by Dale Carnegie

Book Cover

This book was published in 1936, before WW-II. It’s impressive how contemporary it still sounds! It’s an easy and entertaining read, and certainly a good list to have in mind.


Come from a place of love, make the effort to be nice, behave around people with empathy, i.e. understanding their point of view and motivations, and they will listen to what you suggest.

Reading notes

Handling people

  • Don’t criticize, complain or condemn. (Don’t tell someone they’ve fucked up)
    • People don’t want to be on the receiving end
    • People will be defensive
    • Defense usually invokes pushing back the blame onto the person criticizing
    • → therefore criticizing someone is generating criticizing in return
  • Give honest appreciation. (Tell people you appreciate them and what they do)
    • People are frowning
    • World is gray
    • Telling appreciation is a sun ray in the gray
    • Be honest and genuine. Appreciation made to earn something is only flattery and works the wrong way.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want (Start with what the other person wants)
    • Everyone has they own needs
    • If you approach someone with your own needs, why would they care
    • If you approach them with they own needs and a solution to that, better

Make people like you

  • Become genuinely interested in people
    • People like themselves, and want to talk about themselves
    • People are interesting
    • Ask people about their passions, their lives
    • Demonstrate enthusiasm when people show up
  • Smile
    • People are frowning
    • Smile is influencing mood
    • Smile beget smile
  • Remember people’s names and use them.
    • People want to feel unique
    • We’re lost in an ocean of people
    • Using people’s name sets them apart and demonstrates respect.
    • Make the effort, learn people’s name. “Good manners are made of petty sacrifices”
  • Be a good listener, encourage people to talk about themselves.
    • People are 100x more interested by themselves than the rest
    • Try to remember that when talking to people.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
    • People have passion that warms their heart
    • Identify what people are interested in
    • Research if needed
  • Always make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely
    • People need to feel they matter
    • Demonstrate you respect them and their time

How to win people to your way of thinking

  • You can’t win an argument - avoid arguments.
    • People don’t want to be proven wrong
    • “A man convinced against his will Is of the same opinion still.”
    • If you lose, you lose. If you win, you lose (relationship takes a toll).
    • People don’t need unsolicited advice.
    • Recognize the disagreement
    • When forced into one, apply other principles to help moving away from the argument
  • Show respect to other people’s opinion, don’t say “you’re wrong”
    • Give room for people to express and act on their opinion - and win
    • Just state facts you can both agree on
    • Use diplomacy instead
    • When you know they are, slowly guide people to realize they’re wrong on their own.
  • If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
    • Admit your mistake loudly and unequivocally
    • People want to feel important. If you try to reject the blame people will want to show you wrong
    • If you blame yourself the only way they can feel important is to act magnanimously, and defend you
    • ‘By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.’
  • Begin in a friendly way - even when you’re wronged, open conversation on friendly grounds.
    • If you are acting friendly, people will need to act friendly
    • Problems can solve themselves if you both are acting friendly
    • Open the conversation on friendly grounds
  • Get the other person saying “yes” to begin with
    • When people say yes they start in a positive trend
    • When people say no they close
  • Let people realize things by themselves - walk the realization process and feel like ideas are theirs.
  • Try to honestly see things from the other person’s point of view
    • expose their opinions and how they feel like
    • People want to be understood
    • When you apologize and sympathize with other people’s point of view, they might do the same
  • Appeal to nobler motives:
    • Delegate responsibility
    • Demonstrate trust and respect honesty
    • e.g. You are working with ethics and respect, I know you will deal with that in this fashion
  • Use showmanship: put some dramatization in the way you demonstrate your ideas
  • Challenge people: appeal to the desire to excel

Induce change in people

  • Begin with praise and honest appreciation to build up security
  • Call attention to the mistakes and problems by invoking faith in the person to change
    • E.g. I’m sure that thru work you’ll get this to be as good as your other work next month!
  • Talk about your own mistakes first, relate.
  • Ask questions, drive the thinking of the other person towards what you think they should do… without telling them directly (so they think it’s their own idea).
  • Give an escape path, let the other person save face.
  • Praise the slightest improvement.
    • Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.’
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
    • If you qualify someone with a quality, they will incorporate it and try to demonstrate they do in fact have the quality

      With that reputation to live up to, even a nine-year-old couldn’t let her down – and he didn’t.

      ~ Carnegie, Dale. How To Win Friends And Influence People

  • Make the fault seem easy to correct.
    • Make a big deal of success, use encouragement
    • Make improvements easy to visualize.
  • Make people happy to follow your suggestion
    • Make benefits visible
    • Make positions official, distribute awards and titles.


Childish? Perhaps. But that is what they said to Napoleon when he created the Legion of Honour and distributed 15,000 crosses to his soldiers and made eighteen of his generals ‘Marshals of France’ and called his troops the ‘Grand Army.’ Napoleon was criticised for giving ‘toys’ to war-hardened veterans, and Napoleon replied, ‘Men are ruled by toys.’

~ Carnegie, Dale. How To Win Friends And Influence People

About Reading Notes

These are my takes on this book. See other reading notes. Most of the time I stop taking notes on books I don't enjoy, and these end up not being in the list. This is why average ratings tend to be high.