How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie

Buy on Amazon

Highly Recommend

This book is a classic for a reason. I should re-read this every year – we deal with people every day and sometimes forget how many things we could be doing better. This is the definitive guide for all things people.


Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

Red and I were getting better and better. Practice, that’s all it took. All a guy needed was a chance. Somebody was always controlling who got a chance and who didn’t.

Say to yourself over and over: “My popularity, my happiness and sense of worth depend to no small extent upon my skill in dealing with people.”

Wanamaker learned this lesson early, but I personally had to blunder through this old world for a third of a century before it even began to dawn upon me that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, 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.

There you are; human nature in action, wrongdoers, blaming everybody but themselves. We are all like that. So when you and I are tempted to criticize someone tomorrow, let’s remember Al Capone, “Two Gun” Crowley and Albert Fall. Let’s realize that criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.

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.

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.

If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. That determines your character. That is the most significant thing about you.

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,” said Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.

In the long run, flattery will do you more harm than good. Flattery is counterfeit, and like counterfeit money, it will eventually get you into trouble if you pass it to someone else.

The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.

When we are not engaged in thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95 percent of our time thinking about ourselves. Now, if we stop thinking about ourselves for a while and begin to think of the other person’s good points, we won’t have to resort to flattery so cheap and false that it can be spotted almost before it is out of the mouth.

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.

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want. So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

“If there is any one secret of success,” said Henry Ford, “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.”

Looking at the other person’s point of view and arousing in him an eager want for something is not to be construed as manipulating that person so that he will do something that is only for your benefit and his detriment. Each party should gain from the negotiation.

William Winter once remarked that “self-expression is the dominant necessity of human nature.” Why can’t we adapt this same psychology to business dealings?

Remember: “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.”

Six Ways to Make People Like You

Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.

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.

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.

If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people—things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness.

Principle 2: Smile.

She didn’t realize what everyone knows: namely, that the expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.

You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.

“Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there.

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

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.

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

But I had done this: I had listened intently. I had listened because I was genuinely interested. And he felt it. Naturally that pleased him. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone.

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.

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.

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

Talking in terms of the other person’s interests pays off for both parties. Howard Z. Herzig, a leader in the field of employee communications, has always followed this principle. When asked what reward he got from it, Mr. Herzig responded that he not only received a different reward from each person but that in general the reward had been an enlargement of his life each time he spoke to someone.

Principle 6: Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.

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. The law is this: Always make the other person feel important.

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.

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.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didn’t ask for your opinion.

As a result of all this, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument—and that is to avoid it.

Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.

So figure it out for yourself. Which would you rather have, an academic, theatrical victory or a person’s good will? You can seldom have both.

He wanted a feeling of importance; and as long as Mr. Parsons argued with him, he got his feeling of importance by loudly asserting his authority. But as soon as his importance was admitted and the argument stopped and he was permitted to expand his ego, he became a sympathetic and kindly human being.

Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”

Never begin by announcing “I am going to prove so-and-so to you.” That’s bad. That’s tantamount to saying: “I’m smarter than you are. I’m going to tell you a thing or two and make you change your mind.”

There’s magic, positive magic, in such phrases as: “I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.”

You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong.

Principle 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes—and most fools do—but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.

Remember the old proverb: “By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.”

Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way.

Lincoln said that, in effect, over a hundred years ago. Here are his words:   It is an old and true maxim that “a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart; which, say what you will, is the great high road to reason.

For example, when 2,500 employees in the White Motor Company’s plant struck for higher wages and a union shop, Robert F. Black, then president of the company, didn’t lose his temper and condemn and threaten and talk of tyranny and Communists. He actually praised the strikers. He published an advertisement in the Cleveland papers, complimenting them on “the peaceful way in which they laid down their tools.” Finding the strike pickets idle, he bought them a couple of dozen baseball bats and gloves and invited them to play ball on vacant lots. For those who preferred bowling, he rented a bowling alley. This friendliness on Mr. Black’s part did what friendliness always does: it begot friendliness. So the strikers borrowed brooms, shovels, and rubbish carts, and began picking up matches, papers, cigarette stubs, and cigar butts around the factory. Imagine it!

