Sub Rosa Nigrum

I’m a part of a discreet, less than formal group of people who enjoy thinking, learning about, and studying the human condition through the lens of critical thinking.  We really enjoy learning what makes people tick!

Right now we are delving into a classic!  Dale Carnegie wrote, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

It’s a book that was something more than one of my mentors read or reviewed with me, as well as something I’ve seen on the bookshelf of every successful businessman I have ever done business with, and on the coffee table of every social butterfly who I’ve ever befriended. Still, interestingly enough, it’s spoken of with hushed and whispered voices.  Unlike when we discussed  The 48 Laws Of Power, the people I am discussing this book with elected to keep it Sub Rosa.  (From Wikipedia: The Latin phrase Sub Rosa means “under the rose”, and is used in English to denote secrecy or confidentiality. The rose as a symbol of secrecy has an ancient history.)

People that aren’t familiar with how influential the book is will often interpret the title as if it was some sort of arcane guide to zombifying and maliciously manipulating the people around you.  So much so, that those of us who are students of Dales methods, and successfully apply them to our lives are sometimes seen as aspiring sociopaths.


“Remember, we all crave appreciation and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it. But nobody wants insincerity. Nobody wants flattery.”

“Let me repeat: The principles taught in this book will work only when they come from the heart. I am not advocating a bag of tricks. I am talking about a new way of life.”

-Dale Carnegie


It would take a series of writings to delve into the book in its entirety and do it justice. Instead, I want to focus on a small section, tell you how it helped me, and hopefully, give you a glimpse into one of the best books on interpersonal relations ever written.  Hopefully, you’ll pick up a copy for yourself, and if you can’t find one, I’ll loan you mine!

Let’s focus on this section header:


“Everyone who was ever a guest of Theodore Roosevelt was astonished at the range and diversity of his knowledge. Whether his visitor was a cowboy or a Rough Rider, a New York politician or a diplomat, Roosevelt knew what to say. And how was it done? The answer was simple. Whenever Roosevelt expected a visitor, he sat up late the night before, reading up on the subject in which he knew his guest was particularly interested.”

“For Roosevelt knew, as all leaders know, that the royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.”

-Dale Carnegie


Make yourself interesting by making other people interesting! Most people believe that the men and women around them are one-dimensional, easily defined, and uninteresting blobs of existence simply biding time until their inexorable death. Most people believe that they are dynamic, multi-faceted, interesting, galaxies-within-galaxies of untapped potential that’s just waiting to be discovered and unleashed! The reality is that we are all generally a mixture of both.

Two ways I put “How To Interest People” into practice:


I have always enjoyed hosting backyard get-togethers and inviting lots of friends, and telling them to bring a friend.  In the days before the party, I always get emails and texts that are some form of Do you know____?  The guy/girl from my______?  After I tell them to bring anyone they think I’d enjoy meeting and would add to the party, I take five minutes on my phone to google and possibly friend them on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. I take a quick look at their public profiles/interests and make a note to ask about something that they are interested in when I meet them.

The conversations usually go this way:

“Hey!  I heard a lot of good things about you!  Our friend ____said you would be someone I definitely want to meet.  I saw you online. Did I read that you were into____?  What’s that like?  I want to know your take on it, let’s talk later on after I get everyone settled.”

That’s it.  Dirt simple.

No one has ever, ever failed to seek me out later to talk to me about the things they enjoy.  That allows me to cast a wide net and choose who I want to add to my small group of friends.


The other key to making people interested in me was learning how to find out what makes other people interesting.  I had to learn, largely through trial and error, how to plant small questions like seeds, then, nurture the conversations I ask so that they blossom into fruitful conversations that stemmed from letting the people I am talking to explain how awesome they are to me.  This is a bit more nuanced and took more time to learn, but it’s the best way to arrive at the same result when I am having a one-on-one conversation with someone.  It takes Active Listening, not simply waiting for an opportunity to talk.

The conversations usually go this way:

“Listen, I know we haven’t had time to talk much, and when we do it’s about work or with a bunch of other people around.  I am awesome at what I do, but I am a lot more than that and I suspect that you are too.  What are you working on when you aren’t at work?  I know that you must have more going for yourself than your career, that part seems like you have it under control.  You’d be bored stiff if you weren’t putting something else together for yourself.”

  • I didn’t imply anything that I thought they should try.
  • I asked open-ended questions that allow them to answer in their own way.
  • After that, I have to listen and know what paths to go down.

These are two small, more easily definable tools that I have created based almost solely on one segment of a book that has had an immeasurable impact on my life and the lives of men I respect.  Let me know if I can help you, or even better, let me know how you can help me interpret the book in other ways.

This Black Rose is from an exhibit at The Afro-Brazilian Museum!

This Black Rose is from an exhibit at The Afro-Brazilian Museum!

If what I wrote helps, send $5 in BitCoin to this address.

It’ll buy me coffee to fuel my mind while I write!





YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) com



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