Dale Carnegie

How To Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie Book Summary, Notes, and PDF

Last Updated on November 16, 2020

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Carnegie released a book that focuses on how to get people to both like you and do what you want them to. It has undoubtedly retained its popularity over time.

If someone asked me which book they should read if they had to pick only one, this is definitely my pick. After reading this book, you will earn wisdom that will prove exceedingly useful for your life.

If you find this a bit of a stretch, then you need to bear in mind that:

This book is a best seller that hit sales of 30 million copies since its launch in 1936. It was voted as the most popular book that influenced the minds of the people in America.

As of today, it still sells many copies every year.

This book centers around behavioral psychology and should be seen as a guide on how you can gain favor from others, or get other people to do favors for yourself. You can even alter their behavior by influencing them.

However, none of these guides is manipulating the people around them. Carnegie just gives the main points on how you can alter another person’s behavior by adjusting your own attitude.

The basic principles of managing people are fundamental for dealing with your everyday life. You will meet people in the office, at school, and in many other places, so it is crucial to know these principles. Every time you go to the office, you need to manage people.


Tactic #1: Don’t complain, blame or attack other people

If you criticize people, generally, they will tend to resent you more. People react less to behavioral change compared to criticism. When you disagree with another person for his mistake, you end up giving critical negative feedback. 

The author states that we can’t control a person’s behavior by punishing or threatening them. Based on Skinner, an expert says that when an animal gets rewards for behaving correctly, they learn faster. They learn slower when they get punished for bad habits. 

Criticism can be very deadly. It makes the person feel defensive, and they will try to justify themselves. It also hurts the person’s pride and makes them feel resentment.

People learn faster and gain knowledge more efficiently when they get rewards for good behavior. If you criticize the person, you do not create proper change in their character and make them feel resentment.

Tactic #2: Allow A Person Feel Important Showing Curiosity Toward Them

If you flatter someone too much or praise them until they have a high nose, then you turn them into suck-ups. The author states that if you want the person to feel important, then you have to act like you are curious about that person. When you sit with a colleague or chat with someone at a social event, ask a few questions that show them that you are sincerely interested.

The only method of making people do the thing that you want is by giving them the exact job they want. So what are the things that most people desire?

The things they usually are after tends to be health, money, or food. There are other things not listed here, but they aren’t vital. All these desires can be met, except one – the wish of importance in a particular field.

This wish could be you want to wear the latest designer clothes, drive big race cars, brag about brilliant kids. If you want to know how to feel important, I will tell you the big secret later. It determines your character.

So how do you make another person feel important? You need to appreciate them and keep encouraging them.

You need to know what is the contrast between appreciation and flattery. One is a good thing; the other is bad. Flattery is not sincere and comes across as cheap praise. You give the person what he thinks of himself. However, after an extended period, flattery will be bad for you.

Tactic #3 Appeal to the wishes of the other person

The author’s primary goal is to make sure that the reader can put himself in another person’s point of view. The metaphor in this feature comes from David Lloyd George, a former politician. He stated that he was able to maintain his position because he could change according to situations. If you want someone to buy the product, or to make money with you, don’t tell them why it doesn’t work, just let them know how it will give them benefits.

Of course, you have interests in what you want. But no one else is interested in it. The rest of our friends and family are the same. We are only interested in what we want.

The only method in gaining influence on the people around us is to create conversations on what they want and give them away on how to attain it.

That does not mean you should manipulate someone so that he will do something for you to gain benefits for yourself. It should be a win-win situation where both parties gain benefits.

Tactic #4: You need to be genuinely interested in another person

Instead of thinking about how you should impress other people, try to figure out how to make other people impress you. Ask them about their accomplishments and genuinely be interested in both their personal and professional lives. 

If you only want to keep impressing people to gain their interest in you, you will not make any true friends. Real friends are not built in that way.

If you want to make new friends, do good things for others. These things need time, selflessness, and energy, and it might be tough, but eventually, you will reach your objective.

Only when you are interested in people will they be interested in us. If you show interest in another person, it has to be sincere. This works as a two-way street where both sides benefit. The person gaining the attention and the person that is showing interest must both benefit from friendship making.

