Review of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is a book review of Dale Carnegie’s all time international classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is a large review with the occasional diversion from the topic because I feel it is appropriate for this classic book.

The original version of this book was written in 1937 with 5,000 copies available. Word quickly spread the globe about the lessons in the book and now there is over 16 million copies in print. Business owners, salespersons, and generally people who are interested in better relating to their fellow human being, have constantly referred to How to Win Friends and Influence People over the years as the best book you can read on the subject.

Classic Literature

In every subject there are usually one or two books people categorize as “must-read” if you are to succeed in the subject. In the wealth world there is Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and Wallace Wattles’ The Science of Getting Rich. In the advertising world there is Claude Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising. In the self-help world there is Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics or The New Psycho-Cybernetics. While in the human relationships and communication skills world, the number one book to read is How to Win Friends and Influence People. A substantial number of experts in their respective industries refer to these books as the best ones you can read. (Read these classic books as they are original sources of most self-help information taught today.)

Most of these classical books date back to 1920. They are pioneers in their respective industry. Books that discuss the psychology of financial success to this day use the same principles mentioned in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. The same goes for other self-help classics like James Allen’s As A Man Thinketh. How to Win Friends and Influence People is no exception. Nearly any communication skills book today mentions a principle originating from the book, whether it be to show interest in people or to avoid criticism. It is the authority book in human relations.

If you are unfamiliar with self-help classics, you may wonder how the heck these books written in the early-to-mid 1900s are useful today? Surely humanity has made superior discoveries that exceed this “old school” material?

In the human relationships and communication skills world, the number one book to read is How to Win Friends and Influence People.

I use to think books today were superior to self-help classics. I heard hundreds of people praise How to Win Friends and Influence People. I thought the book was most people’s introduction to communication skills. I thought, “Sure, the book is great because it’s your first experience in learning the amazing benefits of good communication.”

There is something to do with learning a subject from its original pioneers that makes the information powerful.

What I later found, which is what many people experience, is that by reading the book one time every year you encounter new realizations. Life-changing insights are also frequently experienced by many people upon re-reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. I believe this is because your awareness and experience in the present is not enough to completely grasp the principles in these classic books.

Fundamental People Skills

The book has four parts that deal with techniques to handle people, ways to make people like you, winning people to your way of thinking, and being a successful leader. Each are fundamental skills of human relations. I consistently refer to these principles in my articles and other teachings. The important point I want to distinguish is that fundamentals are not basic skills. Fundamentals in any area form a framework for further skill development.

An athlete cannot become good at his sport without fundamentals. Sport coaches will tell you that an athlete who does not have the right fundamentals is tough to coach because every skill builds from the foundations laid by fundamental skills. Professional athletes always fine tune their fundamental skills because they know the profound affect such skills have on their professional abilities. Advanced techniques are only useful when the person knows the fundamentals. Also, having good fundamentals produces an exponential effect that puts you ahead of 95% of people, while advanced techniques in any area produces a slight improvement that gives you an edge over the 5% who also have sound fundamentals.

Tiger Woods still improves his fundamentals, but he can afford to work on perfecting his 2-iron stinger where he hits the ball with a very low trajectory. The average golfer is better off focusing on fundamentals like a better grip, stance, and pre-shot routine. The skills taught in How to Win Friends and Influence People need to be revisited and constantly worked on regardless of how good you think you are in communication.

More Specifics of the Book

At the start of each chapter, Carnegie discusses the chapter’s principle. He then provides an example of how someone, mostly students from his speaking course, have applied the principle in their business or family life. The stories themselves can be a revelation at times as you become aware of how and in what situations the principles can be applied.

The majority of the book discusses concepts instead of word-for-word techniques. One principle is making the other person feel important. Carnegie doesn’t tell you to say exactly this and that. He provides the “what”, which is the concept, with a little bit of the “how”.

