How to win friends and influence people

Recently I mentioned Paul Graham’s essay on how to disagree, which described types of disagreement. This post will instead really tell you how to disagree without making enemies, and more generally how to get along well with people.

Here’s a summary of Dale Carnegie’s outstanding book (with the same title as this post), which has been a top-selling communications book for the past 70 years. These techniques don’t sound terribly original or mind-blowing. Instead, they are elegant and straightforward, which makes them easy to remember. I’ll also tell you which principles I think are the most important.

Fundamental techniques in handling people

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

These ideas lay the groundwork for everything else. The overall focuses of the entire book are:

  • Encourage the positive things people do, instead of disparaging the negative.
  • Talk about what other people want, instead of what you want.

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

The most important points from this group are 1 (be interested in others) and 5 (talk in terms of their interests).

12 ways 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.”
  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.
  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.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Important points here are 3 (admit your mistakes), 4 (begin friendly), and 8 (step in their shoes).

9 ways to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to other’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. 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.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

The first 5 points here are the most important, although all of these ones are important.


Best of luck to you in applying these principles to your own life!

13 thoughts on “How to win friends and influence people

  1. The points that you describe are good for politicians and car salesmen, but not for normal people. Unless you want live in hypocrisy. Almost every you make is “How to fake human interaction”. People really don’t need advise on that front. They do it every day. And I’m falling all those advices myself in this post. Not praising. Not admitting my own faults. Or being sympathetic with other’s people ideas.

    As I said: Good for car salesmen.

    I don’t need praise when I do something well. I’ve other things to do besides seeking praise. Criticism is one of the must valuable things on this world. It’s fundamental to peace, democracy and transparency. The first thing that every totalitarian, fascist and religious government around does is to remove criticism. They wouldn’t do it if wasn’t valuable and dangerous to them.

    But if think that is the model you should follow, fine. Live in your Pleasantville:


  2. It has been about 13 years or so since the last time I’ve read this book, and agree it is one of the best and essential reads for everyone.

    Anyway, thanks for the quick reminder of all the points made.


  3. NotThisTime,

    I see it more as “learn how to interact” than “how to fake interaction.” I’m not sure what faking interaction is supposed to mean — apparently anything different from how you currently act is fake?

  4. I say this to everyone I work with – especially during coach and lead sessions.

    “They do not care what you know, until they know that you care.”

    Think about it – You can read my blog-post on the entire subject – especially how it relates to leadership skills for both accomplished and failed leaders – gives you a prospective from both sides.

    Hope it helps you and your readers –


  5. There is one basic rule that doesn’t encourage deceitful behaviour: respect the other person. No other rules really necessary.

  6. I think those “rules” basically outline how to not be a self-centered person who values other people’s feelings. Criticism is valuable, but it doesn’t have to be delivered in a heartless way. But I think criticizing Not This Time would be a lot of fun.

    asdf has a point, but i think that the meaning of “respect” needs to be defined and redefined all the time. “Respect” isn’t a given and a lot of people have no effing clue what it means, so having some guidelines might actually help spell it out to such people.

    Anyway, thanks. That was interesting.


  7. I agree with readswc, and asdf,
    I find myself doing most of these things naturally a lot of the time in an effort to respect the people around me ….It’s nice for the information though and there are some people who are just clueless sometimes (me) who might need it.

  8. I can’t believe the negative views in some of these comments…I bet they are mean and bitter people lol. And they say “I don’t need or want any friends” when in fact they’re so lonely!! I will pray for them. Great book; teaches you how to interact EFFECTIVELY. Even though we like to think we are all perfect..we’re not; especially when in comes to dealing with people.

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