Ellis Orlan, BA, CPA, SF Partnership LLP, Toronto, ON, CYBF Mentor, eorlan@sfgroup.ca

When I think about networking, what immediately comes to mind is How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie – arguably the greatest book ever produced on the subject and one known as the first notable self-help book ever produced. First published in 1936, this timeless bestseller is a cherished volume in any personal business library.

Some of today’s literary giants credit Carnegie’s original work as the inspiration behind their work, and there are literally hundreds of books on the shelves today that carry similar messages to How to win friends and influence people. The neat thing is you can also pick this book up dirt cheap at used book stores, online and at garage sales on Saturday mornings.

After all, if winning friends and influencing people isn’t the heart of networking, then what is? Earning trust of and garnering the ability to influence other people is in fact what networking is all about. Carnegie’s book deals effectively and directly with how to build a strong network around you.

At the beginning of the book, Carnegie addresses the “fundamental techniques in dealing with people” dispensing truths about how to listen, ask questions, determine customer needs and wants and the importance of nonverbal aspects of communication.

The rest of this book is as practical as section one and there is really nothing about networking that is not covered.  Section two continues with “Six principles about how to make people like you” and “Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking” where Carnegie gives the reader ample information about what to do, and an equal balance of information about what not to do. This book has it all, the reader only needs to apply the simple concepts and their network will thrive.

Every time I pick up this book, I’m glad I did. If you have never had the opportunity to read this book, I encourage you to drop what you are doing, get online and add a copy of Dale Carnegie’s, How to win friends and influence people to your library today. If you read the book in college or earlier on in life, I encourage you to pick it up again. Its time-honoured principles and ground-breaking theories include everything, and the kitchen sink, about networking.

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