Summary from Wikipedia:
How To Win Friends and Influence People is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, it has sold over 30 million copies world-wide, and went on to be named #19 on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential books in 2011.
The book has been popular for so long that I feel like it has seeped into our (American) culture quite a bit by now. Regardless, it’s
There are also a number of great anecdotes that demonstrate how to apply the techniques.
Following are my highlights:
These investigations revealed that even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering—to personality and the ability to lead people.
One can, for example, hire mere technical ability in engineering, accountancy, architecture or any other profession at nominal salaries. But the person who has technical knowledge plus the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people—that person is headed for higher earning power.
people don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be. Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
The resentment that criticism engenders can demoralize employees, family members and friends, and still not correct the situation that has been condemned.
Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others—yes, and a lot less dangerous.
If you and I want to stir up a resentment tomorrow that may rankle across the decades and endure until death, just let us indulge in a little stinging criticism—no matter how certain we are that it is justified. When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently. Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.” Remember that phrase: “the desire to be important.” It is significant. You are going to hear a lot about it in this book.
Here is a gnawing and unfaltering human hunger, and the rare individual who honestly satisfies this heart hunger will hold people in the palm of his or her hand and “even the undertaker will be sorry when he dies.”
We nourish the bodies of our children and friends and employees, but how seldom do we nourish their self-esteem? We provide them with roast beef and potatoes to build energy, but we neglect to give them kind words of appreciation that would sing in their memories for years like the music of the morning stars.
One of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation.
In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.
Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips. You will be surprised how they will set small flames of friendship that will be rose beacons on your next visit.
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.
I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or a grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
bait the hook to suit the fish.
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.”
Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do it?” That question will stop us from rushing into a situation heedlessly, with futile chatter about our desires.
You are busy. Please don’t trouble to answer this note.
Owen D. Young, a noted lawyer and one of America’s great business leaders, once said: “People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their minds, need never worry about what the future has in store for them.”
If out of reading this book you get just one thing—an increased tendency to think always in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle—if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.
When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves. They will then regard it as their own; they will like it and maybe eat a couple of helpings of it.
“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.”
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.
you have to be interested in people if you want to be a successful writer of stories.”
Thurston had a genuine interest in people. He told me that many magicians would look at the audience and say to themselves, “Well, there is a bunch of suckers out there, a bunch of hicks; I’ll fool them all right.” But Thurston’s method was totally different. He told me that every time he went on stage he said to himself: “I am grateful because these people come to see me. They make it possible for me to make my living in a very agreeable way. I’m going to give them the very best I possibly can.” He declared he never stepped in front of the footlights without first saying to himself over and over: “I love my audience. I love my audience.” Ridiculous? Absurd? You are privileged to think anything you like. I am merely passing it on to you without comment as a recipe used by one of the most famous magicians of all time.
You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.
“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”
Jim Farley discovered early in life that the average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together. Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment. But forget it or misspell it—and you have placed yourself at a sharp disadvantage.
This policy of remembering and honoring the names of his friends and business associates was one of the secrets of Andrew Carnegie’s leadership.
We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing … and nobody else. The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others. The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual.
“Dr. Eliot’s listening was not mere silence, but a form of activity.
Listening is just as important in one’s home life as in the world of business. Millie Esposito of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, made it her business to listen carefully when one of her children wanted to speak with her. One evening she was sitting in the kitchen with her son, Robert, and after a brief discussion of something that was on his mind, Robert said: “Mom, I know that you love me very much.” Mrs. Esposito was touched and said: “Of course I love you very much. Did you doubt it?” Robert responded: “No, but I really know you love me because whenever I want to talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me.”
The chronic kicker, even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener—a listener who will be silent while the irate fault-finder dilates like a king cobra and spews the poison out of his system.
“Many persons call a doctor when all they want is an audience.”
If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.
So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one’s neck interests one more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that the next time you start a conversation.
