How to Win Friends & Influence People – A Summary

14 11 2011

EVERYONE WHO has read the book “How to Win Friends & Influence People”, by Dale Carnegie, seems to swear on it. I recently found a good summary of the main points made in the book, and would like to share it here.

My thoughts: Despite the cheesy/sales-ish title, the book is one of the best ever written on good etiquette, manners and decent behaviour that if studied and followed will make you a better person to be around, and will take you far in life and in business.

Simple good manners, etiquette and genuine consideration for others is sadly fast becoming a lost art in the 21st century. The reality is, handing your business card around like a flyer and using fast-moving, high pressure spin tactics will get you nowhere, no matter how ambitious you are. Conversely, when you DO make a genuine concern and consideration for others your your primary goal, and make true “win win” outcomes your target, not only will others be better off, but YOU will be too. Being nice doesn’t mean you stay in the background and be walked over. It’s about being smart and looking out for those around you – and the person who does that will ALWAYS finish at the top in the long run.

“How to Win Friends & Influence People” contains truths that are just as relevant and powerful today as they were when Dale Carnegie sat down in his dusty study to write. Because no matter what era (1900s, 2000’s), people are essentially the same and we all are driven by the same internal factors.

Here is the summary of the main points this book makes. This is edited from the summary I found written by Frederick Giasson who runs the IT industry blog

–          Quinton

How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Essential 8

  1. Do not criticize. “Criticism is futile because it puts a man on the defensive, and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a man’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses his resentment.”
  2. Give honest, sincere appreciation. “the deepest urge in human nature is ‘the desire to be important.’”.
  3. Get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle. The thing here is to give to the other person what he wants, and not what you want.
  4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  5. Smile. It speaks volumes and you actually smile less than you think you do.
  6. Remember names. “Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.”
  7. Be a good listener. “Encourage others to talk about themselves”.
  8. Make the other person feel important. “And do it sincerely”.


9 Ways to… Win someone to your way of thinking:

    1. Begin in a friendly way –aggression will get you nowhere and will only put someone on the defensive.
    2. Don’t let a negotiation become a fight. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
    3. Show respect for the other person’s opinions
    4. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
    5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” as soon as you can; work to create a sense that you are on the same page.
    6. Let the other person do a lot of the talking; let them feel that the idea is theirs
    7. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view; be sympathetic with their ideas and desires
    8. Appeal to the other person’s nobler motives – everyone wants to do some good or be seen to do so.
    9. Dramatize your ideas – paint a picture, capture their imagination and watch their buy-in skyrocket.

4 Ways to… Correct/change someone without creating resentment/offence:

  1. Begin with praise, encouragement and honest appreciation. Praise even the smallest improvements. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” In doing this you are giving the other person a fine reputation to live up to, which no-one can resist!
  2. If you need to call attention to someone’s mistakes, do it indirectly, not directly or bluntly  – let the other person save face and they will appreciate it. Also make the fault seem easy to correct, not a dramatic problem.
  3. Ask the right questions to lead others to come up with the right answers, instead of giving direct orders
  4. Make the other person feel happy about doing the thing you suggest.



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