How to Win Friends and Influence People (highlights)

My Kindle highlights from How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carenegie

RULE 1 : Become genuinely interested in other people.
RULE 2 : Smile.
RULE 3 : Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.
RULE 4 : Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
RULE 5 : Talk in terms of the other man’s interest.
RULE 6 : Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.

Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favour of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others—yes, and a lot less dangerous.

about 15 per cent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 per cent is due to skill in human engineering—to personality and the ability to lead people.

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.

Criticism is futile because it puts a man on the defensive, and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a man’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses his resentment.

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

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. “To know all is to forgive all.”

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.

Dr. Dewey says the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important”.

Lincoln once began a letter by saying: “Everybody likes a compliment.” William James said: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” He didn’t speak, mind you, of the “wish” or the “desire” or the “longing” to be appreciated. He said the “craving” to be appreciated.

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

“There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a man as criticisms from his superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a man incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loathe to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”

We nourish the bodies of our children and friends and employees; but how seldom do we nourish their self-esteem.

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 is universally condemned.

When we are not engaged in thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95 per cent of our time thinking about ourselves. Now, if we stop thinking about ourselves for a while and begin to think of the other man’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.

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.

Here is one of the best bits of advice ever given about the fine art of human relationships. “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 his angle as well as from your own.”

The world is full of people like that: grabbing, self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition. Owen D. Young said: “The man who can put himself in the place of other men, who can understand the workings of their minds, need never worry about what the future has in store for him.”

If out of reading this book you get just one thing: an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view, and see things from his angle—if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the milestones of your career.

“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.”

William Winter once remarked that “self-expression is the dominant necessity of human nature”. Why can’t we use that same psychology in business? When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making the other person think it is ours, why not let him cook and stir the idea himself? He will then regard it as his own; he will like it and maybe eat a couple of helpings of it.

“My popularity, my happiness, and my income depend to no small extent upon my skill in dealing with people.”

Keep a diary in which to record your triumphs in the application of these principles. Be specific. Give names, dates, results. Keeping such a record will inspire you to greater efforts; and how fascinating these entries will be when you chance upon them some evening years from now!

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.

People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves—morning, noon, and after dinner.

“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.”

Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says: “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

That is why dogs make such a hit. They are so glad to see us that they almost jump out of their skins. So, naturally, we are glad to see them.

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

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.

So, before entering a man’s office, he always pauses for an instant and thinks of the many things he has to be thankful for, works up a great big honest-to-goodness smile, and then enters the room with the smile just vanishing from his face.

Whenever he met a new acquaintance, he found out his complete name, the size of his family, the nature of his business, and the colour of his political opinions. He got all these facts well in mind as part of the picture, and the next time he met that man, even if it was a year later, he was able to slap him on the back, inquire after the wife and kids, and ask him about the hollyhocks in the back-yard. No wonder he developed a following!

The average man is more interested in his own name than he is in all the other names on earth put together. Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid him a subtle and very effective compliment. But forget it or misspell it—and you have placed yourself at a sharp disadvantage.

This policy of Andrew Carnegie’s of remembering and honouring the names of his friends and business associates was one of the secrets of his leadership.

Most people don’t remember names for the simple reason that they don’t take the time and energy necessary to concentrate and repeat and fix names indelibly in their minds. They make excuses for themselves ; they are too busy.

Half the time we are introduced to a stranger, chat a few minutes, and can’t even remember his name when we say good-bye. One of the first lessons a politician learns is this : “To recall a voter’s name is statesmanship. To forget it is oblivion.”

His technique? Simple. If he didn’t hear the name distinctly, he said : “So sorry. I didn’t get the name clearly.” Then, if it was an unusual name, he would say : “How is it spelt?”

During the conversation he took the trouble to repeat the name several times, and tried to associate it in his mind with the man’s features, expression, and general appearance.


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 to anyone.

And so I had him thinking of me as a good conversationalist when, in reality, I had been merely a good listener and encouraged him to talk.

