How to Win Friends and Influence People: Carnegie’s Secrets

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Carnegie’s Secrets

How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a classic self-help book by Dale Carnegie published in 1936. With over 30 million copies sold worldwide, it remains one of the best-selling books of all time.

I read it once during college and then after dental school. Even though it was written almost a century ago, the majority of its recommendations are still applicable today. I’ve encouraged both of my teens to read it and feel it should be mandatory in high school. 

The book provides practical advice on:

  • managing relationships
  • improving interpersonal skills
  • becoming an influential leader 

In a nutshell, the book focuses on understanding human nature and how to effectively communicate with others

Key Takeaways

  • Master the art of interpersonal skills to improve relationships and communication
  • Utilize techniques to become an influential leader and resolve conflicts effectively
  • Learn to change others’ minds without causing offense or resentment
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The Importance of Understanding Human Nature

Recognizing Emotional Versus Logical Behavior

It’s important for you to recognize that people are not purely creatures of logic but rather creatures of emotion.

The late sales trainer Zig Ziglar used to say, “People buy on emotion and justify on logic.”

This is true whether you’re talking to patients about medical procedures or selling cookies door to door.

By acknowledging this, you can better relate to others and be a good listener, resulting in more successful and positive interactions.

In your daily conversations with people, remember that emotions often drive their reactions and decisions.

If you learn how to empathize with others and “put yourself in their shoes”, then you’ll be able to form stronger connections.

Here’s a simple yet powerful strategy to become a good listener:

  1. Listen actively: Pay attention, maintain eye contact, and refrain from interrupting. (God gave us two ears and ONE mouth for a reason!)
  2. Clarify: Ask questions for better understanding.
  3. Validate: Acknowledge the speaker’s emotions, feelings, and views.
  4. Respond: Offer your insights and perspectives in a sincere and respectful manner.

The Significance of a Person’s Name

A person’s name is the most important sound to them, as it carries their identity, their experiences, and a sense of pride. By remembering and using someone’s name during your conversations, you can create a stronger bond and foster a sense of appreciation.

I’ve felt the difference firsthand when someone uses my name when they’re interviewing me on their podcast. It really does make a difference.

Follow these tips to help you utilize this strategy of using a person’s name in your day to day interactions:

  • Be attentive when being introduced to someone new, and if necessary, ask for clarification on pronunciation.
  • Use the person’s name naturally in conversation, but avoid overusing it. Using it too much my sound “sales-y.”
  • Jot down the person’s name, along with relevant details, to assist your memory.

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The Art of Interpersonal Skills

Building Rapport through Genuine Interest

To master interpersonal skills, you must learn to take a genuine interest in others and find common ground. By doing so, you establish a connection, making the other person feel valued.

Carnegie states that if you do this, you’ll be welcome ANYWHERE.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Try to understand their perspective, hobbies, and interests, as focusing on the other person’s interests can help you build rapport more effectively.

Let’s face it. People are NOT interested in you, and they’re not interested in me. Guess who they’re interested in? Themselves!

Make it a point to focus your conversations on the other person, ensuring they feel included and appreciated.

Good Conversationalist Techniques

Keep these techniques in mind to become an interesting conversationalist:

Technique Description Purpose
Share Relatable Stories Share your experiences to find common ground. Keeps the conversation lively and relatable.
Employ Open-Ended Questions Ask questions that encourage elaboration on thoughts and feelings. Promotes deeper conversation and understanding.
Use Empathetic Responses Show understanding of their emotions and situations. Builds trust and emotional connection.
Remain Present in the Moment Avoid distractions and give full attention to the conversation. Ensures the other person feels heard and valued.

One of the worst things you can do is complain, criticize, or condemn someone.  Criticizing not only puts off negative energy, but it puts people on the defensive, which arouses resentment.

Instead of criticizing, try to understand why people do what they do.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation 

One of the key components in handling people effectively (ethically) is giving them honest appreciation. By using sincere praise and positive reinforcement, you can motivate others and encourage good behavior.

The book tells a story about Charles Schwab, one of the best people at this.

He stated, “The greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I NEVER criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person an incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault.”

Give Appreciation

Arouse an Eager Want

To influence people, align your suggestions with their desires or needs. This goes along with the “showing interest” section above.

The book asks, “Why talk about what we want? No one else is interested but us! The rest of us are just like you: interested in what we want. So the only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

If you want to persuade somebody to do something, pause before you speak and ask yourself: “How can I make this person WANT to do it?”

In the book, Henry Ford stated, “If there is 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 from your own.”

When you arouse an eager want, you speak to their interests, not yours. Present ideas in a way that shows how it benefits them.

  • Frame proposals to highlight benefits to the other person
  • Appeal to what they find important or valuable
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#1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

As previously mentioned, it’s human nature to be mainly concerned with ourselves.

When we greet people with enthusiasm, how do you think that makes them feel?

It shows we’re pleased to speak with them and genuinely care about their interests.

#2. Smile

Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I’m glad to see you.”

The simple act of smiling has a positive effect on the person smiling and anyone who sees them smiling. 

