by Ilya Pozin | shared from Linkedin |
It’s not every day you end up reading a book that completely changes your personal and professional life. Even less often do you find a book that was first published in 1936 but still drives home powerful, life-altering points.
For me, the book that transformed me the most is Dale Carnegie’s massive bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People. While this classic, advice-driven read may seem like a no-brainer to some professionals, reading it was a complete eye-opener for me. It showed me that almost everything I was doing in terms of my management and leadership practices as a CEO was, well, blatantly wrong. This is funny, because I was so certain I was doing everything right.
Unlike most CEOs and business founders, I never had any type of formal business or management training in my career. I fell into my role as a business founder and manager, which led me to fly by the seat of my pants and use my best judgment. But it turns out I was far from effective.
Here’s the story behind the changes that occurred in my life during and after reading Carnegie’s famed book:
Just One Of Those Hyped Up Books
Today, finding your next favorite read is easier than ever before. It seems like everyone is always blogging or tweeting about their favorite books. Several people recommended I read How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s impacted so many people’s lives, it’s just one of those books everyone seems to be buzzing about.
I wasn’t necessarily sold on it at first, because of how weird and manipulative the title sounded. But the more I heard about it, the more I realized I should probably read it. I caved and knocked it out as an audiobook on a long distance flight.
Who I Was Before This Book
This book came to me at a crucial time in my career. It was a few years ago when my company Ciplex was growing to about 20+ employees. At the time, I realized I wasn’t exactly the best manager, and I was actually angering a lot of my employees with bad habits I fell into.
For instance, a great employee once told me he vividly remembered when the team would be sitting in the office working diligently on a project and I’d swoop in like a pigeon, shat on everyone’s ideas, and exit the room. While it’s easy to laugh about this now as I look back, it’s a wonder I got a way with this for so long. And what’s even scarier is that some managers spend their whole careers treating their employees like this without realizing how damaging it is.
My Transformation As A Leader And Manager
While this is considered a self-help book, it’s much different than most books in that category. It takes a psychological approach to understanding human nature and dealing with people in various situations as a manager, leader, or everyday person. It’s the kind of book you find yourself coming back to over and over again in relevant, everyday situations.
As I stated above, this book helped me to identify some major weaknesses in how I was dealing with people. While getting through the book, I constantly found myself doing the opposite of what Carnegie was stating — not just inside the office, but also in my personal life. It taught me how to resolve conflict, get results quicker, avoid what rubs people the wrong way, win an argument, make others feel good about themselves, and so much more. Basically, I got a quick “101” on nearly everything I needed to know about effectively leading and managing people.
This Book Is For Everyone
No matter who you are or what stage of life you’re walking through, this book is for you. I haven’t just shared with book with close connections and high-level employees in my company, I went as far as sharing it with my family. I told my little brother to read this book as he was going into high school and shared it with my wife.
And why not — it teaches you the fundamentals of dealing with others, becoming more easily accepted, and not creating enemies. These are things that nearly everyone needs to nail down, be it a 15-year-old student or a 55-year-old executive.
Rather than listening to me drone on about the invaluable facets of How to Win Friends and Influence People, I suggest you start reading it today. I guarantee it will transform you into a better person, not just a professional.
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What about you, what book changed you most?
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About Ilya Pozin:
Go and see Ilya’s posts on Linkedin here.
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