Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (Book Summary)

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence people published in 1936 is one of the best-selling books of all time. Over 16 million copies have been sold already and it was on the 19th number on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential books.  Library of Congress survey ranked Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People was the seventh most influential book in American history.  Similarly, this book ranks as the 11th highest selling non-fiction book on Amazon of all time.

In its first year, How to Win Friends and Influence People underwent through 17 print editions and sold over 250,000 copies within the first three months of its publication. Dale Carnegie regarded this book as “action-book”. I believe, one of the main reasons why this book is so popular is because it presents an idea that we can change people’s perception and attitude towards us by changing our own attitude towards them.

Warren Buffet read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” when he was 20 years old and to this day he regards the book as one of the bests.

Dale carnegie

As per the book, here are the 8 things we can get after reading it:

  1. Get out of a mental rut, think new thoughts, acquire new visions, discover new ambitions.
  2. Make friends quickly and easily.
  3. Increase your popularity.
  4. Win People to your way of thinking.
  5. Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done.
  6. Handle complaints, avoid arguments, keep your human contacts smooth and pleasant.
  7. Become a better speaker, a more entertaining conversationalist.
  8. Arouse enthusiasm among your associates.

In order to get to this achievement here are the things to take care of:

Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain

By nature, humans are reluctant to admit their faults. It is not a good idea to criticize people as it puts the person in a defensive mood, hurts his sense of importance, arouses resentment and more importantly injures precious personal pride.

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation

Appreciation is a powerful tool through his we can encourage and motivate people. Because of the appreciation, people get the feeling of importance, compliment and appreciated. However, we need to be careful enough if we’re giving someone an honest appreciation right from our heart or just the simple flatters.

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

To get someone really into the conversation is to forget about our perspective on something and begin to see things from the other people point of view. This doesn’t mean we completely ignore our own perspectives. But it’s basically about balancing thoughts from dual perspectives.

Dale Carnegie book

Part 2: Six Ways To Make People Like You

Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” If we need to have a genuine friendship, the only way is to be genuinely interested in people and their interests.

Principle 2: Smile

We talk a lot about the significance of Smiling. And it’s a proven fact as well. One of the best statements I found in this book is “Smile when you answer/speak on the phone. It “comes through” in your voice. It doesn’t cost anyone to smile and has great power to make someone’s day or in some cases the life.

Principle 3: Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

This is where I struggle a lot even though I am good at remembering people. “The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names in the world put together.” If we’re able to remember people’s name, they feel like they’re valued and given importance as well.

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

An important point from this principle is “Don’t argue with angry people. Listen and let them get their anger out. It will fade afterward.” It’s also mentioned that the easiest way to become a good conversationalist is by being a good listener.

Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.

The best thing you can probably do while having a conversation with someone is to talk about the things s/he is interested in. They will feel valued and value us in return as well.

Principle 6: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

“Always make the other person feel important.” It’s just that we need to make sure it’s done in a sincere and appreciative way.

Further Reading: 10 Best books to read for beginners; My recommendation!

Part 3: Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Whenever we argue with someone, regardless of the result we still lose.

Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re Wrong.”

I am not very sure if I agree to this point. Why not point out the mistake? Just because if we point out the mistake, do we disrespect them? I don’t think so.

Principle 3: If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

If we are sorry for the mistake we do, people trust us and it’s easier to rectify them later as well.

Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way

“A drop of honey can catch more flies than a gallon of gall.” The friendly approach creates a receptive mood.

Principle 5: Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.

The main idea is not to differ from the other person in the first place.

Principle 6: Let the other person do a great deal of talking.

It’s better to listen to other people than boasting about ourselves, Isn’t it?

Principle 7: Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.

Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Principle 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives. 

If we can appeal to others’ noble motives, we can successfully convince them to follow our ideas.

Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas.

Principle 12: Throw down a challenge.

People love challenges and it’s important to keep curiosity to meet next time. The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. Not in a sordid, money-getting way, but in a desire to excel.

How to Win friends and Influence People

Part 4: Be a leader; How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Principle 1:  Begin with praise and honest appreciation

Principle 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly

Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

Principle 5: Let the other person save face

Principle 6: Praise every improvement

Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

Principle 9: Making the other person happy about doing what you suggest

Important Quotes from the book

“Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” 

“When you are displeased, it is much easier to criticize and condemn than it is to try to understand the other person’s viewpoint; it is frequently easier to find fault than to find praise; it is more natural to talk about what you want than to talk about what the other person wants.”

“Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.”

“The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.”

“The Deepest Urge in human nature is the desire to be important….always make the other person feel important.”

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do.”

“Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him.”

“Ask questions instead of giving orders.”

Further Reading: Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho; Book Review!

“Three-fourths of the people you will meet are hungering for sympathy. Give it to them and they will love you.”

“Ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.”

“Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.”

“One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.”

“To be interesting, be interested.”

“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.”

“You can’t win an argument. If you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”

“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.”

“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?” 

“The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”

All in all, I loved this book and I’d definitely recommend you to go through this one.

Have you read this book? How did you like it? 🙂 

Happy reading. Cheers!

About the author

I come from the land of Gurkhas; the brave soldiers who fought tirelessly and didn’t let any countries rule Nepal. Because of those Gorkhalis, the Nepalese are proud to call “Nepal has always been an independent nation so far.” Nepalese Flag is the world’s only non-quadrilateral national flag; red color symbolizing the bravery and blue symbolizes peace and harmony. What a proud thing. Also Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom in the past and now a secular state welcoming people from all the religions. Nepal is a country of living heritages and Kathmandu a city of temples. All in all, Nepal is a country with Unity in Diversity. Thank you for reading the boring random shits. These things don’t relate to me in anyway. And those are not the things that describe me. If I introduce myself with the common voices of any nationality, group or community, it’s nothing but a sheer stupidity. A part of it can be a shared introduction but not fully. So who am I? I don’t know who I am. It’s been years of SEARCH but nothing has been excavated yet. And also, I am not the right person to describe who I am. It's you who know me and whatever I say about me makes no sense. You tell me who I am ;)

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