Years ago, I trained my dental employees to smile when they answered the phone. Even though they were on the phone, their smile came through their voices to our patients calling the office.

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

One of the most powerful tools in social interactions is remembering and using people’s names. A person’s name holds a unique value, and when you remember and use their name, it conveys a sense of importance and respect.

The average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together.” — Dale Carnegie

#4. Be a good listener.

Being a good conversationalist often means being a good listener. It takes practice to improve listening, but it’s worth it.

When you listen carefully to someone and don’t interrupt, it shows them you think they’re important.

A good tip is to try listening more than you talk – aim to listen about three-quarters of the time and talk for one-quarter.

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

Being a good listener means finding out what the other person likes to talk about and letting them talk about it. This makes them feel special and heard. This is not just good for them, but for you too.

When people talk about what they like and about themselves, you learn more about them, which helps make your relationship with them better.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • How did you get started in your line of work?
  • What’s your favorite aspect of the industry you work in?

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

Carnegie states that by using this principle, you’ll know how to make people like you instantly. And what he was talking about was this:

Always make the other person feel important.

Williams James once said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

People like to feel valued and appreciated by others. The saying “treat others as you want to be treated” means if you want to feel important and appreciated, you should make others feel important first.

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How To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking

Principle Description
1. Avoid Arguments Listen and understand others instead of confronting them.
2. Respect Opinions Be open and listen without judging, and don’t tell people they’re wrong.
3. Admit Mistakes Quickly acknowledge your mistakes to show strength and willingness to fix things.
4. Be Friendly Start discussions in a friendly manner using kind words and tones.
5. Agree Early Find common ground early to make others more open and less defensive.
6. Let Others Talk Encourage others to talk more to show their importance and build honest relationships.
7. Share Ideas Make others feel the idea is theirs to increase their involvement.
8. Understand Views See things from others’ perspectives to better understand and resolve issues.
9. Be Sympathetic Use empathy to understand others’ views and desires, building constructive conversations.
10. Appeal to Good Values Encourage people by appealing to their noble motives like morality or ethics.
11. Dramatize Ideas Present ideas in an interesting way to capture attention and acceptance.
12. Challenge Use competition and challenges to increase involvement and productivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the core lessons found in Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’?

Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ offers valuable insights into improving interpersonal skills, enhancing communication, and building relationships. The book is structured into four parts, each covering fundamental principles and techniques that help you handle people, make them like you, win them to your way of thinking, and be an effective leader.

Can you summarize the main points of the first chapter of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’?

The first chapter emphasizes the importance of not criticizing, condemning, or complaining. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of people’s behavior or actions, you should strive to understand their perspectives, offer support, and find ways to encourage or appreciate their efforts. This approach helps you establish positive relationships and avoid conflicts.

What are some key principles outlined in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ for building rapport and relationships?

The book outlines six key principles for making people like you:

  1. Show genuine interest in others.
  2. Smile and maintain a positive attitude.
  3. Remember and use people’s names.
  4. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Actively listen and demonstrate empathy.
  6. Make others feel important by being sincere and appreciative.

These principles, when applied consistently, help build rapport and strong relationships with those around you.

How does ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ suggest making people feel important?

Dale Carnegie emphasizes the significance of making others feel important by showing genuine interest in their lives, listening to their stories, and expressing sincere appreciation for their contributions. By doing so, you not only create a positive atmosphere but also establish a sense of trust and respect in your relationships.

What is the structure and content outline across the chapters in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’?

The book is divided into four parts:

  1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
  2. Six Ways to Make People Like You
  3. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
  4. Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Each part is further subdivided into chapters, with each chapter detailing specific principles and strategies for achieving the desired outcomes in various interpersonal scenarios.

Are there any critical techniques or points highlighted in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ for effective communication?

Yes, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ emphasizes several critical techniques for effective communication, such as:

  1. Avoiding criticism and focusing on understanding others’ perspectives.
  2. Offering sincere appreciation and compliments.
  3. Being genuinely interested in others and encouraging them to share their thoughts and experiences.
  4. Actively listening and demonstrating empathy.
  5. Asking open-ended questions and avoiding arguments.
  6. Acknowledging other people’s opinions, even if you disagree.

By incorporating these techniques in your daily interactions, you can improve your communication skills and build stronger relationships.

What is the best way to acknowledge and own up to one’s mistakes as per ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’?

Dale Carnegie’s book emphasizes that owning one’s mistakes is a key aspect of earning respect and trust. The best way to do this is by being transparent and sincere in admitting errors. This approach not only shows humility and accountability but also sets a positive example for others. Carnegie suggests that accepting responsibility for our actions can significantly enhance human interaction and build lasting relationships.

In what way does ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ connect public speaking skills to personal and financial success?

Carnegie highlights the immense value of public speaking skills as a tool for personal and financial success. He suggests that effective public speaking, which involves making a good first impression, engaging the audience, and conveying your message clearly, can greatly influence how others perceive you. The book outlines strategies for overcoming the greatest difficulties in public speaking, such as fear and lack of confidence, and offers techniques to improve these skills. The ability to communicate effectively in public is seen as a crucial element for leadership and success in various aspects of life, including career advancement.