From the diary: “Monday 12/9/85
“I’m down to two books from that pile of 30 I had mounted up. I’ve checked out new ones (and read some) since I achieved the goal – whittle the 30 to 5. … I started Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying etc.”
The “pile of 30” refers to the number of books I had out from the library.
I worked my way through a few self-help books. I liked Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and How to Win Friends and Influence People. The advice is good. People like it when you remember their names, for instance. Politicians know this well. Clinton is famous for remembering personal details (& names!) of virtual strangers. Even dumbya gets a lot of points for his handing out of nicknames and remembering whether you have kids or that your mother is getting on in years.
I could pick up the principles for being popular but I could no more make myself a social animal through book learning than I could learn to speak German or Russian from poring over a textbook in my bedroom. To be good with people you need a lot of practice being good with people.