Dale Carnegie wrote a book in 1936 called How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's a good read that has held up well over time. That's a rarity in the self-improvement market. One of the reasons that Carnegie's book held up so well was because of its no-nonsense, straight forward approach. It doesn't preach to or belittle its reader. In fact, the book itself wins you over and influences you.
These fundamental principles laid down by Carnegie still apply to today's fast-paced, internet-centric world. It's teachings can be applied as a force of good or evil. Remember when all those corporate fat cats were reading Carnegie's book alongside Machiavelli's The Prince and the The Art of War in order to crush their corporate opponents? You may not have corporate enemies to crush, but you may find yourself dealing with scads of people who are wasteful or don't care about the environment.
By learning to convince well, you can get your boss to put in more energy-efficient vending machines at work. You may be able to convince a wasteful roommate to recycle their soda pop bottles. Go to a townhall meeting and deliver an elegant speech about putting beet juice on the road during the winter instead of rock salt. Write a congressman and influence them to change state-wide policies on emission standards. Convince a manager to let you work from home. The power is yours. Please, use it for good.
This is Dale Carnegie's Summary of His Book:
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six Ways to Make People Like You
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in an language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
6. Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
Win People Over To Your Way of Thinking
1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
"A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:"
1. Begin with honest praise and appreciation.
2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use Encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.