The man who talks only of himself, thinks only of himself. And “the man who thinks only of himself”, says Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, “is hopelessly uneducated.” “He is not educated,” says Dr. Butler, “no matter how instructed he may be.”

So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. As Mr. Charles Northam Lee puts it: “To be interesting, be interested.” Ask questions that the other man will enjoy answering. Encourage him to talk about himself and his accomplishments.

Remember that the man you are talking to is a hundred times more interested in himself and his wants and his problems than he is in you and your problems. His toothache means more to him than a famine in China that kills a million people. A boil on his neck interests him more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that next time you start a conversation.


“Whether it was a cowboy or a Rough Rider, a New York politician or a diplomat,” wrote Gamaliel Bradford, “Roosevelt knew what to say to him.” And how was it done ? The answer was simple. Whenever Roosevelt expected a visitor, he sat up late the night before reading up on the subject in which he knew his guest was particularly interested.


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 screw 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.

Oh yes, I did want something out of that chap. I wanted something priceless. And I got it. I got the feeling that I had done something for him without his being able to do anything whatever in return for me. That is a feeling that glows and sings in your memory long after the incident is passed.

The law is this : Always make the other person feel important. Professor John Dewey, as we have already noted, says that the desire to be important is the deepest urge in human nature; and Professor William James says : “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

Jesus summed it up in one thought—probably the most important rule in the world : “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

You want the approval of those with whom you come in contact. You want recognition of your true worth. You want a feeling that you are important in your little world. You don’t want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery, but you do crave sincere appreciation. You want your friends and associates to be, as Charles Schwab puts it, “hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise”. All of us want that.

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”—little courtesies like that oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life—and, incidentally, they are the hall-mark of good breeding.

Such is the power, the stupendous power, of sincere, heartfelt appreciation. Rossetti considered himself important. That is not strange. Almost everyone considers himself important, very important.

The untarnished truth is that almost every man you meet feels himself superior to you in some way; and a sure way to his heart is to let him realize in some subtle way that you recognize his importance in his little world, and recognize it sincerely.

Remember what Emerson said : “Every man I meet is in some way my superior; and in that I can learn of him.”

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

You can’t win an argument. You can’t, because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him ? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph.

“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.”

Buddha said, “Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love”, and a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument, but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation, and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.


You can tell a man he is wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words— and if you tell him he is wrong, do you make him want to agree with you? Never ! For you have struck a direct blow at his intelligence, his judgment, his pride, his self-respect. That will make him want to strike back. But it will never make him want to change his mind. You may then hurl at him all the logic of a Plato or an Immanuel Kant, but you will not alter his opinion, for you have hurt his feelings.

“Be wiser than other people, if you can ; but do not tell them so.”

If a man makes a statement that you think is wrong— yes, even that you know is wrong—isn’t it better to begin by saying : “Well, now, look ! I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let’s examine the facts” ? There’s magic, positive magic, in such phrases as : “I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.”

He told me of a certain experiment he had conducted, and I asked him what he tried to prove by it. I shall never forget his reply. He said : “A scientist never tries to prove anything. He attempts only to find the facts.”

You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong. That will stop all argument and inspire the other fellow to be just as fair and open and broadminded as you are. It will make him want to admit that he, too, may be wrong.

Few people are logical. Most of us are prejudiced and biased. Most of us are blighted with preconceived notions, with jealousy, suspicion, fear, envy, and pride. And most citizens don’t want to change their minds about their religion or their hair-cut or Communism or Clark Gable.

We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to it. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.”

“When this man insulted me and shook his fist in my face and told me I didn’t know my business, it took all the self-control I could summon up not to argue and try to justify myself. It took a lot of self-control, but it paid. If I had told him he was wrong and started an argument, there would have been a lawsuit, bitter feelings, a financial loss, and the loss of a valuable customer. Yes, I am convinced that it doesn’t pay to tell a man he is wrong.”


Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say—and say them before he has a chance to say them— and you take the wind out of his sails. The chances are a hundred to one that he will then take a generous, forgiving attitude and minimize your mistakes

Any fool can try to defend his 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.


“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 his reason.”

The sun can make you take off your coat more quickly than the wind; and kindliness, the friendly approach, and appreciation can make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster and storming in Christendom.

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. Keep emphasizing—if possible—that you are both striving for the same end and your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.

“A ‘No’ response [says Professor Overstreet in his book, Influencing Human Behaviour] is a most difficult handicap to overcome. When a person has said ‘No’, all his pride of personality demands that he remain consistent with himself. He may later feel that the ‘No’ was ill-advised; nevertheless, there is his precious pride to consider! Once having said a thing, he must stick to it. Hence it is of the very greatest importance that we start a person in the affirmative direction.”

“The psychological patterns here are quite clear. When a person says ‘No’ and really means it, he is doing far more than saying a word of two letters. His entire organism—glandular, nervous, muscular— gathers itself together into a condition of rejection.

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.

it doesn’t pay to argue, that it is much more profitable and much more interesting to look at things from the other man’s viewpoint and try to get him saying ‘yes,’ ‘yes’.”


Most people, when trying to win others to their way of thinking, do too much talking themselves. Salesmen, especially, are guilty of this costly error. Let the other man talk himself out. He knows more about his business and his problems than you do. So ask him questions. Let him tell you a few things.

If you disagree with him, you may be tempted to interrupt. But don’t. It is dangerous. He won’t pay attention to you while he still has a lot of ideas of his own crying for expression. So listen patiently and with an open mind. Be sincere about it. Encourage him to express his ideas fully.

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

The truth is that even our friends would far rather talk to us about their achievements than listen to us boast about ours.

He showed an interest in the other man and his problems. He encouraged the other man to do most of the talking—and made a favourable impression.

So, let’s minimize our achievements. Let’s be modest. That always makes a hit.

when our friends excel us, that gives them a feeling of importance; but when we excel them, that gives them a feeling of inferiority and arouses envy and jealousy.

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


Don’t you have much more faith in ideas that you discover for yourself than in ideas that are handed to you on a silver platter? If so, isn’t it bad judgment to try to ram your opinions down the throats of other people? Wouldn’t it be wiser to make suggestions—and let the other man think out the conclusion for himself?

No man likes to feel that he 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. We like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, our thoughts.

“I now realize why I failed for years to sell this buyer,” said Mr. Wesson. “I had urged him to buy what I thought he ought to have. I do the very opposite now. I urge him to give me his ideas. He feels now that he is creating the designs. And he is. I don’t have to sell him now. He buys.”

Remember, Roosevelt went to great lengths to consult the other man and show respect for his advice. When Roosevelt made an important appointment, he let the bosses really feel that they had selected the candidate, that the idea was theirs.


Remember that the other man may be totally wrong. But he doesn’t think so. Don’t condemn him. Any fool can do that. Try to understand him. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional men even try to do that.

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!

“I should rather walk the sidewalk in front of a man’s office for two hours before an interview, than step into his office without a perfectly clear idea of what I am going to say and what he—from my knowledge of his interests and motives—is likely to answer.”


Wouldn’t you like to have a magic phrase that would stop argument, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively? Yes? All right. Here it is. Begin by saying: “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you, I should undoubtedly feel just as you do.”

You deserve very little credit for being what you are—and remember, the man who comes to you irritated, bigoted, unreasoning, deserves very little discredit for being what he is. Feel sorry for the poor devil. Pity him. Sympathize with him.


The fact is that every man you meet—even the man you see in the mirror—has a high regard for himself, and likes to be fine and unselfish in his own estimation.

J. Pierpont Morgan observed, in one of his analytical interludes, that a man usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one. The man himself will think of the real reason. You don’t need to emphasize that. But all of us, being idealists at heart, like to think of the motives that sound good. So, in order to change people, appeal to the nobler motives.