I was waiting in line to register a letter in the post office at Thirty-third Street and Eighth Avenue in New York. I noticed that the clerk appeared to be bored with the job—weighing envelopes, handing out stamps, making change, issuing receipts—the same monotonous grind year after year. So I said to myself: “I am going to try to make that clerk like me. Obviously, to make him like me, I must say something nice, not about myself, but about him.” So I asked myself, “What is there about him that I can honestly admire?” That is sometimes a hard question to answer, especially with strangers; but, in this case, it happened to be easy. I instantly saw something I admired no end. So while he was weighing my envelope, I remarked with enthusiasm: “I certainly wish I had your head of hair.” He looked up, half-startled, his face beaming with smiles. “Well, it isn’t as good as it used to be,” he said modestly. I assured him that although it might have lost some of its pristine glory, nevertheless it was still magnificent. He was immensely pleased. We carried on a pleasant little conversation and the last thing he said to me was: “Many people have admired my hair.” I’ll bet that person went out to lunch that day walking on air. I’ll bet he went home that night and told his wife about it. I’ll bet he looked in the mirror and said: “It is a beautiful head of hair.” I told this story once in public and a man asked me afterwards: “What did you want to get out of him?” What was I trying to get out of him!!! What was I trying to get out of him!!! If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return—if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.
There is one all-important law of human conduct. If we obey that law, we shall almost never get into trouble. In fact, that law, if obeyed, will bring us countless friends and constant happiness. But the very instant we break the law, we shall get into endless trouble. The law is this: Always make the other person feel important. John Dewey, as we have already noted, said that the desire to be important is the deepest urge in human nature; and William James said: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” As I have already pointed out, it is this urge that differentiates us from the animals. It is this urge that has been responsible for civilization itself.
Jesus summed it up in one thought—probably the most important rule in the world: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” You want the approval of those with whom you come in contact. You want recognition of your true worth. You want a feeling that you are important in your little world. You don’t want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery, but you do crave sincere appreciation. You want your friends and associates to be, as Charles Schwab put it, “hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise.” All of us want that. So let’s obey the Golden Rule, and give unto others what we would have others give unto us. How? When? Where? The answer is: All the time, everywhere.
Little phrases such as “I’m sorry to trouble you,” “Would you be so kind as to ———?” “Won’t you please?” “Would you mind?” “Thank you”—little courtesies like these oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life—and, incidentally, they are the hallmark of good breeding.
Remember what Emerson said: “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.” And the pathetic part of it is that frequently those who have the least justification for a feeling of achievement bolster up their egos by a show of tumult and conceit which is truly nauseating.
“Talk to people about themselves,” said Disraeli, one of the shrewdest men who ever ruled the British Empire, and they will listen for hours.”
If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.
Which would you rather have, an academic, theatrical victory or a person’s good will? You can seldom have both.
You can tell people they are wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words—and if you tell them they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! For you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride and self-respect. That will make them want to strike back. But it will never make them want to change their minds. You may then hurl at them all the logic of a Plato or an Immanuel Kant, but you will not alter their opinions, for you have hurt their feelings.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.
If a person makes a statement that you think is wrong—yes, even that you know is wrong—isn’t it better to begin by saying: “Well, now, look. I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let’s examine the facts.”
‘Our dealership has made so many mistakes that I am frequently ashamed. We may have erred in your case. Tell me about it.’
You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong. That will stop all argument and inspire your opponent to be just as fair and open and broad-minded as you are. It will make him want to admit that he, too, may be wrong.
most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.
“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 he or she is wrong. You only succeed in stripping that person of self-dignity and making yourself an unwelcome part of any discussion.”
Martin Luther King was asked how, as a pacifist, he could be an admirer of Air Force General Daniel “Chappie” James, then the nation’s highest-ranking black officer. Dr. King replied, “I judge people by their own principles—not by my own.”
Two thousand years ago, Jesus said: “Agree with thine adversary quickly.”
Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say—and say them before that person has a chance to say them.
