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How to Win Friends and Influence People is Wrong

Even if you have not read the book titled "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, most of us want to improve our relationships with other people. I must admit that this book has a lot of great recommendations; however, I always had a few fundamental issues with the overall goals of the book.

The most obvious issue, as the title of the book implies, to "win" a friend could be interpreted as a game or a challenge. This is obviously morally wrong and not exactly what the book implies. Therefore, I think that the title of book is slightly misleading.

I know I am being too literal with the definition of the word "win"; but rather, the book implies making a friend through a lot of work and effort. I do not think that trying to intentionally make a friend is true to our own spirit. Shouldn’t friendships start as a natural process instead of starting off fake? I know the book wants us to genuinely make an effort to become friends, yet that is not always possible if we are being truly honest with ourselves. Aren’t there several famous sayings about being yourself, never imitate others, and never fake who you are?

Additionally, the book reasons that the purpose of becoming friends with other people is to better interact and influence them. Is it not morally questionable if the main reason to try to become friends with someone is for selfish purposes? Is this not the definition of being devious? There should never be a purpose for true friendship.

I do not think there is anything wrong with being cordial or friendly with coworkers, employees, bosses, family members, etc. Yet trying to be friends with someone for ulterior motives seems dishonest and morally wrong to me.

by Phil for Humanity
on 09/14/2007

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