciative I was for the extra time that she spent on my car versus some of the other cars that were finished quicker, how deliberate she was in taking care of all the water spots that were on my car before she moved on. And I saw her smile, just as Carney would say, and she gave me thanks for that compliment and I hope that we made each other's days better. The other thing in this principle is also providing courtesy in the requests that you make of others. And by that, for example, I've written emails in the past where I say, I know that this is at the bottom of your pile right now and rightly so that we can finish off this analysis for you. That would be fantastic. So it's framing it in, you know, that you might be interrupting their day. It might be at the bottom of their pile for justifiable reasons, but there's going to be a benefit in it for you if you're able to get back to me at your convenience, your earliest convenience.

David Kopec

All right, let's go on to the next section. Thanks for that, Kevin. Win people to your way of thinking, and there are a lot of principles here. There's twelve principles in this section. I think some of them will cover quite briefly. But the first principle is the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

David Short

Yeah. So I think this is another sort of classic, and maybe it came from this book. I don't know when people started to learn it, but it's totally true. Anytime you truly blow up and argue with someone, you may win the argument, but you're not actually going to win them over to you. They may stop arguing because they've gotten tired of it, but it's very unlikely they're actually going to be convinced by the actions that you're taking. So you can't win an argument because if you lose it, you lose it, and if you win it, you lose it. And I think that's always true.

Kevin Hudak

And I apologize for keeping Christopher Voss in the conversation, but it does seem like he was inspired in some of his main points from this book. One thing being, Carnegie mentions that your adversary in a negotiation isn't the person opposite the table, it's the situation you're in, it's the transaction itself. And that's something that Voss focuses on as well. Another thing that Carnegie mentioned was acknowledging the strengths of a competing offer. In this case, he gave the example of a sales rep for the White Motor Company versus a different motor company as well. The White Motor Company sales rep agrees with some of the virtues, the positives of his competition. Right. He leads with the good points of that offer, but then turns to his own offer. And at that point the person he's selling to can't just sit back and be recalcitrant about it. They have to listen and they're avoiding anger. And he sort of ends this chapter with a great quote from Lincoln yield larger things to which you show no more than equal rights, and yield lesser ones, though clearly your own. That's the right attitude to approach what could become an argument, but you want to prevent it from becoming an argument, because if you lose an argument, you lose it. If you win it, you still lose it. In the words of Carnegie.

David Kopec

Yeah, Kevin, I agree with you about the Voss connection. I think he actually mentions this book either in how to Never Split the Difference or it was in our interview with him. And I see echoes of many of these principles and never split the difference. On this one in particular. I've had to learn this one the hard way throughout my life. When I was a kid, I was very argumentative. And now as a person in my mid thirty s, I basically don't argue at all with anybody because it never got me anywhere. It's just something I enjoyed doing. I always wanted to be right. And I liked actually, the art of arguing and trying to convince somebody of my point of view. But I think in today's world, nobody actually wants to be convinced. Most people want to live in their echo chambers. That's what we see all the time in social media. Right? And I found if you argue with people both in real life or especially in social media, it never actually gets you anywhere because they don't actually want to change their minds. In order for an argument to be worthwhile, the other person has to be open minded and willing to change their opinion, which is not the case for the majority of people that I meet today.

David Short

Or there needs to be an audience, frankly. Right. So you can have an argument and you can win over other people through that, but you're not going to win over the person that you are arguing with. I think that's the critical piece here is that debate is a thing. I was a debater in high school and college and I really enjoyed it and I still need to learn the lesson. COPEC, it sounds like maybe you got there a little bit faster than I did. I think I probably do still try to win arguments in a way that is counterproductive. Ultimately, an argument is only about convincing other parties that may be listening. And if there's no one else listening, you're basically arguing just for yourself. The other person is probably going to be annoyed at you even if you do win your points.

David Kopec

And actually people who argue a lot but do change their minds are some of the most amazing people. Steve Jobs has this way of thinking that's called or had this way of thinking that's called strong opinions held loosely, which is the idea you're willing to really go toe to toe about your opinions, but when it's clear that you're wrong, you're willing to very quickly change your mind and go a different direction. And I think that's so powerful. It's okay to have a strong opinion and try to argue for it, but you have to be open minded enough to know that a strong opinion is just that it's an opinion. Principle two, show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say you're wrong. Okay, this goes back to this maybe toxic positivity a little bit, but where was Carnegie going with this?