“Experience has taught me”, says Mr. Thomas, “that when no information can be secured about the customer, the only sound basis on which to proceed is to assume that he is sincere, honest, truthful, and willing and anxious to pay the charges, once he is convinced they are correct. To put it differently and perhaps more clearly, people are honest and want to discharge their obligations.


That is what every successful man loves: the game. The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his worth, to excel, to win. That is what makes foot races and hog-calling and pie-eating contests. The desire to excel. The desire for a feeling of importance.


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



One day when I started to criticize her, I said to myself: “Just a minute, Dale Carnegie; just a minute. You are twice as old as Josephine. You have had ten thousand times as much business experience. How can you possibly expect her to have your viewpoint, your judgment, your initiative—mediocre though they may be? And just a minute, Dale, what were you doing at nineteen? Remember the asinine mistakes, the fool blunders you made? Remember the time you did this…and that…?”

If a few sentences humbling oneself and praising the other party can turn a haughty, insulted Kaiser into a staunch friend, imagine what humility and praise can do for you and me in our daily contacts. Rightfully used, they will work veritable miracles in human relations.

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


He always gave a person an opportunity to do things himself; he never told his assistants to do things; he let them do them, let them learn from their mistakes. A technique like that makes it easy for a person to correct his error. A technique like that saves a man’s pride and gives him a feeling of importance. It makes him want to co-operate instead of rebel.


Letting him save his face! How important, how vitally important that is! And how few of us ever stop to think of it! We ride roughshod over the feelings of others, getting our own way, finding fault, issuing threats, criticizing a child or an employee in front of others, without even considering the hurt to the other person’s pride! Whereas a few minutes’ thought, a considerate word or two, a genuine understanding of the other person’s attitude would go so far towards alleviating the sting!


Really big men, the world over, are too big to waste time gloating over their personal triumphs.

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’s praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other fellow to keep on improving.

The praise, the recognition that he received by getting one story in print, changed his whole career, for if it hadn’t been for that encouragement, he might have spent his entire life working in rat-infested factories. You may have heard of that boy, too. His name was Charles Dickens.

That praise changed the future of that boy and made a lasting impression on the history of English literature. For that boy has since written seventy-seven books and made over a million dollars with his pen. You’ve probably heard of him. His name was H. G. Wells.

Talk about changing people. If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come in contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can literally transform them.

We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses power of various sorts which he habitually fails to use.”


In short, if you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his outstanding characteristics.

“The average man”, said Samuel Vauclain, president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, “can be led readily if you have his respect and if you show him that you respect him for some kind of ability.”

“If you must deal with a crook, there is only one possible way of getting the better of him—treat him as if he were an honourable gentleman. Take it for granted he is on the level. He will be so flattered by such treatment that he may answer to it, and be proud that someone trusts him.”

The first teacher had discouraged me by emphasizing my mistakes. This new teacher did the opposite. She kept praising the things I did right and minimizing my errors.


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


be liberal with your encouragement; make the thing seem easy to do; let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it—and he will practise until the dawn comes in at the window in order to excel.


Franklin didn’t ask for a loan of $10. No! No! Franklin asked a favour that pleased the other man—a favour that touched his vanity, a favour that gave him recognition, a favour that subtly expressed Franklin’s admiration for his knowledge and achievements.

“By the time I left that evening,” Mr. Amsel says, “I not only had in my pocket a large initial order for equipment, but I had laid the foundations of a solid business friendship. I am playing golf now with this chap who formerly barked and snarled at me. This change in his attitude was brought about by my asking him to do me a little favour that made him feel important.”

Let me repeat: the principles taught in this book will work only when they come from the heart. I am not advocating a bag of tricks. I am talking about a new way of life.

Remember, we all crave appreciation and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it. But nobody wants insincerity. Nobody wants flattery.

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