Summary ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’

Summary ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’

Dale Carnegie's bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People was first written in 1937. It is one of the most famous and influential books of all time. Since its publication, the book has sold over 15 million copies.

People love this book because good communication and the ability to influence are vital business skills. But also because these traits will help you in every aspect of life.

Here is a summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People. In the summary, we look at the essentials. It consists of four parts, each with many principles about influencing people. Of course, a summary is not enough to fully understand the material. So use a summary as your first source of information. Buy the book if you are triggered, or delve deeper into a few of these principles.

Let's start with our summary of "How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People


Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.

Simply put, If you want to win against an enemy, criticize. Most people take it too personally, and they will immediately start to resent you for hurting their pride. Even If you are right, they will probably justify themselves, and that will lead you to absolutely nowhere. 

Instead of complaining, try to understand why people act as they do. It helps here to genuinely want to learn from another. People with a growth mindset know that intentional learning leads to a great growth curve.

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

In this chapter, Carnegie explains that the biggest secret when dealing with people is understanding that the most profound desire in human nature is the desire to be appreciated.

People what to be recognized and that others appreciate their efforts. So, one of the best ways to give people a feeling of importance is by giving them honest praise.

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

What do you care about? You care about what you want. What does the other person care about? They also care about what they want.

So, you can't convince anybody to do anything by telling them why it will benefit YOU. They want to know what's in it for THEM.

Carnegie gives this example: If you don't want your children to smoke, don't preach to them. Instead, tell them how cigarettes may keep them from making the basketball team.

But to do this, you must put yourself in the other person's shoes. You need to understand the other person's perspective.

These fundamental techniques from Part 1 of our summary of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" are crucial to personal development. You work with people, so you must learn to interact with them to achieve your goals.

Part 2: Six Ways To Make People Like You


Principle 1: Be genuinely interested in other people.

People like you when you care about them. Imagine a teacher who yells at his students and one who genuinely cares about them. Who do you think they prefer?

Principle 2: Smile

Carnegie wrote that a smile says, "I like you. You make me happy. I'm glad to see you."

Smiley people have more friends than frowny people. So, do your best to smile sincerely.

Also, a positive mindset will help you make more friends. This is not directly described in the book, but it is our addition in this summary on 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'. With a positive mindset, you also elicit positive reactions from others. They feel better around you.

Principle 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

People unconsciously love their names (or the nickname they go by). This chapter's advice is to remember people's names and repeat them in the conversation. 

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Show people that you care about them by paying attention when they talk. Ask questions that people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about their accomplishments. Look at them while they talk.

Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Never talk about something the other person doesn't care about. Talk about something they love to talk about. Find something you have in common, like your career, hobbies, etc. For example, if you are talking to an architect, talk about buildings.

Principle 6: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

This principle pretty much summarizes the whole chapter. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If you want to be appreciated, make others feel appreciated.

Part 3: Win People To Your Way Of Thinking

In the summary of "How to Win Friends and Influence People," we will formulate part 3 in a brief but powerful way. It contains some valuable lessons, which are highlighted in more detail in the book.

Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. 

Avoid arguments like the plague. If you lose, you lose. If you win, the other people will resent you, so you lose. It is better to avoid it. This is an important tip for people with a fixed mindset. They are often stuck in current thought patterns that limit future growth. Rid yourself of a fixed mindset and you will not only make more friends, you will grow yourself.

Principle 2: Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong." 

If you tell someone they are wrong: they will immediately resent you. Even if you are right, they may want to prove you wrong because you hurt their pride.

So, instead, say something like:  "Well, now, look, I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let's examine the facts." 

If you need to prove something, do it subtly.

Principle 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. 

It's easier to admit your mistakes than to try to defend them. The other person will feel the need to be a benevolent forgiver instead of an opponent.

Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way. 

Carnegie tells the story of a man who wanted to reduce his rent

This man didn't begin complaining to his landlord about how high the rent was, he began talking about how much he liked the apartment and the great job his landlord did running the place. He said he would love to stay but couldn't afford it. 

The landlord immediately offered to reduce the rent.

That is why a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall. Don't let your temper arouse and attack the other person. Instead, begin in a friendly way.

Principle 5: Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately. 

“In talking with people, don't begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing - and keep on emphasizing - the things on which you agree.”

A “no” is very difficult to overcome. Begin asking questions to which the only conceivable reply is “yes”.

Principle 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. 

Don't interrupt people while they are talking. They still have a lot of ideas running through their heads and won't hear you until they have finished.

Principle 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

People love their ideas more than other ideas, and they don't like being told what to do. If you want people to do something, instead of telling them what to do, make them feel your ideas are theirs.

Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view. 

Don't condemn people for being wrong. Instead, try to understand why they think as they do.

Principle 9: Be sympathetic to the other person's ideas and desires. 

Let people know you understand them. People crave feeling understood.

"I don't blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do."

Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives.

Let's say you want someone to give you something. You can say: "You are always so generous…". You will appeal to nobler motives such as generosity, and the other person will feel the need to prove you right. 

Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas. 

This principle is simple: If you want people to pay attention to your ideas, you need to make them interesting.

Principle 12: Throw down a challenge.

People need to excel and be better than others. Appeal to this instinct and when nothing else works, throw down a challenge and stimulate competition.

Part 4: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

We resume our summary of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" with the final section. Here the focus is on influencing others in a positive way.

Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation. 

It's easier to listen to unpleasant things after hearing praise or positive things. 

Principle 2: Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly. 

People don't like when you point out their mistakes. Instead, do it indirectly. One way to do this is to change the ugly word “but” for a more acceptable “and”.

For example, read this sentence: “We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term. But if you had worked harder on your algebra, the results would have been better.”

Now, read this: "We're really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term, and by continuing the same conscientious efforts next term, your algebra grade can be up with all the others."

See the difference?

Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

People take criticism much better if you admit your own mistakes first.

Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

People don't like being told what to do. Instead of saying: "do this", say: "do you think it will be a good idea if you do this?".

Principle 5: Let the other person save face. 

Don't embarrass people. If you have the option of making someone feel good or bad about themselves, make them feel good. They will appreciate you for it.

Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."

When you praise someone, do it as sincerely and specifically as possible, and do it often.

Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. 

If you want someone to do something, act as if that trait was one of his or her outstanding characteristics (similar to the principle of "appeal to nobler motives").

Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. 

Don't tell people they are dumb for doing something wrong. Instead, tell them that they can improve and you have faith in their abilities.

Principle 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

If you want someone to do something, give them reasons for being happy about doing it. For example, tell them the task requires a lot of responsibility, and they will feel important for doing it.

Conclusion about our summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People

We've come to the end of our summary on How to Win Friends and Influence People. One may believe that How to Win Friends and Influence People is a book about manipulating people. However, there is nothing further from the truth. You can't apply any of the principles of this book without becoming a better person and genuinely interested in other people. 

You could summarize the whole book with this phrase: It is more important to understand than to be understood.

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