Elbert Hubbard was one of the most original authors who ever stirred up a nation, and his stinging sentences often aroused fierce resentment. But Hubbard, with his rare skill for handling people, frequently turned his enemies into friends. For example, when some irritated reader wrote in to say that he didn’t agree with such and such an article and ended by calling Hubbard this and that, Elbert Hubbard would answer like this: Come to think it over, I don’t entirely agree with it myself. Not everything I wrote yesterday appeals to me today. I am glad to learn what you think on the subject. The next time you are in the neighborhood you must visit us and we’ll get this subject threshed out for all time. So here is a handclasp over the miles, and I am, Yours sincerely, What could you say to a man who treated you like that?
When we are right, let’s try to win people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong—and that will be surprisingly often, if we are honest with ourselves—let’s admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm.
Daniel Webster, who looked like a god and talked like Jehovah, was one of the most successful advocates who ever pleaded a case; yet he ushered in his most powerful arguments with such friendly remarks as: “It will be for the jury to consider,” “This may, perhaps, be worth thinking of,” “Here are some facts that I trust you will not lose sight of,” or “You, with your knowledge of human nature, will easily see the significance of these facts.” No bulldozing. No high-pressure methods. No attempt to force his opinions on others. Webster used the soft-spoken, quiet, friendly approach, and it helped to make him famous.
In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing—and keep on emphasizing—the things on which you agree. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.
La Rochefoucauld, the French philosopher, said: “If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.”
Our factory has recently completed a new line of X-ray equipment. The first shipment of these machines has just arrived at our office. They are not perfect. We know that, and we want to improve them. So we should be deeply obligated to you if you could find time to look them over and give us your ideas about how they can be made more serviceable to your profession. Knowing how occupied you are, I shall be glad to send my car for you at any hour you specify.
“The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them.
Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so. Don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that.
“Stop a minute,” says Kenneth M. Goode in his book How to Turn People Into Gold, “stop a minute to contrast your keen interest in your own affairs with your mild concern about anything else. Realize then, that everybody else in the world feels exactly the same way! Then, along with Lincoln and Roosevelt, you will have grasped the only solid foundation for interpersonal relationships; namely, that success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.”
Many people begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word “but” and ending with a critical statement. For example, in trying to change a child’s careless attitude toward studies, we might say, “We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term. But if you had worked harder on your algebra, the results would have been better.” In this case, Johnnie might feel encouraged until he heard the word “but.” He might then question the sincerity of the original praise. To him, the praise seemed only to be a contrived lead-in to a critical inference of failure. Credibility would be strained, and we probably would not achieve our objectives of changing Johnnie’s attitude toward his studies. This could be easily overcome by changing the word “but” to “and.” “We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term, and by continuing the same conscientious efforts next term, your algebra grade can be up with all the others.” Now, Johnnie would accept the praise because there was no follow-up of an inference of failure. We have called his attention to the behavior we wished to change indirectly, and the chances are he will try to live up to our expectations.
Marge Jacob of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, told one of our classes how she convinced some sloppy construction workers to clean up after themselves when they were building additions to her house. For the first few days of the work, when Mrs. Jacob returned from her job, she noticed that the yard was strewn with the cut ends of lumber. She didn’t want to antagonize the builders, because they did excellent work. So after the workers had gone home, she and her children picked up and neatly piled all the lumber debris in a corner. The following morning she called the foreman to one side and said, “I’m really pleased with the way the front lawn was left last night; it is nice and clean and does not offend the neighbors.” From that day forward the workers picked up and piled the debris to one side, and the foreman came in each day seeking approval of the condition the lawn was left in after a day’s work.
Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face. The legendary French aviation pioneer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.”
In his book I Ain’t Much, Baby—But I’m All I Got, the psychologist Jess Lair comments: “Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellow the warm sunshine of praise.”*
If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come in contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can literally transform them.
In short, if you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics. Shakespeare said, “Assume a virtue, if you have it not.” And it might be well to assume and state openly that other people have the virtue you want them to develop. Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.
The following outline of the book is publicly available on Wikipedia, so I figure it’s okay to reprint here: