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.
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.
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/