I read a fable about the sun and the wind. They quarreled about which was the stronger, and the wind said, “I’ll prove I am. See the old man down there with a coat? I bet I can get his coat off him quicker than you can.” So the sun went behind a cloud, and the wind blew until it was almost a tornado, but the harder it blew, the tighter the old man clutched his coat to him. Finally, the wind calmed down and gave up, and then the sun came out from behind the clouds and smiled kindly on the old man. Presently, he mopped his brow and pulled off his coat. The sun then told the wind that gentleness and friendliness were always stronger than fury and force.

Principle 5: Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.

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.

Hence the more “Yeses” we can, at the very outset, induce, the more likely we are to succeed in capturing the attention for our ultimate proposal.

His whole technique, now called the “Socratic method,” was based upon getting a “yes, yes” response. He asked questions with which his opponent would have to agree. He kept on winning one admission after another until he had an armful of yeses.

Principle 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

Most people trying to win others to their way of thinking do too much talking themselves. Let the other people talk themselves out.

Almost every successful person likes to reminisce about his early struggles.

La Rochefoucauld, the French philosopher, said: “If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.”

Principle 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying of our own accord or acting on our own ideas.

Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

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!

Ask yourself: “Why should he or she want to do it?” True, this will take time, but it will avoid making enemies and will get better results—and with less friction and less shoe leather.

Principle 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

So, because I had apologized and sympathized with her point of view, she began apologizing and sympathizing with my point of view. I had the satisfaction of controlling my temper, the satisfaction of returning kindness for an insult.

Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives.

The fact is that all people you meet have a high regard for themselves and like to be fine and unselfish in their own estimation.

Nothing will work in all cases—and nothing will work with all people. If you are satisfied with the results you are now getting, why change? If you are not satisfied, why not experiment?

Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas.

This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship. The movies do it. Television does it. And you will have to do it if you want attention.

Principle 12: Throw down a challenge.

Let Charles Schwab say it in his own words: “The way to get things done,” says Schwab, “is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.”

That do you think he found to be the most motivating factor—the one facet of the jobs that was most stimulating? Money? Good working conditions? Fringe benefits? No—not any of those. The one major factor that motivated people was the work itself. If the work was exciting and interesting, the worker looked forward to doing it and was motivated to do a good job. That is what every successful person loves: the game.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.

Principle 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said “No Smoking.” Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read?” Oh, no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.”

Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

It isn’t nearly so difficult to listen to a recital of your faults if the person criticizing begins by humbly admitting that he, too, is far from impeccable.

Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

Frequently he would say, after he had dictated a letter, “What do you think of this?” In looking over a letter of one of his assistants, he would say, “Maybe if we were to phrase it this way it would be better.” He always gave people the opportunity to do things themselves; he never told his assistants to do things; he let them do them, let them learn from their mistakes.

Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

Principle 5: Let the other person save face.

Letting one save face! How important, how vitally important that is! And how few of us ever stop to think of it!

Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face.

Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

Why, I wonder, don’t we use the same common sense when trying to change people that we use when trying to change dogs? Why don’t we use meat instead of a whip? Why don’t we use praise instead of condemnation? Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving.

What Mr. Roper did was not just flatter the young printer and say “You’re good.” He specifically pointed out how his work was superior. Because he had singled out a specific accomplishment, rather than just making general flattering remarks, his praise became much more meaningful to the person to whom it was given.

Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

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.

Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

Tell your child, your spouse, or your employee that he or she is stupid or dumb at a certain thing, has no gift for it, and is doing it all wrong, and you have destroyed almost every incentive to try to improve.

Principle 9; Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

“I replied that the President thought it would be unwise for anyone to do this officially, and that his going would attract a great deal of attention and people would wonder why he was there. …” You see the intimation? House practically told Bryan that he was too important for the job—and Bryan was satisfied.

Enjoy reading this?

Join entrepreneurs, Fortune 100 executives, private equity investors and other consumer leaders in receiving 1-2 case studies each week!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.