The table of contents is below:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1. ‘If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive’
2. The Big Secret of Dealing with People
3. ‘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
1. Do This and You’ll Be Welcome Anywhere
2. A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression
3. If You Don’t Do This, You Are Headed for Trouble
4. An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist
5. How to Interest People
6. How to Make People Like You Instantly

Win People to Your Way of Thinking
1. You Can’t Win an Argument
2. A Sure Way of Making Enemies – and How to Avoid It
3. If You’re Wrong, Admit It
4. A Drop of Honey
5. The Secret of Socrates
6. The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints
7. How to Get Cooperation
8. A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You
9. What Everybody Wants
10. An Appeal That Everybody Likes
11. The Movies Do It. TV Does It. Why Don’t You Do It?
12. When Nothing Else Works, Try This

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
1. If You Must Find Fault, This is the Way to Begin
2. How to Criticize – and Not Be Hated for It
3. Talk About Your Own Mistakes First
4. No One Likes to Take Orders
5. Let the Other Person Save Face
6. How to Spur People On to Success
7. Give a Dog a Good Name
8. Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct
9. Making People Glad to Do What You Want

The principles of each part are nicely summarized at its end so you can easily review and memorize them. Each principle may seem simple, but don’t let simple deceive you from power. These are strong principles still changing the lives of those who read the book five or more times.

If you don’t already have a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, you need to go grab your copy now from Amazon by clicking here.

Video

Warren Buffett on BBC talks about how he changed his life with Dale Carnegie’s lessons on people skills

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to http://www.towerofpower.com.au/free/

Comments

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[…] I read the book. Brian Tracy has described this book as a modern version of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I would not go to that degree, but it is an excellent book on winning friends. You can grab your […]

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[…] book is similar to Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People in that they both are classic books shaping many self help teachings today. These are books over 70 […]

DALJEET
Reply

Thanks Joshua.
I HAVE GONE THROUGH THE BOOK How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
IT’S A REALLY HELPFUL TOOL TO IMPROVE THE RELATIONSHIPS @ COMMUNICATION.

Alison
Reply

I read how to win friends and influence people about 13 years ago this review would be a good refreshment for me thanks a million!

Mohammad Mobin
Reply

Dear Joshua :
Good day and Peace to you and your family !!

I have read the book a decade ago and would like to read it again. Tell me, why don’t the politicians read it? Like Mr. Bush (Pres.USA) for example. Can he not introduce and practice the concepts mentioned there in the book to make friends all over the world? Or the principles mentioned therein only relate to individuals and not to nations?

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"
Reply

Mohammad, I think you asked a great question that needs a large answer. President Bush and other persons in power would have very likely read Dale’s book at some time. In addition, someone in his position has multiple advisers that are well skilled in areas of persuasion, influence, and likability. It’s not like anyone is “above” or “too good” for communication skills.

Not everyone is perfect. At times we all make decisions that don’t use the knowledge we have gained. I’m sure we could recall decisions by persons in power that counter good human relation principles. We could also find just as many successful applications of the principles by the same people.

Politicians and any person can most certainly use these principles of human relations. If the concepts were used more frequently and by more people, we’d definitely be living in a more peaceful world.

ramanujabhattar
Reply

hi joshua,
I was first introduced to this book(BORROWED IT) way back in 1982 and i read it first time for four continuous hours till early hours and bought my copy next day morning. It improved my way of dealing with people drastically. And i give it to people whenever I have a occasion to do it.

When I read books of other people on this subject, I feel they have clothed the skeleton afresh and stop reading it.

abdirazak
Reply

i read this book and i can say it is the most important book i have read in my live and i need more books like this, if you can provide us. you are doing a great job, keep doing this. thanks

(EDIT by Josh: The above comments were added from an old version of the review.)

[…] phone skills bag of tricks is mentioning the person’s name more often. As Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People writes, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important […]

Aisha
Reply

Its very fascinating and excellent for self development. please send me more.

[…] social skills insight to share. A lot of what he discusses builds on from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Read some of his other posts on communication and socializing if you have the […]

Michelle Ofren.
Reply

I was told by one of my friends at toastmasters that this is the book that has changed his life.My friend is already on his 60’s, had read several amazing books but he told me that this is the book that has the greatest impact in his life (He admitted he read it at least three times). I purchased the book shortly afterwards and is now reading the last chapter.

It is really amazing Joshua that you’ve recommended this book on your website. I really do think that you are a great person. You are so cool you’ve been helping us to improve our communication skills and people skills. I’ve been following your advices/comments about different topics and you are doing a great job giving advices! I learned a lot from you so thanks a million(I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way)! 😛

Cheers,
– Michelle O.

40 Ways to Make a Good First Impression
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[…] yourself. Yeah, that will impress people when done right. You see, fans of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People are so adamant on making the conversation about others and being interested in people. This makes a […]

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