The following are approximately the first 1000 words from the Introduction of Jonar Nader’s book,
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People.
Setting the scene
In a nutshell, what this book is all about
Leadership, management, and self-development principles are taught at hundreds of colleges to thousands of students who read millions of books. Yet companies collapse, businesses blunder, and friendships fail, while individuals and organisations are enslaved to inefficiency, inaccuracy, and instability.
Why is it that so many popular techniques have a higher propensity to fail than to succeed? All this, despite the groundwork set by ‘gurus’ who urged us to: go on a quest in search of excellence; win friends and influence people; engage in serious creativity; capture moments of truth; and develop the seven habits of highly effective people.
Beyond the hype, the real issues have been too controversial to communicate, too tough to tackle, and too risky to raise because:
1. It is likely that motivated individuals willing to modify or change their habits would feel isolated and overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks that lie ahead.
2. It is a tendency among colleagues and opponents to thwart anything that threatens the comfort of the status quo.
3. It is difficult to tackle well-entrenched and politically moulded standards of behaviour.
4.It is culturally accepted to follow the path of least resistance.
5. It is a mammoth task to single-handedly challenge the establishment.
6. It is a fact that social and cultural forces that accommodate Despite the efforts of commercialised gurus, it appears that individuals have not been properly guided in their pursuits. Misguided enthusiasts can be as menacing as non-believers. This results in a multitude of irritating graduates from ‘The Textbook School Of Bluffers’.
The title, How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People, points to the fact that anyone who applies what is endorsed in this book is likely to do just that. It is envisaged that this book (and its supporters) will be ripped to shreds by supposed experts who among them think that they possess the collective wisdom of the universe.
Critics of this book will start to raise all manner of irrelevant and superfluous questions that will do nothing more than unequivocally prove the need for such a book. These critics are called hindsight experts. They are the kind of folk who would have naively: gaoled Galileo for suggesting that the world was not flat; banned Pythagoras from enlisting mathematics enthusiasts into his club; ridiculed Alexander Graham Bell for his ‘contraption’; and told Henry Ford that his invention would never sell, except to ‘the rich and idle’.
If you find truth in this book, do not let the critics intimidate you. Critics are those whose rich and condemning vocabulary largely consists of words like: never; impossible; not done; can’t be achieved; unreasonable; unrealistic; will never happen. They have the audacity to place limits on the future. They encourage censorship and promote the ‘banning’ of all sorts of things. They prize legislation and love thought-control, promoting themselves as mind-guards. Furthermore, they hide behind empty meaningless words which they do not understand — like morals, social standards, ethics, social behaviour, and political correctness. They have the gall to intimidate women, Jews, Christians, Moslems, socialists, communists, capitalists, those of differing lifestyles, and those of atypical sexual desires.
Righteousness. It is a timeless word that belongs to everyone. It is too bad it does not unite with ‘tolerance’ and dance with ‘individuality’ and blend with ‘acceptability’ and stay away from ‘justice’ — an obscure word that has legitimacy to the one who applies it, and no useful function to the one to whom it is being applied.
Majority versus minority
The majority-rule society has produced nothing more than heartache and intolerance. Throughout the majority-rule period, members of the minority have made an impact. For better or for worse, it is the daring few who have shaped this so-called majority-rule society.
Inventors, pioneers, radicals, and visionaries have ventured from the lonely and costly camp of ‘minority’ only to be obstructed by majority-rule concepts that tolerate inferiority, hinder progress, harbour injustice, and pose limits within the decaying status quo.
What is sad and insulting is that the majority basks in the benefits and riches that were originally afforded by individuals who sacrificed their sanity, their freedom, and their life. When you start your journey of leadership in the modern world, you too might have to make some sacrifices.
Is this book for you?
There are hundreds of books on offer, and collectively they explore every possible aspect of leadership, management, and self-development. Together they broach every conceivable topic, but they seem to lack one crucial ingredient — truth. Not that they endorse ‘untruth’, but they fail to tackle the very roots of important issues about leadership, management, and self-development in the modern world.
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People is for those who can, for example, study cosmology and then do three things simultaneously. First, marvel at the grandeur of the universe. Second, recognise the majesty of the infinitely small. And, third, doubt that we possess more than a nano-parcel of information about either subject.