Kevin Hudak

Yeah, so he leads off this principle with this tactic that he's used in the past. So rather than say you're wrong, he would actually lead by saying he may be wrong. He says, quote, I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let's examine the facts. And I think when used appropriately, saying that you are often wrong in that context doesn't necessarily erode confidence. It actually welcomes that open mindedness and it puts your subject at ease. Right. You're saying it's okay to be wrong. I have in the past. And you're trying to trigger them to then consider ways in which they may be actually wrong in your conversation. What Carnegie says here is not arguing, not calling them wrong, actually allows more facts, more expertise to emerge organically. One of my favorite anecdotes in the book was from this section where it was a lumber company. Right? So it's a salesman for a lumber company who actually had great subject matter expertise. As a former lumber inspector, this is one of those anecdotes he provides that may be a little dated at this point, but I think the principle is still there. His client was rejecting a lot of the lumber that the sales rep knew would pass inspection. He was a former expert, or he is an expert. Rather than arguing with that client, he started actually removing some of the lot of lumber himself and disqualifying it. Right. Agreeing with some of the removals that they were doing, but then asking questions about their requirements. And what that client ultimately realized is the lumber company had actually fulfilled the specs that they had asked for. It was that the specs were done poorly, that the specs the client drew up for all the lumber that was delivered. And so, again, going back to Chris Voss, it was like his negotiation acrobatics. Right. In the Voss book, they mentioned the office manager realized it would be ridiculous to have their assistant print out all the documents they had specked out. The specs were wrong. When you don't call somebody wrong, it leads to more introspection. And then they realize that their initial specs, their operating framework, may in fact be at fault here. But to say that at first immediately creates that physical reaction. Shame that no coming back at you. And that's what Carnegie is trying to tell us to avoid.

David Short

It's almost like the classic improv like yes and kind of concept that just go with what the people are saying and transition it into what it is you're actually trying to talk about. In the case that Kevin talks about, you don't say, oh, you're wrong. The pine is of the grade that you ordered. Instead you say, oh, what is the problem that you're seeing with this piece of pine? And then ultimately you can add some comments about, oh, that's interesting. I always thought that it was grade A pine that didn't have that, or whatever it may be. But just saying no, saying you're wrong. These are very aggressive things that get people to shut down and instead just being open to what they're saying, not like being accusatory and instead just starting to give them information that may be mildly contradictory to what they were saying, but not directly saying, hey, you're wrong. Will allow them to kind of save face and come over to your side without feeling like they've been attacked.

David Kopec

Principle Three if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. This was one that my dad was big on when I was growing up. He always would say to me, a real man admits when he's wrong. And what he was really saying there was about respect, that people respect you more if you don't keep claiming you're right when it's clear you're wrong. Right? And I think that's also what Carnegie was getting at here, is that people respect you more when you admit your mistakes.

Kevin Hudak

Yeah, and I think in my own practice, I found that admitting a wrong with some rationale perhaps, but not excuses, actually builds confidence and trust in the future work that I do with a client or with a partner or with a vendor. Although I hope and know that those instances are few and far in between, that back and forth that you start creating. There is more about fostering collaboration almost in the future. And my philosophy is really, you don't want to turn a minor mistake into a major breach of confidence. And so that's how I approach my practice. I love the example of Carnegie being caught in the park with his dog unmuzzled and unleashed when that was against park regulations. The first time the cop pulled him over, essentially, Carnegie said, well, the dog won't do any harm. And the park police then kind of bristled at their judgment being questioned. The second time, weeks later, when he was caught doing the same thing, he immediately accepted blame. He said he did wrong. And the cop basically arrived at a conclusion organically, that this is not a problem and let him go.

David Short

It's actually interesting. When I was listening to the story, I didn't get the conclusion, to be honest. And then he explains it and it finally clicks for me, which is that it was by attacking himself saying, oh, I should be prosecuted, whatever, that the cop could make himself powerful by not doing what he said was the right thing to do. So by the cop ignoring the rules, the cop is actually putting himself in a position of greater power, of like, oh, I'm actually the cop that can not do anything about your dog who's unmuzzled. Which anyway, I don't think that necessarily is like a broader message, but it was a funny little detail in that anecdote as I was reading it.

Kevin Hudak

That's excellent nuance to that point.

David Kopec

Short principle four is begin in a friendly way. And this actually came up for me today. I have a son who's about almost three years old. He's in daycare and there's another he's one of only two boys in the class. They interact with each other a lot because they're the only two boys. And the other boy is kind of mean to him. He's kind of like, you're stupid, he said to him. And then that makes him upset. Right. And there's a little bit of hitting going on, which I really don't like, and upsets me quite a bit. So I was all ready to kind of confront the parents and I was talking to a friend of mine at work and he was saying, you know what, we had some of the same issues. And the way we approached it is we started out by talking to the other parents about how great their child is and got in there and got into that kind of comfortable conversation before then addressing the issues in a collaborative way. And so that caused me to kind of change my approach. And we're always going to get this kind of goes back to that with a little bit of honey. We're going to get a lot more than we are right away being horns locked.

David Short

That's really interesting to hear. Kopec yeah. And I imagine that every parent thinks that their child is an angel. So it totally makes sense. I'm sure some parents may have more realistic expectations, but I would be surprised if any parent doesn't have more positive view of their I mean, they should, right? Like they're the most important person to them, of course. And so, yeah, starting with those compliments even about the child, and said that's kind of like an interesting direction to take it, because I don't think that is something that ever came up in the book. But when you're confronting parents, it's the same deal. If you say your kid is wrong again, they're going to freeze and start to get defensive. And if instead you say, oh, I really like this thing, whatever, you can start having a positive conversation and then maybe they'll be willing to bring up, like I saw that they've had some issues and try to figure out good ways to resolve it as opposed to being at loggerhorns.

David Kopec

Okay, principle five, get the other person saying yes immediately.

David Short

Yeah.

