How to win friends and influence people

How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

I believe this book to be one of the top “must-read” books for everyone. As the author says, “My popularity, my happiness and sense of worth depend to no small extent upon my skill in dealing with people”. Therefore, the better we are skilled at dealing with people, the better our popularity, happiness, and sense of worth. I think you will agree that it this is extremely important in life!

In this post I will give you a summary of the core concepts described in this book, along with my observations. I do hope you will find value in them, and hopefully intrigue you to buy the book and read it!


  1. Don’t criticise, condemn or complain
  • Criticism is futile – it kills the other person’s ambitions. Don’t forget that people are creatures of emotion (prejudices, pride, vanity): for most, logic comes second, after emotions.
  • Rewarding good behaviour is more effective than punishing bad behaviour. Approval is more effective than criticism.
  • Be understanding and forgiving!


  1. Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  • Freud said that everything we do springs from two motives, one of which being our desire to be great.
  • Everybody likes a compliment, because it nourishes their self-esteem, their craving to be appreciated, their feeling of importance. But it has to be a sincere, honest compliment – not a fake one.


  1. Arouse in the other person an eager want
  • “First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
  • To influence others, talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
  • Every act you have ever performed it was because you wanted something.
  • Get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle.
  • Customers like to feel that they are buying, not being sold.
  • Increase your tendency to think always in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle.
  • An individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage!
  • When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves. They will then regard it as their own.


  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  • People are not interested in you – they are interested in themselves.
  • The most important quality for a salesperson to possess is to think “I am grateful because these people come to see me”.
  • Remember people’s birthdays!
  • When somebody calls you on the phone, smile! Say “hello” in tones that indicate how pleased you are to hear them. Have a tone of voice that radiates interest and enthusiasm.
  • Become genuinely interested in them and their problem.


  1. Smile! 🙂
  • A smile says “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
  • A real smile, heart-warming, that comes from within.
  • Smile when talking on the phone -> it comes through in your voice.
  • “People rarely succeed in anything unless they have fun doing it.”
  • You must have a good time meeting people if you can expect them to have a good time meeting you!
  • If you don’t feel like smiling, force yourself to smile! Act as if.
  • “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
  • Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it!
  • Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do / Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be.


  1. A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • Remember people’s names! Take the time and energy necessary to concentrate and repeat and fix names indelibly in your mind – Don’t make excuses (e.g. I’m not good with names).
  • Calling them by their name makes people feel important.
  • If someone introduces himself/herself and you don’t hear the name clearly, say “So sorry, I didn’t get your name clearly”. Then, if unusual, ask, “How is it spelled?”
  • Repeat the name in the conversation several times.
  • Try to associate it with the person’s features, expression, and general appearance.
  • Use the nametags that people wear – say their names!


  1. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  • “How interesting! Do tell me about it.”
  • Become genuinely interested in the other person, let them talk themselves out. Gives them a feeling of importance.
  • Be a friendly, sympathetic listener – no need to give advice.
  • Don’t interrupt in the middle of a sentence!
  • To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that the other person will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
  1. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • Find out about the other person’s subject of interest.
  • “The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.”


  1. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
  • What is there about him/her that I can honestly admire?
  • Pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return.
  • Always make the other person feel important.
  • “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
  • “Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.”


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

  • You can’t win an argument. Even if you win it, you lose it.
  • Why prove to someone that they are wrong? Is that going to make them like you?
  • Don’t waste your years arguing – keep your mouth shut. It pays.
  • If you win the argument, you will never get your opponent’s good will.
  • Even if you’re dead right, as far as changing another’s mind is concerned, you will probably be just as futile as if you were wrong.
  • A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by fact, diplomacy, conciliation, and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.
  • How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:
    • Welcome the disagreement (“thank you for bringing this to my attention”).
    • Distrust your first instinctive impression. Don’t be defensive. Be careful and calm.
    • Control your temper (you can measure the size of a person by what makes him angry).
    • Listen first, do not defend or debate. Let them finish.
    • Look for areas of agreement and be honest.
    • Apologise for your mistakes and promise to think over your opponent’s ideas.
    • Thank them sincerely for their interest.
    • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem.


Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”

  • You can’t be sure of being right all times, so why should you tell other people they are wrong?
  • Never begin by announcing, “I am going to prove so-and-so to you.”
  • Begin like this: “Well now, look. I thought otherwise but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I’m wrong, I want to be put right. Let’s examine the facts.”
  • Always admit that you may be wrong.
  • Instead of “certainly”, “undoubtedly” etc., say “I conceive”, “I imagine”, or “It so appears to me at present”.
  • Judge people by their own principles – not by your own.
  • Don’t tell them they’re wrong, don’t get them stirred up – Use a little diplomacy!


If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically

  • If I condemn myself, that gives a feeling of importance to the other person. For example: “You’ve caught me red-handed. I’m guilty. I have no alibies, no excuses.”
  • If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn’t it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves?
  • Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say. And say them before that person has a chance to say them.
  • “Mr X, if what you say is true, I am at fault and there is absolutely no excuse for my blunder. I should have known better … I’m ashamed of myself.”


Begin in a friendly way

  • “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”
  • People don’t want to change their minds. They can’t be forced or driven to agree with you or me. But they may possibly be led to, if we are gentle and friendly – ever so gentle and ever so friendly.


Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately (Socratic method)

  • Begin by emphasising the things on which you agree. Keep emphasising.
  • Get the other person saying “yes, yes” at the outset. Get a number of them.
  • Look at things from the other person’s viewpoint and try to get them to say “yes” by asking gentle questions, rather than tell them that he or she is wrong.


Let the other person do a great deal of the talking

  • Let them talk themselves out. Ask questions.
  • Listen patiently and with an open mind. Encourage them to express their ideas fully.
  • Almost every successful person likes to reminisce about his/her early struggles – ask them!
  • Ask them to share their joys with you, and only mention your achievements when they ask.


Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers 

  • No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying on our own accord or acting on our own ideas.


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

  • Other people may be totally wrong, but they don’t think so. Don’t condemn them – instead, try to understand them. Try honestly to put yourself in their place.
  • Before asking anyone, pause and think the whole thing through from their point of view.
  • Get an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view, and see things from that person’s angle, as well as your own.


Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires 

  • 75% of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy.
  • “I don’t blame you at all for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.” This is a magic phrase.


Appeal to the nobler motives

  • People are honest and they want to discharge their obligations.


Dramatize your ideas

  • Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship.


When nothing else works, try to throw down a challenge.

  • Stimulate competition. Most people have a desire to excel.




Begin with praise and honest appreciation

  • It’s always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
  • Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins with work with anaesthetic! The patient still gets a drilling, but the novocaine in pain killing.


Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly

  • Start with praise. Instead of following with the word “but”, change it to “and”.
  • Sensitive people may resent bitterly any direct criticism.
  • An effective way to correct others’ mistakes is to call attention to their mistakes indirectly.


Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person

  • It isn’t nearly so difficult to listen to a recital of your faults if the person criticising begins by humbly admitting that he, too, is far from impeccable.
  • Examples:
    • “You have made a mistake, but the Lord knows it’s no worse than many I have made.
    • “You are better than I was at your age.”
    • “I have very little inclination to criticise you or anyone. But don’t you think it would have been wiser if you had done…?”


Ask questions instead of giving direct orders 

  • Always give suggestions, not orders. Examples: “You might consider this”, “Do you think that would work?”, “What do you think of…”
  • Asking questions not only makes an order more agreeable, it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask.
  • People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.


Let the other person save face

  • “I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement 

  • Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit.
  • Find something to praise! – we all crave appreciation and recognition.
  • The principles taught in this book will work only when they come from the heart.


Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to


Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct 

  • Make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his/her ability to do it, that he/she has an undeveloped flair for it – and he/she will practice until the dawn in order to excel.


Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

  • Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
  • Put your request in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he or she personally will benefit.


I hope you found this description of the book’s core concepts valuable. If you are intrigued to delve deeper into this gem, here’s the book on

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