How to win Friends and Influence People

This is an article providing a summary “book club” reading of Mr. Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. I’m reading from the Special 70th anniversary edition (2006), Pocket book.

This is also the first book in my 2008 business books reading list.

The book has 4 sections.

1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.

If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive” – Dale Carnegie

I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.” – Ben Franklin

People very rarely criticize themselves, no matter how wrong they may be. Your criticism will not be welcome.

Criticism puts others on the defensive, hurts self-esteem and builds resentment.
Positive Reinforcement works better.

Give honest and sincere appreciation.

Arouse in the other person an eager want.

2. Six Ways to Make People Like You

Become genuinely interested in other people.

  • People are most interested in themselves. If you share that interest, they will respond.
  • If you talk to people about themselves, they will keep listening.
  • Remember birthdays and other important personal details.


  • Greet others with enthusiasm.
  • A smile tells others that you like them and are glad to see them.
  • Smile even when on the phone; the smile will be clear in the tone of your voice.

Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

  • People love hearing thier names, it’s a favorite word.
  • Remember someone’s name and a few personal details.

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

  • Give other’s your exclusive attention. Urge others to talk about themselves.
    By simply listening and asking questions, others will think you are a great conversationalist.
  • Listen to others’ concerns/complaints, you will ease tension and build relationships.
    • Be eager to hear from those who may complain about you or your those you represent, however wrong those complaints may be.
    • Impress upon them how eager you are to hear them.
    • Thank them for bringing up their concerns.

Talk in the terms of the other man’s interest.

Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

  • People yearn to feel important and appreciated.
  • Continually recognizing someone’s expertise and capabilities will make them feel important. They will want to demonstrate their expertise by possibly helping you.
  • Give others clear authority over a part of a larger project and help them understand their tangible contributions. They’ll become more committed to the success of the project.
  • Be sincere and avoid flattery.
  • Use little phrases such as “I’m sorry to trouble you”, “would you be so kind as to”, “would you mind?”, “thank you”
  • I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.” – Charles Schwab.

3. Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Avoid arguments.

  • Most arguments end with each contestant more certain of their opinions and less willing to change them.
  • Even if you win, you hurt the pride of the loser and the loser may resent you for it.
    “If you argue, rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory, because you will never get your opponent’s good will.” – Ben Franklin
  • welcome the disagreement; remember that “when two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary“.
  • distrust your first instinctive impression; control your temper; listen first
  • look for areas of agreement
  • be honest
  • promise to think over your opponent’s ideas and study them carefully
  • thank your opponents sincerely for their interests
  • postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem.

Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.

  • People don’t like to admit even to themselves that may be wrong, but when handled gentlely they can overcome that hesitancy.
  • Telling others they are wrong:
    • may be considered a putdown to their intelligence.
    • often pushes them to defend and further embrace their positions.
  • Body language can also communicate “you’re wrong.”
  • Don’t immediately assume you’re right. Demonstrating your willingness to rationally examine the facts will inspire others to do likewise.
  • I forbade myself the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fised opinion such as certainly , undoubtedly and I adopted instead I conceive, I apprehend, I imagineor it appears to me at present.” – B. Franklin.

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

  • If another is about to criticize you, don’t let them start!
    • People often enjoy criticizing others to promote their own righteousness. Once started, the other party may expand their critique to include unrelated subject areas.
    • The negative emotions may be long remembered and could damage relationships in the long-term.
  • A harsh self-rebuke may prompt the other party to soften their critique; however, too many exaggerated, harsh self-rebukes will lead the other to question your sincerity.
  • Admitting your errors clears guilt and frees everyone to move toward solutions more quickly.

Begin in a friendly way.

  • Opening conversations with sincere praise, appreciation and/or sympathy will disarm your conversation partner.
  • Beginning with a friendly tone will free the others to be more open minded.
  • Example: One fellow who couldn’t afford his rent increase invited his landlord over for the closing inspection. The tenant complimented the landlord on the building’s location, good management and gave the landlord a sympathetic ear for his problems with other tenants. After only casually mentioning he couldn’t afford the increased rent, the landlord reduced the rent without having been asked directly.

Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.

  • Emphasize things all parties already agree on.
  • As Socrates suggested, win one concession after another until, without realizing it, your opponent is forced to agree to a position that would have otherwise been fiercely rejected.
  • In today’s information dense environment, we actively seek to reject proposals and information. Getting others to say yes immediately drives momentum in the direction of acceptance.

Let the other person do the talking.

  • Especially when angry, allow others to finish talking themselves out.
  • Don’t interrupt. Others won’t pay attention to you until they’ve had thier own say.

Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.

  • People are more committed to their own ideas.
  • Make suggestions and let others come to the desired conclusions.
  • It may be in your best interest not to claim any credit.

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

  • Understanding another’s point of view and motivation is the key to understanding their decisions and personality.
  • Ask yourself:
    • Why would someone want to do as I ask?
    • Is there some point of information we are interpreting differently?

Sympathize with the other person.

  • Most people hunger for sympathy.
  • Sympathize truthfully: “If I were you, I’d feel the same way under your circumstances.”
  • Example: A hotel had to inconvenience their guests as the escalator repaired for 8 hours. In order to get the hotel manager to consent to the repairs, the repair company reclassified their work as preventative maintenance that would prevent an eventual two week shut down in the future.

Appeal to the  nobler motives.

  • People often have multiple reasons for doing something. At least one will sound good as an external justification. The real reasons may often be hidden. Appeal to the one that sounds good.
  • Example: A celebrity wanted to avoid having an unflattering photo published. He asked the paper who owned the photo not to publish it, as his mother disliked the picture.
  • Before attempting to drive someone to action, ask yourself, How do I make this person want to do it?
      If there is any one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” – Henry Ford
  • Example: Rather than force his young son to go to kindergarten, one man’s family began engaging in kindergarten activities – finger painting, etc. – while excluding the young child. After seeing all the exciting things he would be doing in kindergarten, the child was eager to go.

Dramatize your ideas.

  • This is the day of dramatization; the truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic.

Throw down a challenge.

  • Stimulate competition among co-workers.
  • Challenge someone’s capabilities/self-perceptions.
    • To a body builder: “Is he strong enough to get the job done?”
    • To help persuade a job applicant to take the job “This job will require someone really motivated to succeed, it isn’t a position for everyone.”

4. Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

  • It is easier to take criticism after we’ve heard some praise.
  • Look for things done well before calling attention to failings.
  • Follow up sincere praise with an “and” rather than a “but” before delivering criticism. Otherwise, your praise may seem contrived and artificial.
    • Example: Instead of, “We’re proud of your grades son, but if he had tried better in algebra they would be a lot better” to “We’re proud of your grades son, and if he keep it up his algebra grades will be even better next semester.”

Call attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly.

  • Direct, harsh criticism can destroy incentive to improve.
  • Ask the other party to consider alternative points of view, i.e. “Is this process the most efficient way to get the job done?” and “I wonder how user-friendly this feature will be.”
  • Instead of “Your idea isn’t very good” try “This idea may not work in the present environment.”

Talk about your own mistakes first.

  • The pain of criticism is easier to bear when you share your own mistakes.
  • The others will be more motivated to correct themselves.

Ask questions instead of directly giving orders.

  • Example: “Would it make sense to organize these alphabetically?” instead of direct orders to organize alphabetically.
    • Others are more motivated and more likely to contribute in unexpected ways than if you had given them direct orders.

Let the other person save face.

  • By not giving the others a chance to avoid embarrassment, they may become defensive and work hard to avoid admitting their failings.
  • Damaging someone’s ego will build resentment in the long rung.
  • Always try to give criticism in private. Don’t make the individual look bad in front of his/her peers.
  • even if you are right, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face.

Praise every improvement.

  • Praise will reinforce the growth of desired behavior and bad habits “will atrophy due to lack of attention.”
    • Try to be as specific as possible – it should come from the heart and be completely sincere.
        Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.” – Dale Carnegie

Give them a fine reputation to live up to.

Showing others that you respect their capabilities in some capacity is empowering and earns you their respect.

Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.

You can enable others to succeed by making faults seem easy to correct and new skills seem easy to learn.

Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

  • Do this by using the techniques discussed earlier. Examples:
    • Make one feel important to do something.
    • Ask someone if they would be willing to accept an important role, even when you know they would jump at the chance.
    • Give others titles and authority toward completing your goals, fueling their perceptions of self-worth as they complete the tasks you’ve given them.
    • Example: Napoleon created the legion of honor and distributed 15000 crosses to his soldiers and then said “men are ruled by toys”.
    • Step by Step Guide:
      1. Be Sincere. Don’t promise things you can’t do or deliver.
      2. Know preciesly what it is you want the other person to do.
      3. Be Empathetic. Ask yourself what others want.
      4. Focus on any benifits the other person will receive. Forget about the benefits to yourself.
      5. Explain how those benefits match the other person’s wants.
      6. Frame requests to communicate that the other person will personally benefit.
      Example: “John, clean the stock room now.” Vs “John, if we clean the stock room now we won’t have to deal with it later.”

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