Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peace and Goodwill

This is the wonderful time of the year when you get your Year in Review edition of Time in the mail and read similar nostalgic pieces around the web. Personally, I think it's a cop-out on the parts of editors and authors because this seems to be a "softball" that the calendar gives them. However, it's not politically correct to have a Scrooge-ish attitude, so in the spirit of the holiday season I bring you this week's blog entry.

When I was a lad, my parents had on their bookshelf a book entitled How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The cover looked boring, and I was only 9 so the outdoors were calling a lot more than reading some unknown book with a stodgy cover. Over the years, I heard now and again how this book was the definitive source on the topic and even recently learned that many considered it a "must read" for salespeople.

So while I was in Manhattan last week, I stopped by a Barnes and Noble. I was intending on buying The One Minute Manager, an excellent book that I used to own but since misplaced. But after I looked at the book, the name of Dale Carnegie floated across my conscience. I left with his book instead with a pep in my step, for I was finally going to satisfy my curiosity that had been fanned over the years by all of those people that recommended it so highly.

Realize that the book was written in 1936, so allusions to John D. Rockefeller and his ilk take on a special significance. I couldn't help but wonder, though, if the book was no longer relevant due to the fact that it is 70 years old.

I have read the first three chapters, and feel that the book is very timely indeed. In fact, I can see why so many people fawn over it. I asked on LinkedIn if I was alone, and resoundingly I heard that it was still a book for the ages and that it contained advice on how to manage one's relationships that will never go out of style.

This is the time to spread peace and goodwill, and this can easily start with the way we interact with our customers, peers, spouse, children, et al. Why not pick up a copy of the book that tells you how you can do this while making yourself a better person at the same time? You never know: maybe your success in managing relationships will translate into success in business much like the book tells.

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