Kevin Hudak

This one again was all about avoiding the no, which again is very Voss like. Right. It's getting into a negotiating subject's mind to be saying yes early and often so that it makes it easier for them to do so later. If they're so used to saying yes to you when you're asking the critical questions towards the end of that negotiation, you're getting that yes response. He even goes back to Socrates and even says, you have to ask questions with which your opponent must agree to then use those concessions that you were getting in the beginning of the negotiation later on. So I thought this was absolutely essential. He says that the minute that somebody says no, it's almost a physical reaction, a closing up that you can notice right away. So you want to plan your questioning strategy to open this because from there, good things can develop organically.

David Kopec

Yeah, this was one of the techniques that I did feel came across as a little bit manipulative, even in the kind of Socrates context. If you've ever read The Republic by Plato, right, a lot of it. Socrates goes, surely such and such, and it's something you really can't disagree with. And so then Glaucon or whoever he's talking to in it goes, oh, yeah, of course, right. And then he builds up the argument by just giving you this thing you can't disagree with, this thing you can't disagree with. And then if it logically follows after those things, you can't disagree with that. This other thing sort of kind of follows. It's very hard to disagree with it. So I do feel it can be a little bit of a manipulative technique, but it's effective, obviously.

David Short

All right, paula Marcus okay, next principle.

David Kopec

Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

Kevin Hudak

We've touched on this one already before, but really it comes down to understanding, recognizing that people would rather talk about their backgrounds and their achievements than talk about yours. And it comes back to that active listening as well. In the book, Carnegie really relates it to making sure you know their interests early, that you are asking questions, not making declarative statements, and you're talking about what really matters to them.

David Short

This is honestly the thing that I am most focused on. Personally, I am terrible about this. I just have a breadth of knowledge about a lot of different things and my brain can spiral into different ideas. And I just do not recognize when I am overstepping and talking for way too long, whether it is in personal conversations or in work meetings and things like that. That's something I am actively trying to get better at. So it certainly echoed a lot for me. I know it's something I need to be better about.

David Kopec

I actually do this too much and I'm kind of bored of it. So I'm trying to talk about myself more because I have a lot of friends who I'll talk to or I'll dinner with them every couple of weeks, whatever, and they'll just go on and on and on about their thing and I'm trying to re spear it. You know what? There's things I want to talk about also. So you can go a little too far. Okay. Principle seven let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

Kevin Hudak

For this one, I really looked back and I mentioned consultative selling earlier. But when I thought of this when I was reading, all I could think of was something I learned that people value far more what they conclude than what they're told. So asking the right questions paired with that right background, the pain points that you know that they're feeling to lead a prospect to conclude that your product or service is necessary or it meets that unmet need, that really is the golden ticket there. And I really enjoy the example that Carnegie gave of Teddy Roosevelt convincing the party bosses that his political appointee picks were their own. Basically saying, feel free to give whatever suggestions you have for these political appointee, these political positions. He then kept rejecting the first round, second round, their early suggestions with really sound reasoning. And then finally he would accept their third or their fourth picks that they made, which ultimately were the same picks that Teddy Roosevelt was going to make. So it's leading that subject to conclude something that is in agreement with you. It also helps them to feel that they had input in the process. In modern day, if you're asking your customers for input, if you are launching a software product or a platform and you're asking customers to give you early feedback as part of that business development process, they're really helping to design what they will ultimately buy and how can they really reject it.

David Short

I think, to be honest, this one did feel a little bit like a little bit outdated, a little bit like too much leading for me. I think it's fine. I'm a capitalist or whatever. It's okay. To try and sell someone hard. But this idea of tricking people into thinking it's their own idea, I don't know. I get it. I've heard it a lot. But it feels a little bit tried to me, to be honest. This is one where I had a little bit of like, does it really work that well? I'm sure it does if you can really do it. But I feel like people try to do it and they do it really badly and that backfires.

David Kopec

Actually. This is huge in academia because in academia we're not competing for money. There's no bonuses. Everyone just gets paid the same thing. It's kind of like communism almost. So people really care about their reputation. Everything is about reputation. Everything is about credit. And so if you actually go out of your way to make it seem that something is somebody else's idea and then they get some credit for it and the thing is successful, whether that be research or that be just a new class or whatever, right. People really are attracted to that because if it's something that's good and it's going to boost their reputation and then other people think the idea is theirs because you kind of think the idea is theirs because you sort of kind of do, and then you're letting them think that it's actually very effective. But I agree with you. Maybe it's a little too manipulative.

David Short

Well, and again, if there's just consensus and they do come up with the idea, I think it's perfectly fine to step back and let them take the credit for it if it's going to help move the project forward. There's nothing wrong with that. That's just playing good politics. I think it's the like I forget the example exactly, but I feel like he had some examples where it really was like you laid breadcrumbs to get them to do it themselves. And that's the part where I don't know, I think it can work, but it can backfire. And people don't like to feel manipulated. So if that happens, that could go badly for you.

David Kopec

Yeah.

Kevin Hudak

And I'm certainly not endorsing sort of the leaving my practice. One thing I find is when we're working with companies and organizations and we have research products coming out, we will brief our steering committee, the entirety of the organization on the research as we finish each phase. And by doing that and accept their feedback and suggestions for questions to ask, things as granular as that. And by doing it, they all sort of become champions of the process. And I think that that helps create more advocates and also minimize the effect of some of the detractors because there's always going to be detractors to a change initiative to research findings that might implicate their department or their division. And so that's been helpful from that buy in phase. But I can definitely understand how the breadcrumbs method, it's almost like Inception incepting an idea. In someone's head.

