"ken sundheim, knicks lakers game, msg, sundheim kenPictured Above: Ken Sundheim CEO of KAS Placement.

It shows up on just about every list of the best business books.  As a matter of fact, it shows up everywhere when you’re seeking a good book to improve your professional and personal life and, if you’re anything like me, you try to avoid reading it.

If you don’t know by now, the book I am referring to is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  While the book isn’t overly long, it’s not as academic as one would expect.  You must read in-between the lines.

However, this close scrutiny of the book will pay dividends in both your professional and personal life.  Here are just 5 things that stand out and, from there, I’ll let you determine what you want to read and if you want to read it:

1. Criticism – In not so many words, Carnegie gets the point across that you should not criticize unless you wish to really tick someone off.  I think that everybody, at some point in time, has criticized others and that most of the time this action has ended with negative consequences.

Many times, people are afraid to admit that they are wrong, but instead of shoving in their face, finding a diplomatic approach to inferring that they may be wrong is usually best.

2. Make Someone Want to Do Something – Carnegie devotes an entire chapter to the principal that the only way to make someone do something is to make them want to do it.

He goes on to give tips such as: giving the person a sincere compliment or some form of encouragement.  The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement and to stop thinking of ourselves so much.

3. What People Are Interested In – One of the best lessons in the book is that people are only interested in what they want…well, the majority of people are.  Therefore, to persuade, you must be able to see things from their angle.

I can attest to the truth to the following statement that Carnegie makes on this topic which is (paraphrasing): People are underpaid because they focus too much on what they want.

4. Become Genuinely Interested in People – Although this is for any form of business, Carnegie touches on the fact that being genuinely interested in people is the best quality a salesperson can have.

He discusses that if you want to make friends, you have to put yourself second and out to do things for other people.  People are interested in us when we are interested in them.

5. Smile – Out of the list of takeaways from this book, this is the most simple, but underused.  People want to be around those who are in good moods.  People want to buy from those who are happy to see or speak to them.

Instead of criticizing people, think of the positives they bring and smile when you do so – chances are it will boost your mood.

More Lessons

While you can’t sum up a book in a few lessons, the above should give you a start.  I can’t tell you that the book is the most entertaining piece of literature out there, but be happy that it is not as not many of your competitors will take the time to learn this stuff.