During November, in honor of getting past my quarter life crises and turning 26, I read 3 books as part of a series on relationship building. I would be telling a bald-faced lie if I said that these books were life changing – so I won’t.
Instead I’ll just express some key takeaways from each.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Just as I learned when I was going through the process of interviewing with investment banks, people love to chat about themselves. It is always a useful exercise to try and learn something about the person whom you are trying to garner interest. Compliment them on their achievements and be sincere. Flattery is crap!
- Always be willing to give. If you have a suggestion for a book, don’t be afraid to buy it or simply bless them with a copy. If someone compliments your shirt – buy them one. Buy close friends/associates a b-day gift. Don’t be afraid to send holiday cards to friends and family you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- Be generous with approbation and praise! It will go a long way as people love compliments. To take that a step further, compliment people on their potential to help them improve themselves. Rather than telling people how bad something or someone is, instead tell them that you can tell they are on track to be really good then suggest an improvement.
- I guess the thing about this book that is most impactful is the way in which Dale Carnegie drives home the point that success (however you may view) is driven by your relationships with people.
How Successful People Think
- Expose yourself to good people and good input. More importantly it’s important to act on good ideas. THINK THINGS THROUGH – THEN FOLLOW THROUGH.
- It’s OK to have an Agenda when engaging in Shared Thinking. Do not, however, have an anterior motive. An agenda organizes the process and makes sure we accomplish what we set out to do. Whereas, an anterior motive changes the scope of what we set out to do.
- Listening is a key component to thinking. Listen to different points of view, speeches on YouTube or TED and listen to those who you care most about in your life. This, at a basic level, will allow you to express empathy (NOT SYMPATHY) as you think through situations and problems in life.
- Set a time and a place every week for thinking. This was huge for me and I started doing my thinking during my Saturday morning 10 mile runs. It just makes sense. Imagine you have a dope presentation or work project coming up – if you spend an uninterrupted hour or two thinking through issues that could come up or any improvements, you’ll save yourself all types of stress. It’s also just a component of being prepared! STAY READY SO YOU AIN’T GOTTA GET READY!
- A really dope definition of success that I love was written by Bessie Anderson Stanley in a 1904 issue of Brown Book magazine:
- He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much’ who has enjoyed the truest of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task’ who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty of failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a benediction
- The big thing here is, simply put, that you must take in as much as you can from others but be a complete master of your own thinking to achieve success in life.
Never Eat Alone
- What is special about this book is that it takes the principles of the classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and makes it relevant today due to the advent of social media. In the words of the great musician FUTURE “dress it up and make it real for me” – truly encapsulates what the author is trying to do for young professionals.
- I feel like the author grew up like many African-American millennials who lived lower to medium income households. These individuals likely got into decent colleges and eventually made it to corporate American only to realize that there peers in the workplace had many of the contacts and life experiences to relate with clients because they grew up with a proverbial silver spoon in their mouths.
- The author references that the insecurities of his youth came back from time to time at work but he had been reassured again and again that hard work trumped many of the advantages my his peers were given
- This was important to me and in turn establishes the ethos of the author in my opinion. No one really wants to hear about getting somewhere in life from someone who has been “privileged”
- Relationship building not networking is essential. Don’t be afraid to use your network to help others and REPEAT. Unlike money, your network doesn’t disappear once you have used a connection. Keep connecting people because the possibilities become endless.
- Integrate your personal and professional life – invite your boss to dinner. Take a friend around your work colleagues for drinks. Share your social media with new business contacts. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll have in common.
- Admittedly, this next point is a little weird but it makes sense. Show vulnerability – in the sense of your shortcomings and failures. You may meet a business contact in real estate and you share a story about a failed real estate investment that you had then that person may share something similar and offer invaluable advice.
- Lastly, spend time working on the person you want to ultimately become. Learn from others, build new skills and have an insatiable appetite for reading. These things will help you become a better person and make you more interesting to other people.
This post was definitely longer than what I anticipated but hopefully its worthwhile to a young professional who, like me, who is trying to just figure shit out!