This book had a profound effect on me, however, of the negative variety. It did give me pointers on how to actually break out of my shell and "win friends" but in the long term, it did way more harm than good. Not the book per se, but my choice to follow the advice given there. The book basically tells you to be agreeable to everybody, find something to honestly like about them and compliment them on it, talk about their interests only and, practically, act like a people pleaser all the time.
It might sound like a harmless, or even attractive idea in theory, but choosing to apply it in your every day life can lead to dangerous results. Case in point: after being a smiley happy person with loads of friends for about a year, the unpleasant realization began to creep in, that by being so agreeable to everybody else, I rarely ever got my way. I also sustained friendships with people who were self-centered, so talking about their interests was all we got to do together, which drained me of my energy. The worst thing still, is that by trying to find something to like about every person, I completely disregarded their glaring faults. It didn't matter that those people did have redeeming qualities - they weren't redeeming enough! I ended up with a bunch of friends I didn't really want and, because I was so preoccupied with "winning" those friendships I missed out on the chance to form relationships with good people.
I suppose, for somebody who is a better judge of character, the principles outlined in this book *could* be of some value. But that's really just me trying to find something positive (using the "principles") in a book that I am still trying to UNlearn.
If you want to win friends, you have to do it the hard way, by being yourself and risking rejection (and daring to do some rejection of your own, as well). And if you want to influence people the only fair way to do it is through honesty. All the rest is manipulation and pretending. Do not read this book, you'll only learn how to manipulate yourself & others. Do not read it out of fear of rejection & low self-esteem, there are better ways to gain some courage in approaching people. This will harm you in the long run.
Thank you for reading this review.