Summary of the Book – How to Win Friends and Influence People

Although it was published in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People is still one of the best self-help books on the market. If you want to help give your career a boost with some self-help classics, there is no better place to start than this. Written at the height of the Great Depression, Dale Carnegie’s classic gem is still incredibly valuable today.

Dale Carnegie shares the same last name as the famous industrialist, but the two are not related. Dale was born into extreme poverty, so all the advice he shares in How to Win Friends is gleaned from his own hard-earned – and extremely successful – experience.

Carnegie’s book aims to help its readers grasp the way psychology applies to life and thus help increase your popularity, win people over to your way of thinking, win new clients, be a better salesperson, handle complaints smoothly, and much more. One of the early sections of the book explains fundamental techniques for handling people: don’t criticize or condemn; give honest appreciation; and arouse in the other person eager want. Next, the book moves on to discuss six ways to make people like you. Basically, Carnegie says that you need to be interested in other people, that you should smile, that you should remember that everyone likes hearing their name, that you should be a good listener, that you should talk in terms of the other person’s interest, and that you should make the other person feel important.

Next, Carnegie, moves on to give some valuable advice about how to win people to your way of thinking. He outlines this how-to with 12 steps:

Avoid arguments – the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid one.

She respect for other people’s opinions.

Quickly admit it when you are wrong.

Throw down a challenge.

Start off in a friendly manner.

Dramatize your ideas for maximal impact.

Let the other person do a lot of the talking.

Appeal to nobler motives, not baser instincts.

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

Be sympathetic.

Start with questions to which you know the answer is yes.

Let the other person think an idea is theirs.

The book also has a valuable chapter on how to be a good leader without arousing resentment. Some of the advice includes beginning with praise, letting the other person save face, using encouragement, making the other person happy about doing what you say, praising improvement, asking questions instead of giving orders, and talking about your own mistakes. Some of this stuff seems intuitive once you read it, but it’s not something you’d think of on your own.