How to Win Friends and Influence People

book: How to Win Friends and Influence People
author: Dale Carnegie

general overview

How to Win Friends and Influence People teaches countless principles to become a more likable person, handle relationships [or any dealings you have with people] better and to “win” others over and change the behavior of people.

the book is full of great quotes, but one that really stands out to me each time i read is:

“when dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”

– Dale Carnegie

i really enjoy this quote because it’s so true. even the most logical of us are creatures of emotion. uncontrolled emotion can be very chaotic and can cause decisions and remarks that irrational. Mr. Carnegie is warning us that no matter how logical you or the person you’re dealing with may be they may take whatever it is that you say/do in an emotional manner; one that bares little or no logic at all. it’s important to be very careful with the way you say things or respond to someone.

the principles that Mr. Carnegie speaks about are:

fundamental techniques in handling people

  • don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  • give honest and sincere appreciation
  • arouse in the other person an eager want

six ways to make people like you

  • become genuinely interested in other people
  • smile
  • remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • be a good listener
  • talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely

how to win people to your way of thinking

  • the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  • show respect for the other person’s opinions. never say, “you’re wrong.”
  • if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  • begin in a friendly way
  • get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately
  • let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  • let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  • try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  • be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
  • appeal to the nobler motives
  • dramatize your ideas
  • throw down a challenge

be a leader — how to change people without giving offense or rousing resentment

  • begin with praise and honest appreciation
  • call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  • talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  • ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  • let the other person save face
  • praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  • give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  • use encouragement. make the fault seem easy to correct
  • make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

three valuable lessons and takeaways from the principles outlined above are:

  • you can make a great first impression just by smiling
  • you can be interesting to others by letting them talk about themselves
  • if you want to convince people of anything; get them to say “yes” a lot

i’ll sort of summarize and elaborate on these three valuable lessons below:

more than half of our day to day communication is based on body language so the emotions you bestow upon someone when you smile can be hugely impactful to your relationship with them.

something that may be difficult to comprehend, but can change the way you interact with people for the better is that you don’t even have to talk to be interesting. your ability to give someone your full attention, not interrupt them and actively listen to what they have to say could mean the difference between someone thinking that you’re interesting or you’re not. humans are naturally self-centered; allowing them to talk about themselves gets them excited.

3 steps to succeed in convincing people of anything include:

  • be nice. smile, listen, be polite, be patient
  • make it clear that your goals are the same. make the person you’re speaking to believe that you share the same interests and vision. (don’t lie to them; you should hopefully believe in what it is being discussed/sold anyway)
  • ask lots of small questions that they answer with “yes”. every “yes” that you get increases the probability that the final answer they give you to whatever you ask (usually a bigger ask) will be a “yes”. human consistency bias has a lot to do with this.

key ways to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument include:

  • welcome the disagreement
  • distrust your first instinctive impression
  • control your temper
  • listen first
  • look for areas of agreement
  • be honest
  • promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully
  • thank your opponents sincerely for their interest
  • postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem

a quote i recently read on Twitter that speaks very well to controlling temper is:

remember what Mr. Carnegie mentioned about emotion, right? it couldn’t be more true.

this is a great book, which i recommend everybody reads. it will change the way you think and deal with people.


sign up for my newsletter