2.The Big Secret of Dealing with People
There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever
stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to
Remember, there is no other way.
Of course, you can make someone want to give you his watch by sticking a revolver in
his ribs. YOU can make your employees give you cooperation - until your back is
turned - by threatening to fire them. You can make a child do what you want it to do by
a whip or a threat. But these crude methods have sharply undesirable repercussions.
The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.
What do you want?
Sigmund Freud said that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex
urge and the desire to be great.
John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently.
Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important."
Remember that phrase: “the desire to be important." It is significant. You are going to
hear a lot about it in this book.
What do you want? Not many things, but the few that you do wish, you crave with an
insistence that will not be denied. Some of the things most people want include:
1. Health and the preservation of life.
4. Money and the things money will buy.
5. Life in the hereafter.
6. Sexual gratification.
7. The well-being of our children.
8. A feeling of importance.
Almost all these wants are usually gratified-all except one. But there is one longing -
almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep - which is seldom
gratified. It is what Freud calls “the desire to be great.” It is what Dewey calls the
“desire to be important.”
Lincoln once began a letter saying: “Everybody likes a compliment.” William James