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

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a 1936 self-help book written by Dale Carnegie. Over 30 million copies have been sold worldwide, making it

 Carnegie was a traveling salesman and had a brief stint in acting. Students wanted to pay him to teach them public speaking; this was when he realized this skill was valuable and part of his sales success. So he founded his own Dale Carnegie institute. How to win friends and influence people was one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published.

Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies worldwide. Everyone, and I mean everyone, can learn something from how to win friends & influence people. The principles in the book are simple but something many of us needs help to use or remember (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

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

This summary will discuss Carnegie’s four key concepts; each of these has several vital principles we will summarize (How to Win Friends and Influence People):

– Fundamental techniques in handling people.

– Ways to make people like you.

– How to win people to your way of thinking.

– How to change people without giving or arousing resentment.

Fundamental techniques for handling people

Carnegie’s first concept is about handling people and what techniques to use. There are three fundamental principles that you need to follow when handling people, whether they are acquaintances, colleagues, employees, or employers (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

– Don’t criticize, condemn or complain

– Give honest and sincere appreciation

– Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Try to be understanding.

Honesty is everything

Carnegie’s first principle encourages getting to know people and understanding what makes them tick. The key is finding out what motivates their behavior, personality, and actions. Instead of instantly criticizing, condemning, or complaining about someone, gain empathy and understanding. Show some kindness is always beneficial for both parties. Be tolerant and sympathetic when required (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

The second principle gives honest and sincere appreciation is essential. We’re all human, and we all enjoy feeling appreciated. When you show someone appreciation and are honest.

“To know all is to forgive all.”

people will recognize your sincerity; they’ll be able to tell if you’re saying what you think they want to hear. People will never forget the genuine appreciation expressed through kind words; it lifts them up and makes them feel good about themselves (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Make them want it too

Carnegie explains that the only way you’re ever going to convince anyone to do something you want them to do is to make them want to do it. We are stubborn; we have to feel motivated to do things instead of boasting about ideas we’ve had and something we need to be done. Please sit back, let others think they came up with the idea themselves, and let them feel responsible for it and own it. This will create a drive within them to want to succeed, and you will reap the benefits (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

“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 (How to Win Friends and Influence People).”

Ways to make people like you

We all crave acceptance from others; Carnegie’s second concept outlines six principles to help you get others to like you.

– Be genuinely interested in other people.

– Smile.

– Remember that a person’s name is essential.

– Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.

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

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

It’s not all about you.

Carnegie reminds us that to make genuine friendships, you have to be there to help others, not just to get the help you need. If you can show a genuine interest in other people, you’ll be well on getting people to like you (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

It’s not all about you – To future a relationship, you must go above and beyond for other people. It would be best if you showed them that they are worth your time and energy and that you can be thoughtful, sympathetic, and selfless (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

An example that Carnegie uses to exemplify this is that when the then prince of Wales was due for a tour around South America, he spent months learning Spanish. He did this to make appearances and speak in the native language so that everyone would have the opportunity to understand what he was saying, not just those able to speak English. This shows that he went above and beyond for the natives; he spent time and energy learning a language so that everyone could be included (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Practice your smile

“Your smile is a messenger of your goodwill. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it.”

Practice your smile – It’s hard to explain how impactful a smile can be. Carnegie explains that.

you have no idea how someone’s day might be going, the personal pressure they are under. But a simple smile from someone they know or a stranger can help lift their mood and motivate them to smile.

Smiling makes you seem relatable and approachable. But, on the other hand, don’t walk around with a constant frown, or you’ll put people off.

It’s all in the name.

“Remember that a person’s name is the most important sound in any language to that person (How to Win Friends and Influence People).”

Your name is rightfully yours; it’s part of your identity and sets you apart. So take note when people tell you their names and repeat them back to them. We love to hear our names; it makes us feel unique and essential. Carnegie encourages you to use this tactic with everyone, whether the coffee barista at your local cafĂ© or the senior executive at your firm (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

It’s all in the name – Listen, listen, listen!

It’s not enough to sit silently while someone talks; you must actively listen and be genuinely interested. An excellent way to express your attentiveness is to ask questions about the topic the other person is discussing and encourage them to delve deeper into the conversation. We love to talk about ourselves, so people often don’t even need a lot of prompting; give them the opportunity and listen (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Listen -” Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than in you and your issues.”

