How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is a classic, and needs no introduction.

There are thirty principles in the book laid out in 4 main sections, and we’ll cover each with a quote from the book, and a sentence or two of commentary.

Let’s get started.

Section #1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

“Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes them strive to justify themselves.”

Criticizing other people never works to get what you want. Stop doing it.

2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

Being appreciated is one of the core human needs that is rarely satisfied. Be generous in your appreciation for the people in your life and they will love you for it. Just make sure it’s sincere.

3. 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.”

The only person who is interested in what you want is you. And everybody else is only interested in what they want. So, give people what they are interested in, not what you are interested in.

It seems obvious, but most people don’t practice it.

Section #2: Six ways to make people like you

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

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

Instead of spending so much time worrying about how to be interesting, focus more time on being interested.

2. Smile.

“You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.”

A smile is worth its weight in gold. First, it puts you in a good mood. Go ahead and try to be miserable while you are smiling. Second, it tells the other person, without saying a word, that you like them and are genuinely happy to be in their presence.

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

“The average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together.”

Using a person’s name while you are in a conversation with them is the best way to make them feel important.

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

“If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.”

Instead of thinking about what you are going to say next in a conversation, slow yourself down and truly listen to the other person. Being a good listener is better than being a good talker.

5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

“The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.”

Theodore Roosevelt was famous for staying up late the night before a guest was expected the following day, reading about whatever the guest was most interested in. That would allow him to talk with the other person about what interested them most.

This is like a rapport super power.

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

“If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return – if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.”

In short, we should go out of our way to do something that makes the other person feel important – and do it happily without expecting anything in return.

Section #3: Win people to your way of thinking

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

“There is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument – and that is to avoid it.”

It’s impossible to win an argument, because even if we are the victor, the other person feels inferior. And that’s a surefire way to make somebody reject your thinking.

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

“I’m not revealing anything new in the this chapter. Two thousand years ago, Jesus said: “Agree with thine adversary quickly.””

Nobody likes to be told they are wrong. They do, however, like to be understood. Always show that you understand the other person’s opinion, even if you don’t agree with it.

3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

“Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.”

If you know you are wrong about something, make sure you admit it before somebody else has to point it out to you.