How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary: Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary

How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary provides a free book summary, key takeaways, review, best quotes and author biography of Dale Carnegie’s famous self-help book.

Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People gave birth to the genre of self-help. In this book, he lays out an effective plan. It’s about how to get what you need from people. The key, as he says, is to change your behavior. He expands on the basics of dealing with people and becoming a leader. To develop these principles, Carnegie drew from great leaders from history. Abraham Lincoln was one such leader. As he wrote this book How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1935, some of the examples may look outdated. But, his core precepts are ageless. It’s possible to use them even today and is put forth easily. We recommend everyone to read this classic. No one has explained it better than Carnegie till date.

“Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.”

This Summary Will Help You Learn

  • Why you should listen to what others have to say;
  • How you can motivate others with positive reinforcement;
  • Which 12 strategies you may use to make others trust what you’re telling them.


  • Show genuine interest in people.
  • Don’t complain or criticize others.
  • Motivate people to speak about themselves.
  • If you err, accept it quickly.
  • Talk about your mistakes first before criticizing others.
  • Appreciate every effort, no matter how small.
  • First, change yourself, then change others.
  • Everyone wants to feel important. Hence, make others feel valued. Don’t ever undermine anybody’s sense of value.
  • Address people by their names. It’s the most important and sweetest sound in every language.
  • Dramatically share your views. You may use illustrations or performance to put across your ideas.

Suggested Reading: The Wealth of Nations Summary: Adam Smith

Suggested Reading: How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job Summary: Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary

“Fundamental Techniques in Handling People”

Mastering the art of influencing others and winning friends isn’t easy. But, it’s not all that tough also. You first need to learn and practice three core principles to deal with people. Keep reminding yourself of how important these principles are. Analyze them. And, think of ways to apply them in your life. Try using them whenever possible. Also, you may ask a friend or partner to remind you when you break any principle. Don’t forget to review your progress as you practice. Make notes which show when and how you used them.

Principle 1: Be Nice

The most important precept of dealing with people is kind to them. Hence, you must not condemn or criticize others. Instead, try understanding them and their actions. This way you can show your support, sympathy and be kind. Everyone like people who treat them with kindness. They positively respond to this approach.

You may have to practice self-control to resist showing your negative feelings. If you wish to change others, first focus on yourself.

Principle 2: Find Out What They Want

The next core strategy is to recognize what others want. And then give it to them. People want many things. Some of the most common aspirations are health, food, money, safety, a feeling of importance, etc.

Most of these desires may get fulfilled. But, the feeling of importance is usually not met. It’s a very strong desire. When people crave this they seek success, try wearing fashionable clothes and what not — all, in the pursuit of feeling important to others.

Want to know someone’s basic character? Try knowing what triggers their feeling of importance. Once you know this, you may make them feel valued. Also, refrain from doing or saying things which undermine their sense of importance.

For example, when giving employee feedback, use incentives instead of criticism. Always remember, criticism from a senior kills a person’s goals like no other. Hence, praise whenever you can. Try not to pick on small things. But, at the same time, don’t give insincere flattery. Because this sure doesn’t work well. People will mostly see it to be selfish and shallow. Instead, give sincere and honest appreciation. 

Principle 3: Help Them Get What They Want

The 3rd principle is to encourage a want in others. This is a helpful precept as everyone’s interested in getting their desires. Hence, if you wish to have more influence over others, know what they want. And, then help them attain it. For this, first, understand their viewpoint. They see the situation from their perspective and your own.

“Six Ways to Make People Like You”

Want people to like you? Then, focus on them. Also, show you care for their well-being. Follow the below six rules:

The First Rule

Develop a real interest in people. Through this, you’ll get their attention and cooperation time and again. If you show a genuine interest in others, as a manager, you may deepen their loyalty.

The Second Rule

Smiling makes for a great first impression. This’s crucial because actions are louder than words. Plus, a smile shows others that you like them. It shows that you’re pleased to see them.

Most importantly, it shows that you want to be friendly. A smile must not be an ingenuine grin. People hate such fake expressions. Instead, a genuine smile draws people to you. 

The Third Rule

Remember people’s names. You may use an easy technique to master this. When meeting a person for the first time, ask some basic things. First, is the name. And secondly, something about their education, family or business. Create an image of this information in your mind. Then, when you meet that person again, you’ll remember everything. Such power to recognize is significant. It’s because for people their names are substantial.

The Fourth Rule

Become a good listener. Convince others to talk to you about themselves. Rather than looking here and there, pay complete attention to people talking to you. It’s very flattering. People in customer service can mainly benefit from this skill. For example, suppose a client has some complaint. Just listen to him/her attentively. This may help calm their anger. This may also make their problem disappear.

The Fifth Rule

Speak in a manner that interests people. Discuss their passions and hobbies. Theodore Roosevelt was a master in this area. He knew a broad range of subjects. Whenever he had to meet an extraordinary person, he’d study his interests. This habit allowed him to woo people. 

The Sixth Rule

Find a suitable method to makes people feel valued. For example, ask yourself what traits in others you admire. William James, a psychologist, says, “the deepest desire of human beings is to get appreciation.” 

By praising others, you help add to their sense of importance. But, you must be genuine in your gratitude. Compliments must not appear to be fake flattery. 