What are their interests?

Carnegie explains that you both reap the benefits when you talk about someone else’s interests. You receive a new reward from each person when you speak to someone (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

What are their interests? 

How to win people into your way of thinking

This section of Carnegie’s book has 12 principles, all focused on encouraging others to your way of thinking. Here’s how Carnegie recommends you do that:

How do you win people into your way of thinking 

  1. The only way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes!”
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that an idea is theirs.
  8. Try to see things from their point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic to their opinions and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Avoid Arguments

Carnegie explains that 90% of the time, arguments don’t end well for either party. Both walk away firmly backing themselves; the result is that everyone ends up more convinced that they are, in fact, right.

It’s scarce that an argument comes to a resolution (How to Win Friends and Influence People). Instead, people get fed up arguing, and nothing has changed.

“There is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument – and that is to avoid it (How to Win Friends and Influence People).”

Avoid arguments – Be respectful of people’s opinions.

It’s important to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. And Carnegie emphasizes the importance of never telling someone they are wrong. Whether it’s your spouse, a colleague, or a customer. Even if you disagree, don’t tell them they are wrong, as you will only rile them up. Instead, remain diplomatic; you will find it easier to get your point across (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Be respectful of people’s opinions. – Admit it when you are wrong

It happens to the best of us; we are all wrong sometimes. And Carnegie recommends that if you are wrong, admit it as quickly and definitely as possible. Being honest is a trait that everyone admires, and by acknowledging that you are wrong, people will respect you and trust you. If you instantly put up a defense, you’re only going to look bad.” by fighting, you never get enough, but by yielding, you get more than you expected (How to Win Friends and Influence People).”

Admit it when you are wrong – Be friendly.

There are two ways you can approach any new situation or person. You can be friendly, warm, and welcoming. Or cold, unfriendly, and unapproachable. People are likelier to respond how you want them to if you are friendly and kind. It’s a no-brainer.

“The friendly approach and appreciation can make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster and storming in the world (How to Win Friends and Influence People).”

Be friendly – Yes, yes!

The game aims to get the other person to say “yes, yes” immediately. Carnegie refers back to the “Socratic method.” Socrates prompted his rival with a question he knew they would have to agree on. He would continue this way, one question after another, before his opponent would find themselves agreeing to something they might never have before (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Yes – Let them talk

As humans, we love the sound of our voices. So Carnegie recommends you let the other person talk about themselves as much as possible. First, you’ll find them telling you all about their business and any problems they have. Then, prompt the conversation by asking questions (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

The key is not to interrupt; Carnegie stresses the importance of patient listening and being sincere and genuinely interested so they can feel comfortable expressing themselves honestly.

Let them talk – It’s their idea.

The seventh principle from Carnegie is to let the other person feel that the idea is theirs. Don’t be the person who constantly has all the views and opinions and tries to force them on other people.

It is wiser to make suggestions – and let the other person think out the conclusion?”

It’s their idea – See things from their point of view.

In their minds, everyone is right. Try to understand them, see what makes them tick, and what has led them to believe that their point of view is correct.” don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that.”

Put yourself in their shoes, take on their experiences, and you might be led to see why they are the way they are and why they do the things they do (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

See things from their point of view – 

Be sympathetic

Carnegie encourages us always to be sympathetic to other people’s ideas, feelings, and desires. To them, these are precious. If someone explains a tricky situation they are in that has them feeling down, the best way to respond is to tell them that you are not surprised they think the way they do and that if you were in their position, you expect you’d feel the same. Make them feel not alone. And be sincere (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Appeal to nobler motives 

When considering new people, it’s best to assume that they are honest, upfront, and will be truthful. You will likely be pleasantly rewarded by proceeding with this attitude. However, Carnegie explains that there are only a few exceptions to the rule, and those who aren’t necessarily honest, upfront and truthful will likely be shocked and possibly react in a way that might surprise them when not treated like a criminal. Innocent until proven guilty, as they say!

Dramatize your ideas

With the media saturation we are now used to, with tv, movies, etc. We have become accustomed to expecting drama. Simply telling the truth isn’t going to impress us. Carnegie encourages us to expand upon the fact, make it dramatic, vivid, and interesting, and act as if we are telling an incredible story. And this is how you’ll sell your ideas. Make everyone visualize what you’re trying to sell. They’ll be more likely to buy into the idea than if you told them the basic facts (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Throw down a challenge.

