Neurosurgeon Recommends Dale Carnegie as a Must-Read Author

I’ve been fascinated by all of the books and articles in recent years that highlight the many advances in brain research.

Admittedly, much of my interest is self-serving. Having passed the milestone of 55 years old this past spring, I like the idea that I can keep growing and learning via neuroplasticity, and other wonderful capabilities of the brain. The human body is truly amazing.

Recently I had to chuckle and smile a bit, though, when I heard about a neurosurgeon who’s touting something much more fundamental and far older than our current understanding of neurons, neural pathways, synapses and the like.

It was our oldest son, Ryan, who shared this story with me. He’s currently a third-year medical student and just completed a clinical rotation in neurosurgery last month.

Towards the end of his rotation, he called me one afternoon to share some of his experiences. Early in our conversation, he posed this question to me, “What book do you think was recommended to me by one of the more experienced neurosurgery residents? In fact, he considers it to be a must read.”

I’m not completely sure why, but without hesitation I guessed, “How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.” Lo and behold, I was right.

I must admit some surprise, but it also pleased me to know that Ryan was getting valuable neurosurgery experience, along with some sage advice about how to care for people in other important ways.

Ever since taking the the standard Dale Carnegie Course in the mid-80’s, I’ve grown to be a strong believer in the relationship fundamentals that Dale Carnegie lived and wrote about in his 1936 classic. Things like showing interest in others, giving sincere appreciation, being a good listener, and asking questions instead of giving orders are just a few of Carnegie’s time-tested principles.

With all the controversy these days surrounding healthcare, I find it refreshing to know that at least one new doctor entering the field realizes that outstanding care involves much more than just what’s found in Gray’s Anatomy! I appreciate the guidance this resident chose to give my son about “creating conversations that matter” in his role as a healthcare professional.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”  Dale Carnegie (American author and lecturer)

Questions: Have you read Dale Carnegie’s famous book? What principles do you use most often?