When I was in middle school, I was THAT kid. The kid who liked to read big, thick books in my spare time. The kid who 'won' the 'competition' for how many pages you could read in a semester. And won it by a landslide. I used to read anything and everything in my reach, and I loved it.
As the years have gone on, I just haven't made time for reading as much. In some ways I do miss it, but I have a harder time sitting still now than I did as a young teenager. So when I do read a book, I want it to be GOOD. In all honesty, I generally flip to the end of the book and read the last few pages first to decide if I want to take the time to finish it. This is where most of my reading meets its demise.
A few months ago, I picked up the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was recommended by a few different sources, but I honestly thought it was one I wouldn't actually finish. In my own uninformed thought process, I figured that if I already had plenty of friends and not many enemies, I wouldn't really need a book like this.
I couldn't have been more wrong, and I read, then re-read, this book every night for weeks.
Very rarely do I say this, but this book completely changed my perspective on people and how I interact with others. I did not realize how much I focused on myself when I talk to other people. I did not realize how much I constantly made conversations about me, instead of about the person with whom I was in a conversation.
Carnegie writes, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." And how true this is! It is far better for both you AND others if you spend much more time focused on getting to know someone else than telling them about yourself. Though it seems like common sense, it's something I was guilty of ignoring every single day.
On top of that, Carnegie points out how important appreciation is. Not flattery, but true appreciation. It takes effort to show appreciation for someone else, but the effort will ALWAYS be well spent. My favorite quote from the book sums it up: “The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”
So I charge you, read this book. Even if you think you are a kind and unselfish person, it is a must read. You will learn about yourself and how to talk with others, and I can guarantee that at the end of the day, you will be able to win more friends and influence more people than you ever thought possible.