Book review: “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie – Still a valuable guide

Posted on: November 21, 2013

I first read “How to win friends and influence people” way back in January 1984. That’s nearly 30 years ago (the book was actually written back in 1938). It had a profound effect on me – despite the fact that I am a psychologist and have read thousands of books on psychology, selling, change management and leadership. Yes, it is a little old and there is more up to date advice on a few of the points in other books. But I re-read it every couple of years as it contains good advice for all sorts of situations – whether networking, selling or resolving conflicts.

I urge you to read it yourself, but for those of you who are short of time, here’s a summary of the main points covered:

  • Fundamental techniques in handling people:
    • Don’t criticise,  condemn or complain
    • Give honest and sincere appreciation
    • Arouse an eager  want


  • Six ways to make people like you:
    • Become genuinely interested in other people
    • Smile
    • Remember a person’s name is the most important thing
    • Be a good listener – 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


  • Win people to your way of thinking:
    • Only way to get from an argument is to avoid it
    • Show respect for others’ opinions (never say “you’re wrong”)
    • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
    • Begin in a friendly way
    • Get the other person saying “Yes, yes” immediately
    • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
    • Let the other person feel that the idea is his/hers
    • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
    • Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
    • Appeal to the nobler motives
    • Dramatise your ideas
    • Throw down a challenge


  • Change  people without arousing resentment
    • Begin with praise and honest appreciation
    • Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
    • Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person
    • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
    • Let the other  man save his face
    • Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
    • Give a man a fine reputation to live up to
    • Use encouragement.  Make the fault seem easy to correct
    • Make the other person happy about doing the thing that you suggest

Dale Carnegie is the source of one of my favourite quotes “You can win more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you”.

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3 Comments on “Book review: “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie – Still a valuable guide

  1. One of the best book I have ever read. It really changes my view point on how to interact with people in terms of their problems, introducing myself to others, and it has in fact help me network with people more online and in-person. It gives great examples of stories of people based on Dale’s real life situations or made up short stories that each provide great lessons you can learn. Overall is a book everyone should buy, no matter if you are into business or just a regular person. It will change the way you interact with people, and get yourself out their to become successful in to gaining friends and influencing others, no matter the personality type.
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  2. This book has been the single most influential thing in my life. Insightful? Yes. Timeless, Absolutely. But for someone who had no social skills to speak of until his mission? Transformative.

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