Thursday, April 18, 2019

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends
and Influence People
Dale Carnegie
Published 1936

A friend of mine was selling her books, and I grabbed this one because it is on my Essential Man's Library list. 

This book is old and somewhat outdated, but the rules and suggestions pour out common sense. It gave me a good feeling to read such a positively-gushing book; so agreeable, it seems like a friend.

In a nutshell, Mr. Carnegie exposes some of man's self-centered desires and faults, and then he provides encouraging and friendly remedies. He reminds his reader that man craves to be important and admired, but it would serve him better to turn his efforts and focus outward and praise the accomplishments of others.
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
He quotes Alfred Adler:
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. 
Given that we have to retrain ourselves, Carnegie demonstrates that if we change our minds, our hearts will follow. He says, "Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling 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." 
Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.                                                                ~ Shakespeare
The book is broken up into several sections, full of personal stories that support each rule. Many of the rules are perfect for business, whether you lead employees or meet with customers or clients. But the rules work for interacting with neighbors, strangers, and those hard-to-get-along-with relatives. There is also a section for family and marital relationships.

So, I did you all a favor and took notes, condensing everything you need to know into these short lists of rules. Italics are mine.

How to win friends and influence people:
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile!
3. Remember everyone's name.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. I love this one!
5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
6. Make others feel important and appreciated. I love this one, too.

Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking:
1. Avoid arguments.
2. Show respect for the other opinion. Never tell him he is wrong.
3. When you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person to say yes immediately.
6. Let the other man do more of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel like the idea is his; give him credit.
8. Try to understand the other person's perspective.
9. Be sympathetic toward the other man's ideas or desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives. Give him the benefit of the doubt; show grace.
11. Dramatize the presentation of your ideas.
12. Challenge the other man.

Nine ways to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment:
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before critiquing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving orders.
5. Permit the other person to save face.
6. Praise the slightest improvement, and praise every improvement.
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use encouragement, and make the fault seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Seven rules for making home life happier:
1. Don't complain.
2. Don't try to change your husband. Seriously!
3. Don't criticize.
4. Give honest appreciation and praise.
Pay little attentions.
5. Be courteous.
6. Read a good book on marital sex. His suggestions were too archaic and no longer exist. 

Again, many of these rules may be dated, as women today are just as or more educated and informed than and independent of their husbands. Some of the following rules may cause inward chuckles. 

For Wives:
1. Give him freedom in business affairs, and don't criticize his associates or secretary or how long he works...What?
2. Make home interesting and attractive.
3. Vary the menu. Surprise!
4. Understand his work.
5. Meet financial changes, and don't compare him to other successful men.
6. Get along with his family. Bite your tongue.
7. Dress to impress him.
8. Compromise for harmony's sake. Be the peace maker.
9. Learn to like what he likes.
10. Keep up with news or books or ideas to hold his intellectual interests. 

For husbands:
1. Court your wife, including occasional flowers and remembering special occasions.
2. Give unexpected attentions and tenderness.
3. Don't criticize her before others.
4. Give her money to spend. Hee hee.
5. Make an effort to understand her feminine moods. This is also a biblical command.
6. Share at least half your recreation hours with her.
7. Do not compare her to other women, except to her advantage.
8. Take interest in her books, clubs, societies, civic issues, etc.
9. Refrain from jealous remarks when she dances with other men or receives friendly attentions from other which my husband said, WHAT?
10. Be alert for opportunities to praise her and express admiration for her. 
11. Thank her for little jobs she does for you.


Have you ever watched the movie Jerry Maguire? His mentor, Dicky Fox, was who I thought of while reading this book; he was a favorable, jovial gentleman, who was successful only because of his healthy understanding of how to maintain good relationships with people. We can all use a little of this.

If we want to make friends, 
let's put ourselves out to do things for other people 
-- things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness. 
~ Carnegie


  1. I vividly recall reading this years ago when I became a platoon commander. The little excerpts that stuck with me were the world famous psychologist B.F. Skinner proved that an animal rewarded for good behavior will learn much faster and retain what it learns far more effectively than an animal punished for bad behavior. Since then, further studies have shown that this same principle applies to humans as well: Criticizing others doesn’t yield anything positive. (Not to mention it's not biblical.) My words in parentheses.

    We aren’t able to make real changes by criticizing people, and we’re instead often met with resentment. It’s important to remember that when dealing with people, we’re dealing not with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, who are motivated by pride and ego.

    Great synopsis Ruth! I for one should probably re-read this. I often make many of these faux pas. Now just a friendly reminder. Try not to get jealous when other women dance to Michael Jackson's "The Thriller" with your husband :)

    1. Thank you.

      These ideas come in handy for parent's, too. I learned a lot of it through my study of Charlotte Mason. It really gets challenging when your teenagers know more than you. They don't want to hear anything!

      I don't remember the rule about not getting jealous of my husband dancing with other women. That applies to men only. Hahhaa! I wonder why?????

  2. I remember there were Dale Carnegie courses that business people could take in order improve the social skills. I agree with what Carnegie says. It's not about winning an argument but persuading the other person to see your point of view and to always be respectful.

    1. The bottom line is that personal relationships are more important than the business deal. You establish the relationship first, and then everything else is much better or easier.

  3. It sounds like such a positive read ... something I need right now. All his points are good suggestions and yet why am I resistant to some of them? Hmmm .... I'm reading about Pride in The Divine Comedy but right up there with it should be selfishness. Carnegie certainly seems to offer some great food for thought.

    1. Yes, pride and selfishness probably go hand-in-hand...and self-centeredness. You see all around you (in the news, and the like) how people consistently put themselves above others, whether by groups or individually. And people lack the ability to value human life, outside of themselves. This book is common sense, and even follows biblical standards: how to treat others better than yourself, or as you would like to be treated; there is a benefit to doing so...people will remember you and your opinions will matter.

  4. I read this BC (Before Children - and my youngest turns 20 next week!). You've encouraged me to do another re-read.

  5. Ah, I have this one on my shelf too. It really is very readable, and I believe Carnegie has some great points. Especially focusing on understanding the other person, and using your thoughts to change your attitude. I like your reactions to each of his points.

    1. We could all use a lot of that right now....empathy and understanding of others. Right?