How to Win Friends and Influence People – Summary

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a classic. This is the second time I have read the book and took much better notes/takeaways/actionable items. Things that struck me about it this time through were that it is basic psychology. At the end of the day 90% of this books follows the premise that we are proud narcissists that want our egos stroked as often as possible.  This book is split up into 4 parts: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People; Six Ways to Make People Like You;How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking; Be A Leaders: how to Change people without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment. I will create the outline of headlines and key takeaways, then some more specific examples of how it can be applied.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain
    1. people never think they are the bad guy: if Al Capone doesn’t, nobody will. Everyone makes personal justifications for their actions. People never criticize themselves, no matter how wrong they are.
    2. “criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment”
    3. As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation
    4. “We are not dealing with creatures of logic, we are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with predjudices and motivated by pride and vanity”
    5. “any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain- and most fools do
    6. Read “Father Forgets” starting on page 15 every once in a while
    7. Instead of condemning people, try to understand them
  2. Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation
    1. The big secret to dealing with people is making them want to do something
    2. The greatest urge in human existence is the “desire to be important” and craving to be appreciated.
    3. Charles Schwab’s greatest ability: ” to arouse enthusiasm among my people, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement”
    4. Nothing kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors
    5. The power of appreciation – pages 26-27. “there is nothing i need as much as nourishment for my self esteem”
    6. Page 31-Must be honest appreciation, be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”
  3. Arouse in the Other Person an Eager Want
    1. bait the hook to suit the fish! pg 32. It is not about what you want!
    2. Talk in terms of what the other person wants
    3. Quote on page 37: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” -Henry Ford
    4. Be able to identify your target’s problems: examples on page 42-43
      1. i can improve your bottom line
      2. make your job easier
      3. solve your problem
    5. People want to feel like they are buying- NOT being SOLD
    6. “self expression is the dominant necessity of human nature” If we have a brilliant idea, instead of forcing it down people’s throats let them chew on it and think it through themselves, then they will regard it as their own, like it, and maybe eat a couple helpings of it.
    7. “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.”

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become Genuinely Interested in Other People
    1. Who is the greatest winner of friends the world has ever known? Dogs. They make their living by giving nothing but genuine, emphatic, unconditional love and affection. There is no ulterior motives: he doesn’t want to sell you anything.
    2. By becoming genuinely interested in other people you can make more friends in two months than you can in two years of trying to get other people interested in you.
    3. “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.
    4. Go out of your way to show interest in other people. And do it to EVERYONE, not just the people you want something from.
    5. Very important for salespeople
    6. Find out birthdates of people- it is the most important date in their life.
    7. If we want to make friends, always greet people with authentic animation and enthusiasm.
    8. Take interested in “health, wealth, and children -see never eat alone summary!
    9. “When we are interested in other people when they are interested in us.”
  2. Smile
    1. Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.
    2. People rarely succeed in things unless they have fun doing it. You must have a fun time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you
    3. Smile, eliminate criticism from your system, and give appreciation and praise is the key to being happier, and richer in friendships and happiness.
    4. “action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feelings go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” Basically you can voluntarily be cheerful, which will lead to being happier
    5. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most imporant sound in any language
    1.  You have to make the effort, learn the person, the face, facts and details about that person, then focus on their name in your mind. if you get a chance write it down so you have sensed it two ways: hearing, sight
    2. Andrew Carnegie knew the power of names, he named a plant after someone he wanted to buy his steel. guess where they bought! Story about the rabbits on page 78
  4. Be a Good Listener
    1. Listen intently, it is one of the highest complements you can give!!
    2. Listening is not mere silence, it is a form of activity: sit erect, hear with your eyes as well as your ears, show the person you are interested, ask good questions
    3. Ask people about their passions, make them feel important, a successful entrepreneur always wants to talk about the difficult times of their startup
    4. What irritated and irrational people want: Sympathetic listener, friendly and interested person. They want to be heard.
    5. To be interesting, be interested. People you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.
  5. Talk in terms of other people’s interests
    1. The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most- research the people you are going to meet before you meet them. pick out those items they are passionate about and discuss them.- Examples pages 94-96
  6. Make the other person feel important- and do it sincerely
    1. Ask yourself “what about this person can i honestly admire? example on page 99- complimenting someone on their full head of hair
    2. Make the person feel important
    3. Take the “golden rule” to the next level. Not just polite: be interested, go out of your way. do this all of the time, and everywhere. The store clerk, the receptionist, coworkers, everywhere!
    4. Almost everyone considers themselves important- VERY important
    5. Use little phrases like “sorry to trouble you? would you mind? would you be so kind?
    6. Good story about how a man admired an aunt in law’s house and went into a big discussion where she ended up giving him the classic car because he appreciated nice things and everyone else just wanted it. pages 104-106
    7. Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
    1. you can’t win an argument, if you win they will resent you. you damaged his pride, made him feel inferior.
    2. You can extinguish an argument with agreement, then make some points to sway to your thinking
    3. Make sure you keep a disagreement from becoming an argument-
      1. Welcome the disagreement
      2. Distrust your first instinctive impression
      3. Control your temper
      4. Listen first-try to build a bridge of understanding
      5. be hones- apologize for your mistakes- it disarms your opponents
      6. promise to think over your opponent’s ideas and study them carefully
      7. Thank our opponents sincerely for their interest.
      8. Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. NEVER say “your wrong”
    1. Nobody will object to you saying “I may be wrong, let’s examine the facts”
    2. be vulnerable, it can be disarming
    3. Resentment is aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to it.
    4. Read Ben Franklin’s Autobiography
    5. If we are handled gently and tactfully, we may admit it to others and even take pride in our frankness and broad-mindedness
    6. Never make fixed statements. always say: ‘The way i currently see it’, ‘i imagine’ etc.
    7. Be diplomatic, it will help you gain your point
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
    1. Story about walking his dog without a leash- admitted it to the officer which disarmed him from his authority figure and the only way he could nourish his self esteem was to take the attitude of showing mercy.
    2. Say the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say – before they can say them. they will have a more generous, forgiving attitude
    3. Any fool can try to defend his own mistakes, and most fools do. but it raises one above the herd and gives them a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.
    4. “By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected”
  4. Begin in a friendly way
    1. Have patience and Candor in disagreements. See the Rockefeller letter on page 144 to see how he made friends out of enemies
    2. People do not want to change their minds, but they may possibly be led to, if we are gentle and friendly!
    3. A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of Gall.
    4. The Friendly approach and appreciation can make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster and storming in the world.
  5. get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately
    1. Start with “yes” responses. “no” shuts people down. Keep emphasizing the points you agree on.
    2. when you have said “no” it is a difficult handicap to overcome. All your pride of personality demands that you remain consistent with yourself.
    3. The skillful speaker gets, at the outset a number of “YES” responses.
    4. Socratic method on page 157
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
    1. Let the other person do the talking and sell it themselves.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
    1. Make suggestions- and let the other person think out the conclusion
    2. we like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, our thoughts.
    3. Plant it in their mind casually, and don’t feel the need to take credit
    4. “The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams.”
  8. Try to honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
    1. Agreeing with people will encourage them to be more open to your ideas
    2. Cooperativeness in a conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own.
    3. Have an increased tendency to think in terms of the other person’s point of view
  9. Be sympathetic to the other person’s ideas and desires
    1. The magic phrase: “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”
    2. For people that are irate, bigoted, unreasoning- you should feel sorry for them, sympathize with them, say to yourself “there, but for the grace of God, go I”.
    3. People are thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you
    4. When you compose a letter or email, let it stew, you will probably find that you are glad you didn’t send it.
    5. “i sympathize with you, i know it won’t be easy, but it will pay off in _____ and ______.”
    6. Self pity for misfortunes – real or imaginary is a universal practice
  10. Appeal to the Nobler motives
    1. People have a very high regard for themselves, and find themselves to be unselfish in their own estimation. Use this to your advantage.
    2. “a person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one
      1. appeal to the first one
    3. A lot of good examples in pages 186-190
    4. In general, people are honest and want to discharge their obligations.
  11. Dramatize your ideas
    1. use showmanship! appeal to more than one sense
      1. Tell someone they are throwing away money and throw away real money to illustrate the point
      2. Sight, smell, touch taste, sounds
  12. Throw down a challenge
    1. Charles Schwab- asked how many heats the day shift completed- 6. So he wrote a big 6 on the floor, the night shift saw it and asked what it meant. They erased it and wrote 7 after they beat the day shift’s performance. then it escalated to 10! people are proud and want to feel important. a competition brings that out in people.
    2. If the work is exciting and interesting the worker looked forward to doing it and was motivated to do a good job.

