Self Improvement


A review of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

by on Sunday, April 5th, 2009, under Books, Reviews, Self Improvement, Well-Being

How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I recently picked up this book to learn how to become a more effective speaker not knowing that I would take so much away from it.  The lessons in this book seem to extend far beyond the limits of speaking, and I find that it is a very good read for anyone who assumes a leadership role in business and in life.  Whether you are leading a team of employees through a tight deadline or a group of children to the dentist, this book will help you decide how to handle many situations and get the results you want.  Dale Carnegie introduces his ideas while also providing many useful (and true) stories that illustrate how to execute the techniques.

The main point I take away from this book is to always make the interactions you have with people a positive experience for those people.  For example, don’t criticize people directly for doing things wrong, but rather focus on their strong points and subtly indicate ways they can improve.  Make them think that the ideas of what needs improvement were their ideas and they will run with them.  Don’t argue with people; you can never win an argument.  If you’re wrong, you will lose, and even in you are right, you will have left the other person with damaged pride and you ultimately spent all of your time arguing rather than getting anything done.  If you simply admit that you may be wrong (even if you know you are not) and if you emphasize the points in their argument that you agree with, the situation will be diffused and the other person will start listening to you with an agreeable attitude.  This is one area where I know I struggle because I am “always right” in my own mind.  It will be interesting to see how my interactions change with people.

After reading this book, it is clear to me that some of my past employers (and my current employer) have a grasp on the concepts presented in this book.  Maybe they have even read it.  The interesting thing about the companies who utilize the techniques in this book is that their employees generally work towards the common interest of the company, not just for a paycheck.  The general mood amongst employees is positive and turnover rates are lower.  Of my departments current employees, the average employment term is approximately 8 years.  I honestly believe that there is nothing more important to this factor than the leadership techniques of the management and the owners.  We are all friends outside of work and most of us enjoy coming into the office on a day to day basis.

The more recent revisions of the book have four major sections which cover the following concepts in depth.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a man’s Name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in the terms of the other man’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. Avoid arguments.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
  3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
  6. Let the other person do the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Sympathize with the other person.
  10. Appeal to noble motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes first.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.


I think that everyone could benefit from reading this book.  Some of the stories provided seem to be a little far fetched to think their results would be common, but that is my only criticism and I would call this book “money well spent”.

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Sunday, April 5th, 2009 Books, Reviews, Self Improvement, Well-Being No Comments