It seems that as software engineers it takes so much time and effort keeping up with technology that all we ever have time to read are technical books and materials. But we really should get out of that rut when we can. I’ve lately been reading something of a classic.Not a great of classical literature or even a novel at all, but a classic in the realm of self help. I’m talking about Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People. I actually have a copy a picked up on the bargain shelf at the local Barnes & Noble that has two volumes in one, combined with How to Stop Worrying & Start Living for $7.98.I remember first hearing about this book as a child back in the 70′s. For years I assumed it was about how to be sneaky and conniving to get ahead. But lately I’ve become interested in self-improvement in regards to my people skills. So I decided to give this book a try, and I’m glad I did. I’ve only read a few chapters so far, but it’s really very good. Much of the information is what you would expect to be common sense, but seems to be lacking with many people. It mainly boils down to courtesy and respect.For example, I’ve noticed that many conversations turn into a verbal jousting match, though remaining civil. But everyone want’s to get their opinions in, jumping in whenever they want. Frankly, individuals who do that often end up looking foolish because they respond to incomplete thoughts. One of the key concepts mentioned in the book is LISTENING to others. It’s something we’re told from the time we first learn to talk, but almost everyone forgets or ignores. This book should be required reading for everyone who has to interact with others (meaning everyone!). It’s an old book, but has been updated over the years and it just as relevant today as it was when first published in the 1930′s. So far it’s a quick read, and well worth the time.