"One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people's behavior by changing one's reaction to them."
As I read this book the main word that kept jumping out at me is 'manipulation.'
By doing (or not doing) certain things, you are kind of manipulating the person into doing what you want. I am not a proponent of manipulation by any means. I do feel that helping the other person come to their own conclusions through some of these principles is helpful.
I read a review on this book by a reader on GoodReads and she said that this book had a negative effect on her life. With any self-help books that you read, you must take things with a grain of salt. With "How To Win Friends And Influence People," I believe many of the insights are mainly geared to a person who is in business (salesperson.) That is not to say parts may not be applied to personal friendships/relationships. I think you have to remain true to your personality and not force something that is not natural.
The negative reviewer said "The book basically tells you to be agreeable to everybody, find something to honestly like about them and compliment them on it, talk about their interests only and, practically, act like a people pleaser all the time. After being a smiley happy person with loads of friends for about a year, the unpleasant realization began to creep in, that by being so agreeable to everybody else, I rarely ever got my way. I also sustained friendships with people who were self-centered, so talking about their interests was all we got to do together, which drained me of my energy. The worst thing still, is that by trying to find something to like about every person, I completely disregarded their glaring faults. It didn't matter that those people did have redeeming
qualities - they weren't redeeming enough! I ended up with a bunch of friends I didn't really want and, because I was so preoccupied with "winning" those friendships I missed out on the chance to form relationships with good people."
I think what the reviewer did was to conform to the different principles and took them to heart a bit too much. There is definitely a time and place for everything and if you're using these principles all of the time, well that can seriously get tiring in my opinion. If you're thinking of reading this book because you are lonely & want friends, don't read it.
I read this book on my Kindle and plan on going back to all of the notes I highlighted. A lot of what is presented in this book is common knowledge, it's just that it is presented in a way that really makes you think about how to use the principles. Having examples of each is also extremely helpful.
I think this book should be a requirement for college or anyone working in a business setting. I also believe it was completely written at the time aimed towards salesmen. Not all people have the natural ability to do the things presented in this book; some do. This book is obviously a best seller for a reason and I think the reason is the way the principles are presented.