Tactic #5: A sincere smile

Your action will override your words. If you smile and say, “I like you, you make my day shine. I am happy to see you again.”, they’ll believe you. But if you frown, then it’ll seem like you are being dishonest.

You must enjoy the time you meet the person if you want them to have a good time meeting you. If you are all alone, hum a tune to pretend that you are happy. Act like you are in a cheerful mode to put a smile on your face.

You have to pay attention to what you are thinking. It isn’t the things you have or external stimuli that make you happy or unhappy. Happiness depends on how you are feeling inside, not what you are feeling on the outside. 

Tactic #6: You need to remember people’s names

Make sure to remember people’s names when you meet them. Or study these people before going for meetings or social events by looking at the RSVP list. The author states that an average person is more interested in his own name more than all the rest’s names.

A lot of people don’t remember names, because they don’t take the time and resources to repeat the names at the back of their brain. 

It makes the individual feel unique when you call them by their name.

Whether the person is a bellboy or a manager, remembering the person’s name will work magic and might get you favors other people can’t obtain.

Tactic #7: Become a good listener and encourage people to share details about themselves

We often think that to have a good conversation, we need to share funny stories or jokes. However, the truth is that we like to be listened. 

If you want to seem attractive, ask questions that spark curiosity and try to make the other person share his story with you. You don’t have to listen in silence. Being a listener is hearing about a pleasant experience. Ask a few interesting questions, and put in a few “wow’s” to make the whole conversation lively.

To be useful in conversations, you need to listen with attention. To appear as an interesting person, you need to show genuine interest in the other person.

Pop questions that the other person will want to answer. Encourage people to talk about their personal lives and what they have accomplished throughout their lives. Make sure that other people see that you are interested in what they do and say instead of only focused on yourself.

Make sure to bear that in mind when you begin to chat with another person.

Tactic #8: Talk on the topics based on what the other person is interested in

People enjoy talking about themselves. They also love sharing their passions and hobbies

Try and find common interests and speak about these. Your office colleagues should all have things you can talk to them about – what do your colleagues enjoy? What do they do in their free time? What makes them start talking? Encourage your teammates to talk about their interests and learn from them. This is another way to get a new friend and show them that you are genuinely interested in them.

Tactic #9: Make the other person feel like a famous person 

The author states that when you meet someone, you need to ask yourself a question.

”What do I admire in that person? Why do I admire them?” 

Practice doing this over and over with new people. 

The most important rule of today is – Always make your friend feel like they are a person of importance. 

If we go by that golden rule, we will never find ourselves in deep trouble. If you obey that law, you’ll gain many friends and be happy all the time. However, if you break that rule, you’ll end up in a lot of trouble.

It’s vital to give other people what we hope they will provide to us at all times, everywhere. There is a phrase you can use like “Can you assist us?” “Won’t you please help us?” “Thank you for your kindness, sir,” Small courtesies that you give to people every day are the little thing of each day that promotes a happy life that has edible seeds planted in them.

There are many people that you encounter that might feel more superior to you in a certain way. A gateway to their hearts is to make them feel important.

Tactic #10: The only way to win an argument is to avoid argument

The author has written a principle about fighting; you cannot win. Even if you have the best evidence against your enemy and you shoot them down, the only thing you get is resentment. So when you ‘win’ – you lose. People are like that.

Many fights end with each party even more convinced that he is right.

To prevent disagreement from turning into a big fight, you need to welcome the difference. Be glad if some part of the argument that you haven’t seen has been highlighted to your attention. You need to listen first before you fight, and if you smell a fight coming, delay a discussion for later on.

Tactic #11: Never tell the other person that they are wrong.

We always think that we are right all the time, and we end up making silly mistakes. However, if you keep going through life thinking that you are never wrong, you will always believe that the other person is messing up when they don’t agree with you.

 No one on earth wants to be labeled as wrong.

Instead, tell the other person, “I do not agree with your opinion, but I may be wrong. If I am wrong, I want to be corrected. Let’s go through the whole thing again.”

When we make a mistake, we might silently admit that we are wrong. If we handle it smoothly, we assume the error in the other person and take pride in our frankness. However, if the other party belittles us, we do not tolerate it. 

