how to win friends and influence people summary

Book Summary: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Table of Contents

The Book in Three Sentences

In this summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People, you’ll learn lessons to achieve success in your professional and personal life. Originally released in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 16 million copies. This is one of the best books about human relationships.

How Will You Measure Your Life? Summary

How this Book Was Written and Why

The author assumed that a common problem most people had, especially in business, was dealing with others, so he wrote this book. In most industries, one’s financial success depends on technical knowledge, but the best skill you can develop involves speaking and dealing with people. No one can stop someone with both technical knowledge and the ability to express ideas, be a leader, and share enthusiasm. While this skill is highly coveted, most colleges didn’t offer courses of this kind back when this book was written. To satisfy that need, Carnegie prepared a short talk called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which eventually expanded into a book.

Nine Suggestions on How to Get the Most Out of This Book

  1. Keep a desire to learn
  2. Read each chapter quickly and then reread them in detail
  3. Reflect often on what you’re reading
  4. Mark your favorite parts
  5. Review the concepts from this book every month
  6. Put the concepts you read about into practice
  7. Have an accountability partner
  8. Devote a moment of your week to the process of self-examination
  9. Record your triumphs when you apply the principles

Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Chapter 1: “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive”

Don’t criticize others, you won’t change anything and you’ll be resented. Criticism is futile. On top of that, the person you’re criticizing will justify him or herself. Anyone can criticize, condemn, and complain, but it takes self-control to be forgiving.

Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain

Chapter 2: The Big Secret of Dealing with People

There’s only one way to get someone to do something and that’s by making the person want to do it. According to John Dewey, people want to be important above everything else. The desire to be important is what inspired people to do great things and terrible things too. Be anxious to praise and avoid finding faults. People do a better job when there’s approval involved. Don’t take people for granted, let them know you appreciate them.

The difference between appreciation and flattery is that the former is sincere while the latter is insincere. Appreciation is a neglected virtue and we should add it to our daily routine. By showing appreciation, you’ll forge strong connections with others. Honest appreciation gets results while criticism will fail.

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation

Chapter 3: “He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him. He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way.”

You are interested in what you want, but no one else other than you is. To influence others, talk about what they want. When you want to persuade someone, think of how you can make that person want to do it. Try to see things from the other person’s angle not just your own. The idea is that each party gets something from this negotiation.

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You

Chapter 1: Do This and You’ll Be Welcome Anywhere

To make more friends, you have to become interested in people. You can try to get people interested in you, but this will take longer and you’ll make fewer friends because people are interested in themselves. To win the attention, time, and cooperation of others, you have to show genuine interest in them. To win friends, do things for others: things that require, time, energy, and thoughtfulness. Greet people with interest and enthusiasm.

Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people

Chapter 2: A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression

Insincere facial expressions feel mechanical. A genuine smile makes an impression on people. Smiles are powerful. To succeed at anything, you first have to have fun doing it. When you don’t want to smile, force yourself to do it and this will change your mood and everyone else’s.

Principle 2: Smile

Chapter 3: If You Don’t Do This, You Are Headed for Trouble

Whenever you meet someone new, create a mental picture of that person and remember their name and some basic facts. Remembering a person’s name is one of the most effective compliments you can pay someone.

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

Chapter 4: An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist

Most people like to talk about themselves than listen to what you have to say. Listen intently and show genuine interest. Nothing is more flattering than giving someone your undivided attention. Be a good listener because this gives people a feeling of importance. They simply want to talk without receiving advice. In order to be interesting, you have to be interested first.

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

Chapter 5: How to Interest People

To interest people, find out the subject they like the most and talk about it.

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

Chapter 6: How to Make People Like You Instantly

Do something for someone without expecting anything in return. Make the other person feel important. No one likes insincere flattery, but everyone craves sincere appreciation. Do it all the time, everywhere. Little courtesies go a long way.

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

Part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Chapter 1: You Can’t Win an Argument

The best way to win an argument is by avoiding it. This is how you keep a disagreement from escalating into an argument: in a disagreeable situation we tend to be defensive, so keep calm, think, control your temper, listen, look for areas where you agree, be honest, look over your opponent’s ideas, and thank them. Suggest another meeting to get some time to reflect.

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

Chapter 2: A Sure Way of Making Enemies – and How to Avoid It

Avoid telling people they’re wrong. Don’t try to change their mind. Teach them something and hope they learn it. Even if you know you’re right, don’t start correcting someone by telling them that. The problem isn’t that people are protective of their ideas, they’re more concerned with their self-esteem. When someone states something, don’t judge it right away, try to understand it instead.

Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “you’re wrong”

Chapter 3: If You’re Wrong, Admit It

When you’re wrong, admit it. Do it quickly and with enthusiasm. Beat the other person to it. Criticize yourself if you have to. Admitting one’s mistakes takes courage. This usually solves the problem that led to your apology in the first place. Don’t defend your mistakes, just admit them.

Principle 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically

Chapter 4: A Drop of Honey

You can’t force people to change their minds and agree with you. What you can do though is use kind words and use a friendlier approach. By convincing the other person that you are a friend, you’re paving a path that might lead to an agreement.

Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way

Chapter 5: The Secret of Socrates

Avoid starting a conversation with differences. Emphasize the things you agree on first. Try to get as many yeses first to capture the other person’s attention. Hopefully, all the yeses will lead to an agreement on a potential ultimate proposal on your part.

Principle 5: Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately

Chapter 6: The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints

When you try to win someone over, let them do all the talking. Just focus on asking questions. Don’t interrupt them even if you disagree. Listen, be sincere, and encourage them to keep talking.

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

Chapter 7: How to Get Cooperation

Instead of forcing your opinions onto others, let them discover ideas on their own. Let the other person feel that those ideas are their own.

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

Chapter 8: A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You

When someone’s wrong, don’t condemn them, try to understand them instead. Try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view. This usually leads to better results and there’s less friction involved.

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

Chapter 9: What Everybody Wants

To stop arguments, use softening phrases such as “If I were you, I’d feel the same.” Most of the people you encounter crave sympathy. Give them sympathy and you’ll be loved. When dealing with someone upset, control yourself. By apologizing and sympathizing with the other person, they will apologize and sympathize with you. You’ll get more out of a situation if you control your temper and return an insult with kindness.

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

Chapter 10: An Appeal that Everbody Likes

When you want someone not to do something, appeal to their nobler motives.

Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives

Chapter 11: The Movies Do It. TV Does It. Why Don’t You Do It?

Saying the truth isn’t enough. Dramatizing it by making it more interesting or dramatic works. To get attention, you’ll have to take a similar approach. This is the way it works on TV and in movies.

Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas

Chapter 12: When Nothing Else Works, Try Thi

To get things done, encourage some friendly competition. Not to get money, but to get better. Every successful people loves the chance to excel.

Principle 12: Throw Down a Challenge

Part Four: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Chapter 1: If You Must Find Fault, This Is the Way to Begin

The easiest way to hear something unpleasant is right after you’ve been praised. By Praising, you might get what you want without asking for it.

Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation

Chapter 2: How to Criticize – and Not Be Hated for It

If you start with praise, insert the word “but” in the middle and finish with criticism, the word “but” makes the person question the sincerity of the praise. In those cases, change the word “but” to “and”. Lead by example as well.

Principle 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly

Chapter 3: Talk about Your Own Mistakes First

Instead of pointing out someone else’s mistake first, talk about your own.

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

Chapter 4: No One Likes to Take Orders

Give suggestions, not orders. Trust that people will do the things they’re supposed to. Let them learn from their mistakes. This encourages cooperation instead of rebellion. Bossing people around causes resentment.

Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders

Chapter 5: Let the Other Person Save Face

Don’t threaten, criticize, or find faults. Let someone save face. Don’t hurt someone else’s pride. Regardless of who’s right and who‘s wrong, we can destroy someone else’s ego by letting someone lose face.

Principle 5: Let the other person save face

Chapter 6: How to Spur People on to Success

Praise the smallest improvements. Reinforce the good things about people, and minimize the bad ones. By focusing on the good things, the bad ones will disappear eventually. When praise is specific, it comes across as sincere.

Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”.

Chapter 7: Give a Dog a Good Name

When someone makes a serious mistake, be honest. If you want someone to improve a trait, act as if it’s one of their outstanding characteristics. This gives them a reputation to live up to. They’ll usually try to outperform themselves.

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

Chapter 8: Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct

If you emphasize someone’s mistakes, you’re discouraging them. If you praise the good things and minimize the errors, you’re encouraging them.

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

Chapter 9: Making People Glad to Do What You Want

Make the person happy about doing what you suggest. Give them titles and authority. To change someone’s attitude or behavior, a leader should:

  1. Be sincere
  2. Know what you want the person to do
  3. Be empathetic
  4. Take into account the benefits the person should receive
  5. Match the benefits to the wants
  6. Make requests by conveying the idea that the other person will benefit

Principle 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

Further Reading

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