“How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking”

Adopt 12 strategies to convince people to trust what you’re telling them. Try to use every technique in your conversations consciously:

  1. The only way to win an argument is to avoid it – Disagreements tend to make people defensive. Besides, someone who thinks he/she has lost an argument loses face. Once you become part of a debate, you can never win. It’s because if you lose, then you lose. And, even if you win, you lose. Hence, avoid arguments.
  2. Show respect for other people’s opinions – Don’t make people feel you disagree by using careless words or looks. When you challenge their views, you compel them to attack. This doesn’t change their mind at all.
  3. Admit when you are wrong – If you err, quickly accept it. Such admission is useful when you know others think you’re wrong. It’s better to hear self-criticism. Besides, when you accept a mistake, others are likely to be more forgiving. But, if you don’t accept, they’ll be more critical.
  4. Even if you are angry, begin in a friendly way – It’s impossible to win someone over who has negative feelings for you. But, by calming such emotions, you can make them understand your perspective.
  5. Get the other person to say “yes” in the beginning – Start by discussing things on which both parties agree. Because, once you get a “no,” you’ll have a hurdle in front of you. Hence, start with questions which will elicit a “yes.” Once the person starts saying yes, you can present the tougher questions.
  6. When dealing with complaints, let your clients do the talking – Let them speak all that they want to. As you listen, you’ll know more about their issues. Hence, you’ll be better placed to help. So, listen with an open mind. Be sincere and motivate your clients to share their concerns fully.
  7. Seek cooperation – Put the onus of producing an idea to the other party. People trust those suggestions more which they propose themselves.
  8. See things from the other person’s point of view – Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. This way, you’ll better know their needs and wants. This is especially useful if you’re going to sell something. It’ll help you understand what inspires the other person.
  9. Sympathize with what the other person thinks or wants – Through this, even if you don’t agree, you display that you understand. Say things like: “I don’t blame you for your feelings. If I were in your position, I’d feel the same.”
  10. Appeal to people’s higher aspirations and nobler motives – Normally, people have two reasons to do anything — the actual reason. And, a good reason. Most humans are idealists at the core. Hence, they like to believe their actions are with good intentions. So, you can change people by appealing to those good intentions.
  11. Dramatically express your ideas – By presenting your plans dramatically, you can make them look stronger and convincing. Use showmanship and illustrations to put across your ideas. This is a useful approach. Because the truth needs to be vivid. Merely speaking facts is not enough.
  12. Use a challenge to motivate others – This strategy is beneficial. Why do you ask? Because successful people like to prove their value. For example, Charles Schwab once drew “6” on a mill’s floor. He did this to note how many products the day-shift workers made. The following day, when the night-shift workers came, they drew a 7. This was to show that they did even better. It motivated the day-shift employees to work even harder and draw a 10. By showing what he expected, Schwab motivated his workers to work harder. If he had just asked his staff for better work, the results would be different.

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

“Be a Leader”

If you hold the position of a leader, use these nine principles. These will help you encourage others to change without arousing hatred:

  1. If you need to discuss someone’s fault, start with genuine praise.
  2. Don’t condemn someone in front of others. If someone has erred, indirectly raise awareness of his mistakes.
  3. Before criticizing someone, first, reveal your mistakes.
  4. Don’t give people a direct order. Instead, ask questions. For example, “how do you think we should do this?” This allows workers to provide their ideas.
  5. Never let anyone lose their face.
  6. Praise employees who’re improving even if the progress is little.
  7. Give your employees a good reputation to live up to.
  8. Encourage them. Let their weaknesses appear simple to correct.
  9. Make others feel happy about using your ideas.

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How to Win Friends and Influence People Review

Every book can be unique on its own, but this one by Dale Carnegie is one of the most influential ones in terms of the concept of self-help. The book was written in 1935, but when you read it even today, there are various concepts, which can be related to today’s modern life as well. There are various lessons in this book, which can be applied in today’s life, which itself is a great achievement of the book. The book is filled with so much useful information regarding self-help that how people can help themselves to grow in their lives by winning more friends and influencing other people. The author has talked about 12 critical strategies, which people can adopt into their lifestyle. These principles and strategies have been developed by the author after reviewing the life patterns of great leaders like Abraham Lincoln.

There are two or three strategies explained in the book that I would like to discuss in this review. The one principle told by Dale Carnegie is that “don’t complain” as well as criticize others. It is a fact that when people are criticized, they don’t like it at all, so one cannot develop good relations with others by criticizing them. The other strategy explained in the book is about accepting your own mistakes and errors. Moreover, it is crucial to show respect for other people. One has to respect the opinion of others so that any disagreement can be avoided. If you want to win the hearts of people and want to convince them of your interest, then it is vital to avoid any bad arguments. These rules described in the book can be useful for every other person, who wants to influence others and want to make more friends in his/her life. The people who are bad at dealing with people can take a lot out of this book to improve their people dealing abilities.

How to Win Friends and Influence People Quotes

“Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.”

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

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

“The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.”

“The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.”

“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.”

“One can win the attention and time and cooperation of even the most sought-af­ter people by becoming genuinely interested in them.”

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”

“Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.”

“The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.”

About the Author

Dale Carnegie was a favorite motivational teacher. He was also an author and wrote many famous self-help classics. His books sold millions of copies during the 1930-40s. These classics became the grounds for many training programs and seminars. The main topics these books addressed included self-improvement, interpersonal skills, salesmanship, and public speaking. How to Make Friends and Influence People was published in 1936. This book How to Win Friends and Influence People became a bestseller in no time and is still very popular. His other classics include The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking, How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, and, How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job. Carnegie passed away on November 1, 1955.


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  1. You are right, core principals and precepts of the Dale Carnegie are very important for the self-help concept. Even many years are past but still, we can use these principals and precept. Dale Carnegie has presented a very good idea to call people by their names. Basically, it can show that they are valuable for therefore you remember their names.

  2. Yes, I agree with you relationship building and influencing people depends upon the sharing and conversation. When we motive other to speak and communicate on different topics particularly about their life we can easily make them our friends. I agree with the Dale Carnegie as I personally experienced it in my life.

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