David Kopec

I was literally going to say that too. I was about to say the whole chapter reminded me of the movie Inception. Okay. Principle eight try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view. And this is similar to some of the earlier ones we talked about.

David Short

I think. This is not something I learned from this book, but it is one of the most important things I have ever learned. I think that people often take any kind of criticism or statement or whatever as if they're being attacked by another person. And it's a lot easier, I find, to assume the best in the other person. Imagine that they might have just had a bad day or whatever, and that was an offhand comment that they didn't even really think about the fact that it might have impacted you. And so it's kind of like better to assume incompetence instead of malice, right, that the other person might have just messed up, as opposed to they really don't like you, or they're trying to do anything. And this goes beyond that, where it's try to try to look at it from their point of view in a lot of other ways. It's not just that. And this kind of goes into the next one as well in terms of I'm just going to go ahead and read it. Sorry. COPEC to step in your toes, but be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires. That it's the classic line, put yourself in the other person's shoes and chances are they don't actually care that much about you, to be honest. It's better to just assume that it was a random offhand thing. It's probably not that important to them, and instead try to think positively about it. Maybe they were just trying to help you get a little bit better on something. And so rather than being upset about something, you really can just take it for what it may have been, which was just, again, maybe they did say something that was truly rude. Even in that case. Maybe there wasn't actual malice towards you and maybe they said something that just bothered you a little bit. And again, maybe it was just them trying to improve things. Just assume the best intentions.

David Kopec

That was a beautiful answer, David. I'm not even going to let you answer Kevin because I don't know if you could do any better than that. Okay, principle Ten appeal to the nobler motives.

Kevin Hudak

I could not have answered any better than that. So I'm happy to speak to this. I do have a nobler motive. But no, this really comes down to the fact that Carnegie is saying most humans aren't monsters, they want to be truthful and trustworthy, so why not appeal to their nobler side? I remember one of the anecdotes he shared was John D. Rockefeller Jr. Photographers were taking pictures of his young kids and rather than just outlaw them, trespass them, yell at them. He said, quote, you know how it is with boys. You've got children yourselves and you know, it's not good for youngsters to get too much publicity. It was cheeky, it was clever. It wasn't impugning their integrity. It was speaking to their nobler motives, their nobler side.

David Kopec

Okay, great and principle. Eleven, dramatize your ideas.

David Short

I think this is one that honestly, reading the whole chapter is maybe worthwhile in a way that some of the other ones I don't know. Again, I think the whole book is worth reading. It's not that long, so I don't want to be critical at all. But a lot of them are kind of like they are like ideas that we have conveyed, I think, quite effect in this. He gives a lot of good examples with this that were just like, very distinct and frankly, you can just think about it in modern times and it's going to be very different. So speaking to my job, specifically, I'm a product manager, oftentimes we're trying to build new software. It is a lot easier to convey what it is that I'm talking about. If I've actually worked with a designer for even like a few hours and just have some simple wireframe mockup of something, and all the better. If I can have a true high fidelity, this is what it's going to look like in the app or on the website experience that I could write multiple pages and it would not convey as much as just seeing what it's going to actually look like, even if you can't truly click the buttons and get the experience. And I think that holds true for all kinds of things. So even if you're just putting things into PowerPoint instead of just saying them out loud, just find ways to make visual the thing that you're trying to express to someone.

Kevin Hudak

And at one of my legacy firms, we were blessed with a world class graphic designer. And one of the things that we arrived at is kevin can certainly go forth and produce 80 to 100 slides of content. But what matters to our client, the executive team, the decision makers, and those we're seeking to influence is easily digestible and visually snazzy. So that's why those 100 slide decks would result in a front and back. Eleven x 17, we called them Placemats, and we had great visuals there. At one point, I remember we had the puzzle pieces of one of our clients sales territories based on potential growth, and then we then threw that together into a new puzzle. It was a word jumble, actually, for them to visualize the resorting of their regions and territories based on what our research showed. And that was the best way to get through to some of the executives at the table. They really enjoyed that. It added a lot of flavor to those 100 slides. Although as a research analyst, I have to say I do love the 100 slide decks as well.

David Kopec

Sometimes this is actually more relevant now than it was when this book was written in the 1930s, because today people have no attention spans. And if you actually want to get them excited about your ideas, you need to present them in a captivating way. I found that in education, there was a lot of talk a few years ago about teaching the different modalities and universal design for learning, and also the concept that different people are different kinds of learners. And then there's been some more recent research that really it's not true that different people are different kinds of learners, that most people kind of learn the same way. Yet it's still, I found, very effective to present your ideas in dramatic, captivating ways, to actually get people to pay attention to them in a classroom. And that has nothing to do with the fact that some people are more visual learners or some people are more text learners, some people are more sound learners. It has to do with simply waking them up and getting them to pay attention to what you're saying. And so I think to some degree today, because attention spans are so low, our classrooms need to have a certain entertainment aspect to them. And a lot of people might scoff at that. But you want people to actually retain what you're saying, well, then you need to excite them about it today. Okay. And principle twelve, the last one in this section. Throw down a challenge.