Be A Leaders: how to Change people without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment.

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation
    1. Compliment, then give a fault. It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points. “lather a man before shaving him”
    2. letter on page 207 from Lincoln: Compliments, criticism, then challenges the general
    3. Praise is the novocaine for negative conversations.
  2. call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
    1. How to criticize and not be hated for it- change “but” to “and” to create an expectation. “we are proud of you, but if you worked harder…” vs. “we are proud of you and by continuing…” has a more positive tone, creates an expectation
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
    1.  You are better than i was at your age, but don’t you think it would be wiser to…
    2. Make it a lesson you have learned and they can apply
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
    1. Give suggestions, not orders. “do you think that would work?” “what do you think of this”
    2. This technique lets people correct orders, save face, and help their pride to give them a feeling of importance. It encourages Cooperation instead of rebellion
    3. People are more likely to accept an order if they had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued. Let people put their stamp on the decision.
    4. Give other people ownership. Ask the right questions
  5. Let the other person save face
    1. “he assured me, in front of my colleagues, that he had faith in me and knew  I had done my best, and that my lack of experience, not my lack of ability was the reason for the failure” – page 226
    2. “i have no right to do or say anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes”
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”
    1. Praise vs. criticism is the basis of B.F. Skinner’s research
    2. You should be specific in your praise details. Don’t just say “your good” say “the attention to detail in X had a great impact on the outcome. I really appreciate all of the effort your put into your work”
    3. use to your fullest extent the magic ability to praise and inspire people with a realization of their latent possibilities
    4. “abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement. to become a more effective leader, apply: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
    1. make sure they know the reputation they are living up to
    2. you have the person’s respect if you show that you respect that person for some kind of ability.
    3. Make it clear what your expectation is of them via prior work/experiences
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
    1. Praise the things done right and minimize the errors
    2. If you say a person is dumb at a certain thing you have destroyed almost every incentive to try to improve- Be liberal with your encouragement, make things seem easy to do.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest
    1. anecdote about how a person was too important for a position – pg 243
    2. pg 245- do not give the person time to be unhappy about a refusal, offer another solution immediately
    3. An employee underperforming a task- give them authority – it will instill importance, purpose. example about the employee who wasn’t putting the proper price tags on products until he gave her the title ” Supervisor of Price Tag Posting”
    4. Guidelines to keep in mind on pages 246-247
      1. be sincere
      2. know what you want the other person to do
      3. Be empathetic
      4. Consider the benefits the other person will receive
      5. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants
      6. put it in terms that will convey that the other person will benefit



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