How to Win Friends & Influence People

How to Win Friends & Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
Pub. Date: January 1981, Pocket Books
ISBN 0-671-72365-0
247 Pages
Review Written: 9/4/06

Success Rating :5

Why I Read this Book:
No matter where we are in life, we can always stand to improve our strategy in winning friends and influencing people. This book has taught me valuable fundamentals by which to live.


A title like this could make a potential reader think one of two things.  One is that they would not be caught dead reading a book as corny as this one sounds.  Two is that they could not possibly afford to pass up a book that appears to contain so much value.  I hope all of you think the latter when seeing this book on the shelf or on my site.  How To Win Friends And Influence People is a classic, first written almost 70 years ago.  This is as timeless as they come.

Two good friends of mine turned me onto this book years ago and for that I am quite grateful.  The book does an excellent job of getting one to see everyday actions in a completely different light. The funny thing is that after reading this book you may find yourself thinking that you’ve read it before.  That is probably because you have been hearing these principles from your mother since before you can remember.  My mother has been (and still is) an incredible teacher of how to act, how to treat, and how to most effectively deal with the people with whom I interact.  She has been telling me these things for so long.  When I was a child they did not have a chance of breaking through my rebellious shell.  Thankfully that has since changed.

It is such a shame that it often takes the words of someone famously successful to drive a point home. After reading this book I had Carnegie to thank for reminding me of these principles, but more importantly my mother to thank for ingraining them.  If these books serve as nothing more than reminders of what one has already learned, then so be it.  They serve just as great a purpose in that respect as they would in teaching you them for the first time.

Let me give you an example of some of the principles that Carnegie brings to light.  As I mentioned before, keep in mind that many are quite basic and common sense to most.  Unfortunately common sense is not common practice.

Smile.  That is one principle.  Most of us hopefully smile everyday, but do we ever take the time to think about a smile and the incredible power and effect it has on others?  A smile can often be the single deciding factor between a deal being made and being broken.  Neither party may consciously recognize it but it is true.  Think about the way it feels next time you smile at someone or how about the next time someone smiles at you.  It is one of the most powerful split-second actions in existence.  We would be foolish not to take advantage of it.

Here’s another principal: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.  How basic is that?  Too often do we get caught up in the heat of a discussion or argument that we do not take the few seconds or minutes to try to see the discussion from our opponent’s point of view.  In fact it often becomes impossible once we get so emotionally involved in the argument.  Next time you find yourself in a discussion with someone, try taking a moment to look at it through their eyes.  You may be very surprised with what does and does not seem “obvious” from this person’s vantage point.  Use those discoveries in your discussion and you will likely be surprised by the positive result.

Another principal is, “give the person a fine reputation to live up to”.  At first this may not seem like much, but have a look at it through this example.  Someone in your office has a very important presentation to put together and present in the next few days.  She needs help from someone in the office to make the workload manageable.  You know you are confident with your presentation prep skills.  She now confronts you and says, “I saw the incredible presentation you put together last week and I have heard that you are the best in the office at this.   I could really use your help with mine.  Would you mind?”  Imagine the feeling of pride that hearing this would give you.  You can bet that after hearing about your “reputation” you are going to be sure that you live up to it and help her to create an incredible presentation.  A good reputation is something that every success-conscious person wants to live up to in their life.  Think about that next time you need help.

The final principal I want to mention is one that I feel has had the most powerful and positive effect on my life since reading it in this book.  This principal is to always remember someone’s name.  This is one of the biggest problems in our society.  I certainly used to be 100% guilty of it.  I would introduce myself to someone and be so focused on what I said that I did not even give myself a chance to hear their name. Whatever technique you find that works, it is vitally important that you remember that person’s name the first time you hear it.  Few things feel better in this world than hearing your name (especially when it is from someone whom you did not expect to remember).  One of the most powerful ways to build rapport with a person is to call him or her by their name right from the start.  As I said earlier, it is often the small things that make the huge difference.  Taking this one principal seriously and living it the rest of your life will undoubtedly have tremendous implications on your future success.

Carnegie starts out this book by recommending how it should be read.  He tells the reader to read through it once, and then do so again while highlighting key portions.  Then read through the key portions every month or so to make sure that you are constantly living these principals.  I picked this book up a number of years ago and I have since read through it countless times. I made an outline of the key principals and am sure to read through that every few months.  As Stephen Covey says, “to know and not to do, is really not to know.”  These life-changing principals will get you no where if you keep them locked up your mind.  As with every other book that you read, you must make reality out of the knowledge you gain.  It is that reality that will bring you your greatest success.  Read, understand, live and apply every one of Dale Carnegie’s fundamental principals and your success will be unbelievable.  Start today!

Valuable Quotes:

I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now.  Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Unknown

“Every man I meet is my superior in some way.  In that, I learn from him.”

“First, arouse in the other person an eager want.  He who can do this has the whole world with him.  He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
—Dale Carnegie

“There’s far more information in a smile than in a frown.”
—Dale Carnegie

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any
—Dale Carnegie

“I am convinced now that nothing good is accomplished and a lot of damage can be done if you tell a
person straight out that her or she is wrong.  You only succeed in stripping that person of self-dignity and making yourself an unwelcome part of any discussion.”
—Dale Carnegie

“Success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other persons’ viewpoint.”
—Dale Carnegie

“When you have nothing else to go on, it is important to realize that the average person is honest and
wants to make good on their obligations.”
—Dale Carnegie

“If you can inspire the people with whom you come in contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people.  You can literally transform them.”
—Dale Carnegie

-Reading for Your Success