Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People” Summarized

April 15, 2009

I have been reading (again) Dale Carnegie’s awesome book, How to Win Friends & Influence People*. If you haven’t yet read this book, you should give it a shot. Listed below is a summary of what the book is about. The book is divided into three parts with principles for each part. I have added my thoughts to some of the principles.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. This is much easier said than done. I find myself struggling with this on a daily basis.

2. Give honest and sincere appreciation. Again, I’m failing bigtime on this principle. I love the example that Carnegie uses of Charles Schwab, the president of

3. Arouse in the other person an eager want. According to the book, the only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

2. Smile.

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

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

5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. It helps to have broad interests of your own so that you have something that you can talk intelligently about. Don’t be a know-it-all…you know what I mean.

6. Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely. I think sincerity comes across when you don’t appear as if you aren’t looking for ways to make a sale.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

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

2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.” OOPS! I have done this many times! I do at least try to show respect for other people’s opinions on this blog.

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

4. Begin in a friendly way.

5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately. From the book: “In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the thing on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing—and keep on emphasizing—the things on which you agree.”

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

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

8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. I’m not usually good at being sympathetic.

10. Appeal to the nobler 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 people’s mistakes indeirectly.

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

4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. I need to do a better job at this one. My boys are getting older now and me telling them what to do and when to do it is meeting resistance.

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. Towards the end of my grocery store career, I was getting good at this. I remember one time I was working the front end of the store on a Sunday. It was slow that day and I HATE people just standing around so I decided to put people to work doing various things. I wanted one guy to clean the storage areas around the registers as they get really dirty over time. Anyway, I put my hand on this kid’s shoulder an told him that I NEEDED him to clean and organize the registers in such a way that everyone would know that he was the one who cleaned them. I won’t say that my strategy always worked but it worked incredibly well in this case.

Another time my manager had assigned a day employee to work nights. The problem was this girl’s boyfriend worked nights and everytime I turned around, they were together. After several instances of this, I walked up to the girl and told her that I was going to tell the manager to put her back on days. I told her that the manager had put her on nights to help me out because she was one of the best and most mature cashiers we had but that it wasn’t working out. She turned things around and became a great nightime employee.

No, I wasn’t a great manager. I just happened to have a couple of flashes of inspiration that worked out.

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

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

I have discussed in the past the idea of doing a community-style book review or study. I think this book would be the perfect place to start because it’s not too long, is a pretty easy read, and is fairly inexpensive. But, I only want to do something like this if there’s readership interest.

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6 responses to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People” Summarized

  1. Good summary. I just finished the basic Dale Carnegie training. In the class they give out a Golden Book that has all 30 main principles on how to win friends and influence people, plus his worrying principles.

    I have copy saved in my Google docs.

    http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgpg3326_3cjjgqdd5

  2. This is one I’m going to bookmark. Thanks.

    I love the Carnegie books. The most influential in my life has been”How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” Have you read it? Amazing!

  3. I sincerely appreciate your blog, JLP. It’s often the highlight of my time in front of my beastly laptop.

    PS Yeah! It’s April 15th. Life is around the corner…as is spring!

  4. Thank for sharing. It is interesting. Sound simple and easy but it is difficult when come into practice.

  5. Advice in this book is extremely valuable. However I think Carnegie missed some important points:
    -While using all these techniques remember not to become a door-mat. Be assertive. Not needy.
    -Have your opinions and don’t change them just to make friends with other people and achieve commonalities.
    -“Be a good listener”- absolutely. However don’t fall into the trap of interview-style of conversation. Bring value to the conversation. Tell a story. Express your positivity. This works especially well with introverts and strangers.

  6. Thanks JLP for this summary. I am at the halfway point in the book and I super love it. I appreciate your notes (and your blog!) which will allow me to come back and look at them at a glance. Thank you.