Do not argue with your client or partner. Use some diplomacy, and you will see your point, though.

Tactic #12: If you made a mistake, admit it fast and apologize

Once you do something wrong, admit it. Acknowledging that you have made a mistake is an excellent way to build trust and empathy between both parties. Instead of covering up your mistakes or hiding them, the author encourages the other person to admit that he is wrong fast with enthusiasm. This allows people to view you as another human. The minute you condemn yourself, other people might even begin to defend you.

Tactic #13: Don’t try to hide your mistakes, own up to them

If we know that we will get rebuked by the other person, then we should beat the other person first by saying it ourselves before he has a chance to say it. It is easier to handle self-criticism than to bear another person’s condemnation.

You need to address the flaws about yourself that the other person intends to shoot your way. Mention them before the other person has an opportunity to throw them in your face.

This gives you some satisfaction in having the courage to face your mistakes. It clears the room filled with guilt and defensiveness and solves the issue that has been made by errors.

Tactic #14: Getting the other person to agree with you as quickly as possible

Always try to solve the argument on an agreement. What can both of you agree on? What are the questions that you can ask the other person to get him or her to decide? If you start the whole thing in agreement, it will finish on good terms.

To win someone over on your side, you need to convince the other person that you are his sincere friend. Approaching someone in a friendly manner and appreciating them for who they are will change their minds from all the storms on earth.

Tactic #15: Let the other person do most of the talking

When the other person does not feel heard or valued, they completely shut down. When you are dealing with someone difficult, find the good things in that person.

There are many cases where someone tries to win other people over by doing most of the talking by themselves. Let other people tell you their stories and opinions. You only need to ask them different questions.

When you do not agree with them, do not interrupt the conversation. Listen to their point of view with patience and an open mind. Make sure to be sincere about your opinion. Encourage the other person to talk about their ideas. Most of our friends would want to tell us about what they have achieved rather than hear us tell them about our accomplishments. 

When our friends become better than us, they feel more important. However, when we become better than them, most of them start to feel envious.

Tactic #16: Give the other person the impression that the idea was initially theirs

People believe in ideas that they find out themselves compared to the ones that are given to them. Don’t force your beliefs and opinions on another person. Instead, give out ideas and suggestions and let other people figure out the conclusion.

No one likes to feel like they have been told to do something or sold an idea. We prefer to buy things on our wishes and act on our own opinions. We want to be consulted on our ideas and thoughts.

Tactic #17: Try to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view

The other person might be wrong. Yet, they do not think so. Therefore, do not condemn them but try to understand the person’s point of view instead.

There is always a reason why the other person thinks in that manner. Find out the intention underlying the problem, and you have the key to why he behaves in that manner. You also hold the key to his personality. Put yourself in his shoes. Dealing with people effectively means grasping the other person’s point of view.

Tactic #18: Show sympathy to the other person’s opinions

Our desire is to make sure that the person that we are dealing with understands our point of view. You can use the other person’s words to tell them about what they think about!

A magic phrase to eliminate arguments and ill thoughts is to make the other person listen in the right manner. “I do not blame you for feeling that way. If I were in your shoes, I would feel the same way.”

An answer like that will make anyone turn soft. If you say that verse, it will sound heartfelt, because if you were the other person, you would feel the same way.

Most people just want some sympathy, so just give them what they want. In return, they will love you for it.

Tactic #19: Appeal to their best intentions

We all like to think that we are good people with core values. We want to think of ourselves as great citizens. It is crucial to remind the people around us of their moral values. For example, the author tells the story of a tenant that wanted to leave the apartment four months before his lease ended. Instead of arguing with the tenant and demanding full payment, the landlord was civil about it. He reminded the tenant that he was a man of his word and that he should take some time to think about it. 

Most of us want to do what’s right and what other people approve of. So when we appeal to their nobler sides, they’ll be keener to act the way we want them to than if we confronted them aggressively.

Tactic #20: Add drama to your opinions

The more that you can create language and stories that have more tension in them, the more people will listen. Everyone likes a little fire and a little excitement.

This is the day you turn your story into an Eragon movie. Merely giving people the truth is not good enough. The fact has to be sensational and full of drama in it.