The twelfth principle of Carnegie’s tips to get people to win people into your way of thinking is to throw down a challenge. As humans, we have a love for the game, for competition, for a challenge, and for a chance to prove ourselves.

“The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove their worth, to excel, to win. That is what makes foot races and hog-calling and pie-eating contests. The desire to excel. The desire for a feeling of importance.”

Be a leader: how to change people without giving or arousing resentment

The last concept in Carnegie’s book discusses how to change people without arousing resentment; it’s about how to be an effective leader. The nine fundamental principles he covers are:

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing other people.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Using encouragement makes faults seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person feel happy about doing the thing you suggested.

Honest appreciation and praise

Begin an interaction with praise and honest appreciation. It will immediately give the other person a sense of pride and confidence. They will be warmed to you and more willing to take on what you are about to suggest (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

“Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocaine is pain-killing.”

Be indirect when talking about mistakes.

This follows from the previous principle; it’s great to start with praise and appreciation; however, if you end that statement with the word “but” and then discuss their mistake, you undo all the good you did with the first statement. If you can be indirect when talking about a mistake, a sensitive person will accept it better and learn. Direct criticism works for some people, but most of us are too afraid to hear this.

Admit your own mistakes

We are all human, and no one on this earth has ever been perfect. We’ve all made mistakes. Carnegie suggests admitting your own mistakes before you move on to talk about someone else’s. Phrase it in a way to say you can see why they made the error; it’s something you have done in the past. Carnegie believes that this will be a successful approach in convincing someone to change their behavior (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Ask questions, don’t give orders.

It’s easy to feel like you need to boss people around and that you need to tell them precisely what to do and when to do it. But Carnegie explains that

to get people to accelerate their work, describing a situation to your staff and asking them what they think is the best way to deal with it is a better approach (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

This puts the responsibility into their hands; they’ll be able to come up with ideas and consequently push through the work to get more done (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Let them save face

Nobody likes to feel shame, and there’s no need to shame another person. You’re only doing damage to their ego. Regardless of how wrong they are, you don’t want to be the one to affect their sense of self and pride.” what matters is not what I think of him but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime (How to Win Friends and Influence People).”

Always be praising

People respond better when they feel good about themselves, and this is why Carnegie encourages you to praise even the slightest improvement and ensure that every gain is recognized appropriately.

“Talk about changing people. If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come in contact with a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can transform them.”

When you criticize someone, you’re knocking them down, affecting their self-confidence, and they are likely to recede and work worse, not better. But by praising someone, you are using your power to lift them, build their confidence and give them the ability to work harder and better. People can work to their full potential if they feel recognized and appreciated (How to Win Friends and Influence People).


Carnegie encourages you to give people a fine reputation to look up to. This one’s obvious: lead by example. Give people a reason to look up to you; provide them with the desire to want to live up to your reputation.

Make it easy to fix

Carnegie explains that if someone you are dealing with has done something dumb or stupid, you should never directly tell them that. This is only going to destroy their desire to improve. Instead, it would help if you encouraged them and made it seem like there’s an easy way to fix the situation, something they can do themselves. This way, they will feel supported and encouraged and go above and beyond to improve the situation (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Make them happy

The last principle from Carnegie encourages you to make the other person feel happy about doing something. If they are so glad to do it, they are more likely to proceed and do an excellent job. So get them excited, and inspire a little passion so they can approach a task with happiness and a drive to do well (How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Key Takeaways

– It’s essential to try and understand other people.

– Try to see things from other people’s perspectives. Put yourself in their shoes.

– Always be honest and upfront.

– Learn how to be a good listener.

– Avoid arguments at all costs.

– Accept that people may have different opinions from you.

– Accept and acknowledge your own mistakes

– Encouragement and praise are essential in getting people to do things for you.

– Don’t give orders; instead, ask questions.

– Never embarrass someone else; let them keep their pride intact.



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Education Learn Solution - Best Platform to Explore Books.: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie Book Summary
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie Book Summary
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a 1936 self-help book written by Dale Carnegie. Over 30 million copies have been sold worldwide, making it
Education Learn Solution - Best Platform to Explore Books.
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