Kevin Hudak

Yeah, just to keep it short, I thought this was a good sort of talent management chapter or principle, the idea being encourage spirited competition within the ranks as a way to motivate your employees. He gave the example of Charles Schwab at the steel mill and essentially for the day shift, he came in, saw they were underperforming. Schwab asked to borrow a piece of chalk and wrote on the floor, six and a giant six, because that was how many heats that day team had completed. The night team then came in, saw that they had done six, and so the night team erased the six, put a seven there. The day team comes in, sees the seven, wants to get that up to 8910. And it was really just speaking to this is not necessarily denigrating anyone's efforts, but have some good spirited competition within an enterprise. Throw down that challenge. People will rise to it if it's well articulated and relevant to them. And I can't think of any better articulation than a giant number on the production floor.

David Kopec

And this is also kind of Economics 101, right? Competition breeds the best out of people. Okay, let's go to the last section. It's called be a leader. The first principle in this section begin with praise and honest appreciation.

David Short

So this kind of goes back to what we talked about previously, but I think it is transitioned a little bit because now we are talking about you as kind of a manager or a leader, as opposed to most of the rest of it was more of a sales kind of position. But I think the basic point being don't criticize your employees. It just doesn't work effectively. The better way to do it is to actually praise them, give them honest appreciation for the things that they're doing well, notice the things that they're doing well, and genuinely call it out. Again, it's a little bit repetitive from the other one, but it just was framed more around it as a manager as opposed to just like dealing with anyone else. But I think it's absolutely true. I have been a manager for a few years now, and to be honest, criticism is rarely effective. There are some people that it can maybe work well with, but I think it is very true that it is much better to highlight the things they're doing well to be effusive and outwardly expressive about it. And again, it depends on the person, right? Some people want to be complimented in public and some people don't. That's something to learn about the person that you're managing. But whatever it is that you're doing, even if it's just to them in a quiet place, highlighting, hey, you did a great job on this particular thing, and here's another way that you can do more great things is a much better way than like, oh, there's a typo in this one thing. I can't believe you did that. Just like no one reacts well to that kind of criticism.

David Kopec

This comes up for me all the time in grading because I always start with what they did okay, or what they did well. If you start out with, like, here's what you did terribly, they're not even going to pay attention to when you tell them the things that they did do well. And so you really turn people off with criticism, with praise, you at least still have their attention. And if you still have to give them some criticism, which this book is against in general, right? But in grading, we have to give some criticism. You at least want them to have taken in all the praise as well, so that it's not just lost in the shuffle. Principle two, call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.

Kevin Hudak

So this is very much linked to that. Principle one, don't use the hammer and dynamite approach, as Carnegie calls it, but instead kind of go around the mistake and lead them to conclude that a mistake was done without bringing direct attention to it. I love the example. Again, Schwab is mentioned quite a bit in this book as a contemporary, but this anecdote was schwab basically caught his workers smoking in clearly no smoking zones. I didn't know that no smoking zones even existed back then. But what he did was instead of coming up to them, chewing them out, he basically pulled out some of his finest cigars that he had and said, quote, I'll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.

David Short

Kevin these were probably industrial dangerous places to smoke. That was probably the reason smoking should.

Kevin Hudak

Have been allowed there, too, I guess. So essentially, he drew their attention to the issue. He almost gave them a little bit of a reward incentive for following directions, and they did not feel like they had been criticized or course, corrected or they knew they were, but in an indirect, more gentle way. And that's really when we talk about the no, criticism always was, pardon the pun, but toxic positivity giving them some cigars.

David Kopec

There was a quote I liked in this chapter. It was about giving a child some feedback, and they were saying, instead of using the word but, change it to the word. And so you're still providing that criticism there, but you're not doing it in a way where it stands out. It's just part of the good things you're saying. It goes along with them, and it's like, here's the good things you're doing, and here's things you can improve on. Not, you did these good things, but here's the bad thing you did. So just that simple change, but to end. And I really thought that's kind of a magical word choice there.

David Short

It's right back to the principles of what's the term I'm looking for? Improv. Principles of improv, yes.

David Kopec

And, okay, principle three, talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

David Short

This is another one that I kind of, like, laughed out loud at because I had come to this through my own management without having ever read about it as something that you're supposed to do. But I absolutely do this whenever I am needing to be a little bit critical, I always do frame it around something, and it doesn't have to like, if it is true that I have the same problem, then I will frame it exactly that way. Like, oh, I used to have this issue, this is what I did, and someone told me the same thing, and I was a little bit annoyed at that, but this is what I did, or whatever. I don't always say I'm annoyed about it, but it may be true. And I try to tell a true story to be relatable to the person. And again, to say, I'm not coming at you in a way that says I think you're bad. I'm saying this is something that I have actually struggled with and I've managed to try to improve with. Or even if that's not the case, I do try to frame it in a similar way of again, maybe I'm needing to come to them about something that's different from things that I have struggled with. But I do try to frame it around that same concept of when I was early in my career, I was told this thing which at first I struggled with but then I heard about it again from another person and it made me realize like, okay, if I heard about it from one person, maybe they were wrong. But when you hear about it from a second person, seems like it's probably a true thing and it is something that you need to work on. And so anyway, I found that to be really effective as a manager, give your own faults, try to make it clear that you're not pretending like you're some perfect person. That instead you're here to help them grow. Just like and their growth is ultimately going to help you.