This book is for those who are fed up with, and frustrated by, inefficiency, inaccuracy, inconsistency, and untruths. It is a tool for those who know that they have the potential to stretch the boundaries, have the creativity to break new ground, have the vision to shape new futures, have the determination to realise their dreams, and have the courage to break out of the social cast, even if it means that they’ll have to bid farewell to friends and, along the way, infuriate the establishment.
If you acknowledge that nothing is ever final, that possibilities are endless, that life is never simple, that a rolling stone can gather moss, that a watched kettle does boil, and that those who cry last, cry the most, this book is for you.
I slam diplomacy as a waste of time. I blow the whist le on the corporate and political games. I discredit the rules that have done nothing more than nourish the lethargic, imprison new talent, and suppress freedom. I expose protocol as a brick wall that protects the insecure and keeps at bay the bold. I call on those who are in a position of power to lift their game. I plead for action from those who have new ideas.
Rubbing shoulders in the dark
During the eight years of research, investigation, observation, and testing, not a single interviewee was aware of the making of this book. Not a single letter alluded to my authorship.
My research for this book has been authentic and comprehensive — encompassing a broad range of successful and unsuccessful artists, scientists, business managers, military leaders, political and government heads, ethical entrepreneurs, and shady ones, as well as students, the general public, and academics. Not one is named. The sound information gathered would not have been given if the subject being studied had known that the material or exchange was for a book.
Some books are written like a brochure and are full of praise for the author’s clients or people whom the author would like as clients. This is a serious book, so unfortunately, there will be no profit from bulk sales to companies mentioned and praised here because none are mentioned or praised.
Authors of many popular books focus more on telling us who they know, than what they know. They want us to believe that they lead celebrity lifestyles, constantly bumping into the most successful people in the world. They expect us to believe that almost every aeroplane ticket that they have ever booked happened to seat them next to the founder of ‘Hero Corporation’, and that the only blind person they have ever met went on to win a Nobel Prize.
Egotistical authors seem to bolster their own image. Their enthusiasm echoes a sense of ease rarely attained by struggling individuals.
Name-dropping and telling readers about dignitaries they met, what was said, and of the exalted circles they move in, dominate some books. (Just for the record, I have dined with the privileged and spent time with the outcast, poor, and addicted, including the homeless and the titled. Their spirits hover over each of the chapters in this book.)
. . . and nothing but the truth
When I joined a large corporation as a manager of one of its divisions I read several books about the company. During my first week on the job I mentioned this to my manager who laughed and said, ‘Don’t believe any of them.’ I was puzzled. Could it have been that my manager, a thirty-year veteran of the company, was embarrassed about what the books revealed? Well, despite the fact that some of the books were speaking about the company in disastrous terms, most were sycophantic. I often wondered about his comment. Exactly two years, ten months, and fifteen days later the penny dropped. I realised what he meant, and why the contents of the books could not be believed. In due course I realised that nothing I read was true because the critical books could not be critical enough for fear of legal action while the sycophantic books were inaccurate because they were just sucking-up to the giant for reasons known only to each respective author.
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People is not written so as to damage any company, nor to promote my friends, supporters, or worthy clients. It is written for readers who are committed to improving their situations and their environments.
As a long-time journalist, my first regular column was called ‘Controversials’. Since then, most of the things I have said and done have been controversial. In the mid-1990s a respected publisher approached a small number of industry leaders for what were their predictions. I was chosen by the publisher to contribute my views which, needless to say, were controversial, so much so that when the publication was released, my then boss summoned me into his office and expressed his displeasure at my speaking out. He said, ‘Jonar, no matter what you think, you must not speak out.’ I asked him if he had agreed with what I had written. ‘Yes, you are right. I agree with you, but I would never tell anyone,’ he said. Well, so much for courage. He made me sign an official letter of reprimand. I now look upon that letter fondly and thank him for being one of the many people who drove me to speak out even louder.
Through the years my radio segments (although ethical and discreet) have had public relations departments scurrying with all sorts of unpleasant repercussions. They were tough days (as they still are), yet I have weathered the storms.
The big question will be how I am likely to be reprimanded for writing this book. I know that the more resistance I receive, the more that would prove that I have hit a nerve. Still, I will brace myself once more because I am not looking forward to the wrath of political, corporate, and academic establishments that might feel threatened by this book.
Although I could have included many more chapters in this book, the existing collection sets down a foundation. In due course, I will write more books about leadership, management, and personal achievement. I will also write about a wider range of subjects, so that more readers can lose more friends and infuriate more people.