You need to use a lot of drama to attract attention. You need to do it if you want to gain an audience and garner attention.

Tactic #21: Challenge another person

A little competition can make both parties energized. If you are trying to motivate people, and you have been attempting to complement them correctly, show them empathy. Help people feel heard in society. There is a way to do it – give them a competitive edge. 

That is a big reason that motivates people by doing the work itself. If the work is appalling, then the worker will be prompted to do a proper job.

The thing that each successful individual loves – the game. The chance to express themselves. The opportunity to prove themselves and win the game. The desire to feel important to everyone. 

Tactic #22: Giving praise first before giving lousy feedback

It is always easier to hear the “bad news” after hearing the ”good news.” We can still swallow the worst parts later on after hearing our good points, especially at work. Have we done it, right? Does the boss agree on our actions?

Tactic #23: Do not use the word “But.”

When you want to criticize someone, find an alternative way to criticize them indirectly. A lot of people start to give out their criticism with appreciation, then they go in and add in the disaster word – but then deliver the bad news. Something like, “You are a good worker with a great attitude, and we appreciate it, BUT…” The second that person hears the word “but” it makes them wonder if they are appreciated at all! 

Replace the word “but” with the name “and.” For example, “You are a great worker: we appreciate your service, “and” we have several suggestions on how to make your work even better. Here is what we suggest…”

Tactic #24: Acknowledge your mistakes upfront

When we do something wrong that makes us embarrassed or when we make an error, we tend to hide it or bury the bad news. The author gives a piece of entirely different advice! You should admit your mistakes as soon as possible so that you will allow the other person to see through your transparency. It isn’t hard for another person to criticize what we do wrong when we humbly admit that we are no different from them.

Admitting to your faults even when another person hasn’t corrected, it can convince someone to alter their behavior.

Tactic #25: Don’t order another person directly

If you are the manager, don’t give orders directly. It makes the worker feel bossed around. Asking questions will make the order feel more satisfactory and stimulates the other person’s creativity of work.

People will accept the order if they have a part in that order that has been given out.

Tactic #26: Do not wound another person’s pride

If you want to criticize someone, do it privately. Do not humiliate another person in public by reprimanding them in a crowded area. Think about their wounded ego. Make sure to be considerate and do not harm another person’s pride. If you are a manager, do not reprimand the employee in front of the whole company. Even if the person is wrong, you should not wound his ego.

Tactic #27: Give as much praise as possible

The author wants his readers to be careful with criticism or judgment, but they should give praise whenever it is necessary. If we keep overriding other people’s feelings or finding fault with the people around us, we will end up nowhere. However, we should praise the person properly when they do something right so that they will continue to improve.

Using praise to substitute criticism is one of the basic teachings of expert Skinner. These psychologists have experimented on animals and humans that when you criticize them less and praise them more, the result is the person learns faster and does better work as well.

Praise should be sincere, and it has to be specific as well. The other person needs to be giving genuine appreciation to make the other person feel complimented. However, it cannot be given just to make the other person feel good. Over praise will become flattery.

The person improves under praise and becomes worse under criticism.

Tactic #28: Give another person something to be proud of

The thing of human nature is that if you give them a job to live up to, they will live up to that image. It is a positive label, and they will try to accomplish it. “You are a straight-A student, and you will become a doctor!” The parent says to the kid. Therefore the kid materialized the dream. If you want to make the person improve, label them positively.

Tactic #29: Give people words of encouragement

Praise someone when they have good points and always dish out encouraging words to let them achieve their objectives. Be liberal in giving out encouraging words, and make the task seem easy and give the person faith that he can do it. That way, the person will keep improving until they excel.

Tactic #30: Make the other person excited about what you want them to do

This is the final principle stated in the book. The author wants his readers to take on a different perspective. Having higher expectations will allow people to obtain what they desire. If instead of bossing someone around, you make them feel eager about getting something done, they will work twice as hard!

Author Biography

Dale Carnegie is an American writer and has penned several motivation and self-help books. He was born in Missouri and is a best-selling author in his own right.

His books are still as popular nowadays as the day they were published.

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