David Kopec

Also, our business listeners are going to get bored of me continually bringing this back to teaching, but this is another one that we talk about all the time as far as the classroom goes. So students today, they don't want to think of their professor as some superman or superwoman. They want to think about their professor as human. And by acknowledging the mistakes you make, it makes them feel a little more comfortable acknowledging their mistakes and it makes them actually helps. We also say with impostor syndrome, if they see especially so I teach computer science, I teach a lot of programming classes. And if they see me make a mistake in my code and then talk about it, then they think, you know what, maybe the fact that I'm making mistakes doesn't mean that I don't belong here or something like that. It's okay to make mistakes and even the professor makes mistakes.

Kevin Hudak

And I think it's the sign of a good leader to be able to not go so far as to debase yourself, but give enough of a foundation in the righteousness of erring and learning from it to deliver that desired change in your team.

David Kopec

Absolutely. Okay. Principle Four ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

Kevin Hudak

This is a pretty simple one. In the book, Carnegie tends to focus on critical situations, stressful situations. Giving an order in a stressful situation, there was this idea of they have too many orders to fulfill, they have pressing deadlines. The order would be, we need to handle this order. What Carnegie suggests you say is, is there anything we can do to handle this order? Right? Ask that open ended question. Allow your team to innovate based on those questions, to get the job done. It's really that we can do it attitude to get things done on time, to go over that goal line. That's what he's encouraging us to do in this chapter.

David Kopec

Nobody likes to be ordered around. Principle Five let the other person save face.

David Short

Yeah, I think this echoes a lot of what we were just talking about. But ultimately it's about not again calling them out directly and instead letting them have some way of it being a thing that happened, but not a thing that they are specifically responsible for. So instead of saying like, oh, you screwed this up, instead you say, oh, this went wrong, this is what you can do to save the situation. Frame it around the positive things that they can do. Don't frame it around something that they may have done wrong. Frame it around their lack of experience as opposed to their lack of skill or their lack of ability, those types of things. Like it's always not about them failing. Instead it's just something that went wrong and something that they can help solve.

Kevin Hudak

Now one of the agreed with, or at least had some suspicion around, carnegie provides the example of General Electric's genius Charles Steinmetz. And when he failed as the head of the calculating department, rather than fire him because he was just too essential, had sensitive knowledge, they moved him into this position of consulting engineer of the General Electric Company. And one thing that kind of struck me on that when we look back to Ben Horowitz, is the hard thing, if that's sort of a move to help someone save face is incurring some of that management debt that Horowitz brought up. So that's kind of an open question here. But another thing that Carnegie adds here is that in any arbitration or mediation that you're doing, you want to start that conversation by making sure to identify what is quote, right and just on both sides before you ultimately make that decision. So before you make a decision that may harm one of your employees or put them in a bad spot, ensure that you're giving both sides some face in the beginning of that conversation. I took away a lot from that.

David Kopec

Great. Thanks, Kevin. Principle Six praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise. And this goes back to some of the compliment stuff that we talked about earlier. I found that people are just so not used to it. Society is so negative today that it's amazing how far a little bit of praise can go and how much encouragement really means to people today.

David Short

So, to be honest, the examples on this one, I just haven't had such bad employees that I would be able to say if this would work or not. The examples that he gives repeatedly are sort of these abject failures that then they just come in and they say like, oh, you did this one thing well. And then they turn everything around and I'm honestly pretty skeptical of that. This felt like, again, I've expressed skepticism a few times. Now I am still very positive about this book, but it did seem a little bit like really like this employee who really can't do anything right. Once you say, oh, good job on this one thing, they turn it all around. But to be honest, I've never really dealt with that. I've always had employees that were at least moderately competent. I've gone through reasonable hiring practices where I didn't bring on people that were completely incapable of jobs and things like that. I think it's absolutely true. Again, and I said it from the start, that focusing on praising the positive aspects of what people are doing rather than like every time you meet with someone, all you're doing is criticizing them. No one's going to do well in that situation if all you're doing as a manager is critiquing someone. They are not really going to get great at that job. Maybe they'll get mediocre at it, but they're not going to get great at it. But if you do focus on the positives, I think that is a much better way to get them into a better state.

Kevin Hudak

Well, we did mention how this book could have inspired folks like Chris Voss, but this is one area where it felt very Malcolm Gladwellesque. One of the bad employees that you were talking about short was ended up being Charles Dickens. Another one was Enrico Caruso. And the examples of the Tipping Point of Praise turning them into famous figures did feel very gladwellesque.

David Kopec

This is a very connected book. We've made so many connections to other books. Principle seven, give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

Kevin Hudak

For this principle, you subject to mean subject and conversation, your prospect, your employee, but pointing to your subject's past reputation of good service, reliability, trust their good legacy, and then frame your offer as implicitly asking them to live up to it.

David Kopec

Okay. And principle eight, use encouragement, make the fault seem easy to correct.

