How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Everybody in the world is seeking happiness – and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are and what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it. I think this is a concept that most people have not grasped yet and to be honest, it is so hard sometimes to control how and what you think.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. But, you cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.

There are two ways to think about the principles taught in Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People – through the management perspective and through real, personal relationships.

From a management perspective, I do believe that this book has some great insight into customer behavior and how to best get what you want by also giving customers and people what they want and making them feel like they were in charge of it. But, if you’re thinking about it in terms of real, personal friendships and relationships, I think this book ultimately tells you how to be a people pleaser rather than gaining a true friend or learning how to be a true friend yourself.

The principles taught in this book will only work when they come from the heart and if you’re sincere in your approach. It’s not a bunch of tricks you can apply to get your way – that’s not the point and I hope that doesn’t get missed when people read this book. I do think a lot can be said about being kind, caring, considerate, and compassionate, and I think Carnegie has explained why this matters thoroughly in his book.


  1. Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources.
  2. The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
  3. Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself.
  4. As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation.
  5. By criticizing, we do not make lasting changes and often incur resentment.
  6. Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others.
  7. Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.
  8. 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.
  9. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
  10. A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.
  11. Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness. To know all is to forgive all.
  12. The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.
  13. Everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great – the desire to be important.
  14. Many people who go insane find insanity a feeling of importance that they were unable to achieve in the world of reality.
  15. The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other is insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other is selfish. One is universally admired; the other is universally condemned.
  16. Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.
  17. Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.
  18. One of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation.
  19. Nothing pleases children more than this kind of parental interest and approval.
  20. We are interested in what we want.
  21. So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
  22. Action springs out of what we fundamentally desire.
  23. The only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what the other person wants.
  24. If there is any one secret to 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 as from your own.
  25. Customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.
  26. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  27. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
  28. You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
  29. 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.
  30. We are interested in others when they are interested in us.
  31. You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.
  32. Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
  33. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  34. People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves and are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be.
  35. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.
  36. 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.
  37. Always make the other person feel important.
  38. The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.
  39. You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.
  40. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
  41. 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.
  42. Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love, and a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation, and sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.
  43. Be wiser than other people if you can but do not tell them so.
  44. One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.
  45. 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.
  46. Few people are logical. Most of us are prejudiced and biased. Most of us are blighted with preconceived notions, with jealousy, suspicion, fear, envy, and pride.
  47. We sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance or heavy emotion, but if we are told we are wrong, we resent the imputation and harden our hearts.
  48. It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self-esteem which is threatened.
  49. There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness but often helps solve the problem created by the error.
  50. I may lose face by asking a younger person’s forgiveness, but I was at fault and it is my responsibility to admit this.
  51. 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.
  52. By fighting you never get enough but by yielding you get more than you expected.
  53. If you come at me with your fists doubled, I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, ‘Let us sit down and take counsel together, and if we differ from each other, understand why it is that we differ, just what the points at issue are,’ we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and the points on which we agree are many, and that is we only have the patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together.
  54. People don’t want to change their minds. But they may possibly be led to if we are gentle and friendly.
  55. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.
  56. In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing – the things on which you agree. You are both striving for the same end and your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.
  57. Most people trying to win others to their way of thinking do too much talking themselves. Let the other people talk themselves out. They know more about their business and problems than you do. So ask them questions. Let them tell you a few things.
  58. Listen patiently and with an open mind. Be sincere about it. Encourage them to express their ideas fully.
  59. How richly it sometimes pays to let the other person do the talking.
  60. But if you want friends, let your friends excel you.
  61. Because when our friends excel us, they feel important; but when we excel them, they – or at least some of them – will feel inferior and envious.
  62. We much prefer to feel that we are buying on our own accord or acting on our ideas. We like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, and our thoughts.
  63. 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.
  64. Try honestly to put yourself in his place. How would I feel, how would I react if I were in his shoes? You will save yourself time and irritation.
  65. Cooperativeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own. Starting your conversation by giving the other person the purpose or direction of your conversation, governing what you say by what you would want to hear if you were the listener, and accepting his or her viewpoint will encourage the listener to have an open mind to your ideas.
  66. It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
  67. Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving.
  68. We all crave appreciation and recognition and will do almost anything to get it. But nobody wants insincerity. Nobody wants flattery.
  69. Let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it.
Action springs out of what we fundamentally desire.
*I take no credit for any of these points.

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