Book Notes by Abi Noda

How to Win Friends and Influence People - by Dale Carnegie

ISBN: 978-0143118756
READ: September 24, 2016

Critical Summary

I've had this book lying around since high school when my mother bought it for me. I am glad I finally got around to reading it at age 25 with many years ahead to put it to use.

The book is organized around three sections: 1) basic people skills, 2) how to be liked, and 3) how to win over people to your way of thinking.

Each section provides a set of principles for success. The greatest value isn't in the principles themselves, which in looking at my summarized notes seem like platitudes, but in the detailed examples and stories included to demonstrate applications of the principles.

I've walked away with usable strategies for how to make better first impressions, maintain fruitful relationships, and lead others. I would highly recommend this book to managers since it addresses how to direct, motivate, and provide feedback to team members.


This book was written because carnegie (who previously was teaching public speaking) realized that people even more sorely needed training in the art of getting along with people in everyday business and social contracts.

Research confirmed by several studies have shown that even in technical work like engineering, about 15 percent of one's technical knowledge is due to one's technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in personality and the ability to lead people

To gain the most of this book's material, apply them at every opportunity or you'll forget them quickly.

Fundamental techniques in dealing with people

Six ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people. All of us like people who admire us. Put ourselves out to do things for other people–things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness. Greet people with animation and enthusiasm – when someone calls say "hello" in tones that bespeak how pleased you are to have the person call

  2. Smile. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl, or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds.

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

  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. 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. There is nothing as flattering as exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you.

  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests. The royal road to a person's heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.

  6. Make the other person feel important–and do it sincerely. 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" – littles courtesies like these oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of every day life.

    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

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. You can't win an argument. If you lose it, you lose it; and if you win, you lose it. "A main convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

    Which would you rather have, an academic, theatrical victory or a person's good will? You can seldom have both.

    How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument: 1) welcome the disagreement, 2) promise to think over your opponents' ideas and study them carefully, 3) thank your opponents sincerely for their interest - "I appreciate that you care about this issue as much as I do""

  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong." Telling someone they are wrong will never make them want to agree with you because you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgement, pride and self-respect. If you are going to prove anything, don't let anybody know it. Do it subtly in a way no one notices.

    Admitting you may be wrong stops all argument and inspires your opponent to be just as fair and open and broad-minded as you are:

    "I may be wrong... I frequently am... And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let's examine the facts."

  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. "By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected."

  4. Begin in a friendly way

    If you come at me with your fists doubled I think I can promise you that lie 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 if we only have the patience and the candor and the desire together, we will get together.

  5. Get the other person saying "Yes, yes" immediately. When a person says "No" their entire organism becomes in a state of rejection. When a person says "Yes", the organism is set in a forward-moving, accepting, open attitude. Hence the more "Yeses" we can induce at the onset, the more likely we are to succeed in capturing the attention for our ultimate proposal.

    ... it doesn't pay to argue, that it is much more profitable and much more interesting to look at things from the other person's viewpoint and try to get that person saying 'yes, yes.'

    "He who treads softly goes far."

  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. "If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you."

  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. We prefer to feel that we are acting on our own ideas being told what to do or sold something. We like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, our thoughts.

    ... Calling a sales meeting, he urged his people to tell him exactly what they expected from him. As they talked, he wrote their ideas on the blackboard. He then said: "I'll give you all these qualities you expect from me. Now I want you to tell me what I have a right to expect from you."

  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view. Remember that other people may be totally wrong but don't think so. Cooperativeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person's ideas and feelings as important as your own.

  9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires. Magic phrase that can stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively: "I don't blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do."

  10. Appeal to the nobler motives. A person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one. Make the other side feel that you consider them honest, upright, and fair.

    "Please do not publish that picture of me any more; I don't like it" vs "Please do not publish that picture of me any more. My mother doesn't like it."

  11. Dramatize your ideas. Merely stating a truth isn't enough. The truth has to be dramatized–made divide, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship. Men get down on their knees to propose...

  12. Throw down a challenge. Every successful person loves a game – the chance for self-expression and the chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win. "It'll take a big person to ___". Schwab: "The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. ... the desire to excel."

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

  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... beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work Novocain.

  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly. Calling attention to one's mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism. eg. "I'd appreciate it if ______".

    Don't begin with praise and then say "but" – makes the original praise sound like a contrived lead-in. Instead use "and". eg. "We're really proud of you for raising your grades, and by continuing the same conscientious efforts next term, your algebra grade can be up with all the others."

  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.

    You've made a mistake, John. But it's no worse than many I have made. I have been guilty of so many stupid, silly things myself, I have very little inclination to criticize you or anyone. But don't you think it would have been wiser if you had ______?

  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. "Maybe if you did it x way it would be better?", "Would you consider x?" "Do you think x would work?" "What if you x?"

    Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; if stimulates the creativity of the person 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.

    Resentment caused by a brash order can last a long time.

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

  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise." Praise inspires the other person to keep on improving. When praise is specific, it comes across as sincere.

    I can look back at my own life and see where a few words of praise have sharply changed my entire future.

  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. Give a person a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.

    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.

    "Alicia, I hear you draw beautifully"

    "Tommy, I understand you are a natural leader. I'm going to depend on you to help me make this class the best class in fourth grade this year."

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

  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do as well as what the other person really wants. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest. Match those benefits to the other person's wants.