David Short

So I think this echoes a little bit some of what I was talking about earlier. Of I think the best thing you can do as a manager, if it's true, is say, hey, I used to not be great at this thing and this is what I did in order to fix it. And it worked out well for me. And if that's like a genuine story you can tell that is the make the fault team easy to correct. So again, it's not like, oh, you messed up this big thing, it's very important. Instead you say like, hey, I struggle with the same thing, or I've worked with someone in the past who struggled with the same thing. They made this one small tweak and that was able to really launch their career forward. And again, it's use encouragement. So frame it around. I think you're doing a really good job. I think in order for you to get promoted to the next level, there's this one thing that you need to do a little bit better and it's something that I think you're totally capable of and these are the small steps you can take to get there.

David Kopec

And our final principle, make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Kevin Hudak

This one was a fun one towards the end of the book with some of the anecdotes that he brought up, but really the idea is if you are going to reject somebody's offer. If you are giving a negative response or leaving regrets with somebody, make sure that they are happy about that outcome. So he gives the example of if you have to cancel on somebody or you don't want to do a public speaking appearance for somebody make sure to give them alternatives that you lavishly praise so that they're happy with the future outcome of them still having a great event. One thing I thought was funny, he related the story of one of his students who kids kept going across their grass and ruining the grass and was kind of a gang of kids. They pulled one of them aside, the biggest misfit of them all and said I would like to give you the title of Chief Detective to understand who is running through my grass and essentially deputizing that person, making them happy and proud that they now have a title resulted in the grass no longer being trampled. And I thought that was kind of a cute anecdote and I thought throughout Carnegie was really doing a good job of blending some more business enterprise examples with some personal life examples. I thought that was charming.

David Short

I am not sure that that anecdote would be in the book if it was written now because the detail was that the chief detective started a bonfire in the backyard and had a hot iron poker that he was getting red hot. He threatened to scald to brand them if they went through the yard. So yeah, it was an effective method but it was quite aggressive corporal attempt.

Kevin Hudak

So I am a product of Greek life. So when I say charming no, I'm just kidding. But I forgot about that part of the anecdote. Good point.

David Kopec

Short. When I thought about this section, I thought about how people respond to having responsibilities and that if you give people responsibilities they'll often step up to the challenge. And it actually reminded me of the book Twelve Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson just to make another book connection where he said if people take on responsibilities they should actually take them on because most people, once they have them, will live up to them. And so giving people as much responsibility as they can take on is actually a healthy thing to do. Okay, so I read an older edition of the book than the two of you did and the addition I had had a couple additional sections. One of them was a letters section and it was about how to write business letters. And most of the business letters were actually soliciting survey responses. And it was like how to beg the person to fill out the survey effectively by being I need you so much, if you don't fill this out my boss is not going to be happy, et cetera, et cetera. I thought it was totally inapplicable to today. It was from a time when people didn't get like just a million spam messages every day, both in their physical mail and their email. So getting a letter from somebody, even if it was just to fill out some survey about the products from your company, was actually like an important thing. And so I found the letter section totally unapplicable today. Another section that was in. There was seven rules for making your home life happier. And so this is basically about marriage and how to make your marriage better. A lot of antiquated terms in there, not all applicable. In fact, I think some people would find some of it offensive reading it today. That said, a lot of the advice, if you're able to take it out of its time period and just like, transform it to be a little more modern, was pretty solid at a basic level. But again, there's probably better books for how to improve your marriage. So you can definitely skip these sections if you read the old edition. Let's talk about the book as a whole. Did you find the book convincing? Was there one particular technique that before you read the book, you weren't using it and the book so well laid it out that it convinced you you should be using this technique?

Kevin Hudak

I mean, I mentioned before how that one reviewer that I listened to said that a lot of these lessons anecdotes were all fairly obvious, right, but in a good way. And that having them concentrated in this one book was actually super helpful, allows you to then get it in your muscle memory, start using some of these techniques. So in that way, I thought the book was very convincing throughout the book, throughout each chapter. There's a lot of variants in industries, even though some of them, like lumber, might not necessarily be as relevant today to modern readers. So in that way, I definitely did find the book convincing in terms of techniques that I were not necessarily using that the book kind of convinced me to use. Like I said, a lot of the things that I heard in this were voss on negotiations, consultative, selling. So I do feel like I have been using these techniques. I do feel that I've been deploying them authentically. But one thing I took away was being specific in praise, avoiding any sense that you are flattering somebody or being inauthentic by making sure to be specific around what you are praising them for, so that they understand that you spent time thinking about this. This wasn't just a one off compliment. That's something that I feel like we all, myself as well could use going forward.

David Short

And I guess I'll say I think we did talk about it a bit, but the two things that really resonated for me were one, the never say you're wrong and perhaps say I might be wrong as a way to ease the conversation, make it clear instead of actually critiquing the person directly. Say I might be wrong. But here's some facts that I know that might help them to say, oh, interesting, like, let them be the one to step forward and say, oh, maybe I was wrong. And by having said I might be wrong beforehand, you're opening them up to that possibility. I think that is probably quite effective and not something I am very good at doing. So I'm going to try to employ that. And then I think remembering names is just one that, again, we talked about, but it's something I really do want to double down on and really focus on. So I'm trying to do associations and things like that to be better about remembering names.

David Kopec

So, reading this book, I had heard all of these before and I mentioned throughout the episode, some of them I heard from my dad, I heard one from my choir teacher, one from reading a magazine about dating. I basically heard everything here before, but not all in one place, and not also succinctly and nicely put together. And I think it's just wonderful reminders. I mean, even some of these basic ones like Smile, right? It's a good reminder of how powerful that really is. So having all these reminders about this kind of common sense advice, I did find useful to my life. And if there was one technique that I wasn't using but now after the book, I'm really trying to be more forthright about it's. Definitely just praise. Just like compliment people, praise people. People respond so well to that. And as I was saying earlier, I think especially today with all the negativity in the world. Okay, is there anything we didn't talk about the book? We talked about the book quite a bit. This is one of our longest episodes ever, but is there anything we missed?

Kevin Hudak

Well, thanks for everyone for staying on and continuing to listen. One thing I just wanted to mention is that there's a number of variations of this book out there. We already mentioned the 36 version. There's an 81 version as well. That was the version I had that was actually edited in part by Carnegie's daughter, who unfortunately was only four when Carnegie passed away, but she's definitely aiming to carry on his legacy. There's actually a more modern version as well that has mentions of Facebook, social media, et cetera. So I'd encourage folks to explore those different options that are available and pick one that they think they'll find most enjoyable.

David Short

All right.

David Kopec

Do you recommend how to Win Friends and influence people who should read the book?

David Short

I really do recommend it. It's funny, I've had this on my bookshelf since I think I was like 15 or 16, and I never read it until now. I picked it up a few times, but I really do think it's worthwhile, to be honest. We went into a lot of detail. So if you did not find this episode compelling, then I certainly would not read it. But if you found the anecdotes we were telling interesting and would like to get a little bit more detail, then I would absolutely read it.

Kevin Hudak

I would also definitely recommend this. I actually listened to a few reviews of the book. As I mentioned, one of the reviewers said that it changed their lives. And I did not necessarily find this life changing just because I had read some books, which probably derived a lot of their insights and findings from a foundation of how to win friends and influence people. I would recommend this to everyone, though, and I would especially recommend it to younger folks. So I do know that my girlfriend actually read this and did a book report on it when she was in high school. And I feel like that is a perfect age to introduce these lessons to students. And so I would encourage the parents on the podcast, listening to the podcast, those with nieces, nephews, and kids in their lives as they enter that high school age college. Make sure you pick up a copy of this for them, because I do feel at that foundational stage of life, these lessons are super important, both from a business organizational context, but also in personal life.

David Kopec

I agree with that. I think it's a great book for younger people. It's amazing how influential the book itself is. Like you said, I see echoes of it in so many other things that I've read. We talked about some of those today. I'm amazed how many people in my own life have read it. My doctors read it, my mom's read it. It's just a really popular book, and I think the reason it's had that staying power is a lot of this advice is common sense and timeless. But sometimes we need reminders of common sense, and sometimes we need reminders just to get up in the morning and put a smile on, right? Even if that's a little bit manipulative, it's extremely effective. Okay, david, next month we're going to be reading the Lean Startup. This was your pick. Tell us a little bit about it.

David Short

Yeah, absolutely. So Eric Reese wrote the Lean Startup, and it's really just about rapidly. Iterating on minimum viable products in order to see whether or not there's real traction in the market. So rather than the traditional idea of grinding against some kind of business idea over and over again, this is about quickly throwing together something that might not be very good, but getting something out of the market, charging people money for that product, and getting reactions from real customers quickly to something. So I think it's really about what is feasible in the world of digital software living on the Internet, where you can get new customers almost instantaneously, push them new updates very quickly. You don't need to spend a year putting together something that's fully fleshed out. You can spend a week getting something that does something mildly useful for someone and seeing if people are willing to pay for it and whether or not that can turn into a real business. So I'm excited to read about it and learn the lessons from Eric.

David Kopec

Right, and that wasn't really conventional wisdom when the book came out, but today that's called kind of Fail Fast and it's become kind of conventional wisdom in the startup industry. And this book was a classic because it really laid the foundation for that becoming substandardized device. Really excited about that too. Anything either of you want to plug and how can our listeners get in touch with you?

David Short

You can follow me on Twitter at Davidg Short.

Kevin Hudak

You can follow me on Twitter at Hoodax basement. H-U-D-A-K-S basement. And in advance of our episode on Lean Startup, you can check out my startup rockerbox@rckrbx.com.

David Kopec

Congrats on that, Kevin. By the way, you can find me on Twitter. I'm at Dave Kopeck D-A-V-E-K-O-P-E-C. Don't forget to subscribe to us on your podcast player of choice, whether that's Spotify or Apple podcast, don't forget to leave us a review and we'll see you next month, our channel.

This month we read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. First published in the 1930s, How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the most popular self-help books of all time. Carnegie’s suggestions for how to achieve the title’s objective are largely based on anecdotal wisdom, but the anecdotes are numerous and often hard to argue with. While some of the advice is old-fashioned, and much of it is common sense, the vast majority of the outlayed principles have stood the test of time. In this episode we systematically discuss every major principle in the book and explain how they have applied in our own lives.

We apologize about some minor audio issues in this episode.

Show Notes

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Edited by Giacomo Guatteri

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