Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People

After reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and writing a review about it, I was eager to read other books by Dale Carnegie. Since our theme this month is Relationships, the obvious choice is How to Win Friends and Influence People.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the most popular books on human relations. The book has become a classic and remains a bestseller more than 70 years after its initial publication in 1936.

Let’s see inside the book.

Inside How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleThe book is organized into four parts with several chapters within each. Since there are 30 chapters in total, I will only discuss some of them here.

Part One. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

1. “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive”

Here is an important principle in relationships: don’t criticize, condemn or complain. People rarely blame themselves for anything, so if you criticize them not only are they unlikely to change, but also they may resent toward you.

2. The Big Secret of Dealing with People

People will go long way – sometimes even become insane – just to get the appreciation they need. So be a person who give honest and sincere appreciation to others. That’s the big secret of dealing with people. If you do that, you can’t keep people from liking you.

Part Two. Six Ways to Make People Like You

1. Do This And You’ll be Welcome Anywhere

This chapter contains a famous quote by Dale Carnegie:

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.

Are you interested in others? Do you want to know about them, admire their work, and eager to help them? If you do, they will also be interested in you.

2. A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression

The way to make a good first impression is so simple that we sometimes forget it: smile. When you smile, people will feel that you are glad to meet them. They will feel accepted and get a good first impression about you.

3. If You Don’t Do This, You Are Headed for Trouble

People put tremendous importance on their names. Therefore it will be much easier for you to win their hearts if you approach them by using their names. Unfortunately, we often forget names.

I’m as guilty as anybody else here. Sometimes I’m introduced to someone only to forget his or her name right after the conversation. Another embarrassing situation is when I meet someone who call me by name but whose name I forget.

4. An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist

It may seem counterintuitive, but being a good conversationalist is about by how good you talk. It’s about how good you listen. Encourage others to talk about themselves and be a good listener. People will feel appreciated and they will regard you as a nice people to talk with.

6. How to Make People Like You Instantly

To make people like you, make them feel important and do it sincerely. The desire to feel important is perhaps the deepest need someone has, so if you give it you will win  their heart.

I wrote some practical tips on it in 33 Tips to Become a Well Liked Person.

Part Three. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1. You Can’t Win an Argument

You can only lose if you argue because – no matter what the outcome of the argumentation is – you won’t win their heart. So the way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

This is something that is rather difficult for me. If I have an idea I’m confident about, I’m usually willing to argue to prove my point. This chapter shows me how wrong it is.

2. A Sure Way of Making Enemies – And How to Avoid It

A sure way of making enemies is by saying that they are wrong. People don’t like that, regardless of whether they are actually wrong or not. Such statements hurt their self-esteem. So learn to respect other people’s opinion, even when you disagree.

5. The Secret of Socrates

If you want to win other people to your way of thinking, it’s important to make them agree with you from the beginning. The way to do that is by asking questions that they will inevitably answer with “yes”. Every time they say “yes” they will become more receptive toward you. At the end, there is a good chance that they will accept the idea they previously rejected. This is a technique used by Socrates to convince his opponents.

8. A Formula that Will Work Wonders for You

There must be a reason why people say or act the way they do. Find that reason and talk from their point of view. If you understand them, they will in turn understand you.

Part Four. 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

As a leader, we sometimes need to correct the people we lead. But how can we do that without offending them? The answer is by praising and giving honest appreciation first. When we do that, they will become much more receptive to the correction we give.

6. How to Spur People On to Success

The best way to develop good traits in others is not by punishing them for incorrect actions but by rewarding them for correct actions. Praise every improvement they make, even the slightest one, and they will go to the right direction.

7. Give a Dog a Good Name

A good way to get others do things the way you want it is by giving them a fine reputation to live up to. For instance, if you want someone to be diligent then treat her as a diligent person and say so to her. Most likely she won’t disappoint you.


How to Win Friends and Influence People contains excellent principles for human relations. The principles are universal and cover practically every important aspects of relationships. The stories in each chapter make it easy to grasp those principles.

The problem, of course, is in putting the principles into practice. Knowing the principles is one thing, but applying them is another thing. Since most of us have the tendency to be selfish, we need conscious and serious effort to apply the principles in the book. That’s why Dale Carnegie positioned How to Win Friends and Influence People as a workbook that we should refer to from time to time.

This article is part of August 2008 theme: Relationships


  1. This has been on my ‘to-read’ list for quite a while, however it is behind about 10 other books right now 😉

    Thanks for a great review

  2. That’s ironic that you wrote a post about Dale Carnegie..I’m actually in the middle of reading the first book you reviewed by him (How to Stop Worrying and Start Living). It is an excellent read and many of the things he talks about in there have practical applications all these years later. I’m actually planning on reading ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ next…so thank you for both of the reviews 🙂

  3. This book is 1 of the 2 best self help books of all time! Thanks for the review! I did a very detailed chapter by chapter summary and even that can’t do it justice but in case your readers want even more of a flavor for what it offers, here it is:

    The other greatest self help book of all time is Think and Grow Rich which I summarized at

    My summaries are detailed enough to do the exercises straight from the summaries — and I do them often with great results! : )

  4. […] describe the book: it’s a guide to treating people decently and with respect. Here’s a post that outines the […]

  5. Thanks for sharing these important principles. Every time we’re with someone we have another opportunity to practice them.I recently spent the weekend reuniting with a group I met in Italy at a retreat. Everyone left feeling satisfied because we ensured that every single person got the spotlight to share their goals and obstacles and ask for ideas fr the group. The hardest part was keeping silent when the speaker paused a long while before responding. But everyone of us knew keeping silent at those times was the most helpful thing we could do.

  6. Great summary.

    I would add:

    “Speak ill of no man and speak all the good you know of everyone.”
    People react very badly to criticism; don’t do it, not to their face nor behind their back … especially not behind their back.

    Say “Thank You”.
    Express appreciation. People yearn, yearn to be appreciated.

    Talk about what people want and help them get it.
    “Arouse in others an eager want.”
    Corollary: let others take credit for your ideas; they’ll like your ideas a lot more if they believe them to be their own.

  7. Glenn,
    This book was also behind other books in my queue. But since the theme of the month is Relationships, it suddenly jumped to the first spot 🙂

    What a nice coincidence 🙂 If you like the first book I’m sure you will also like this book.

    I haven’t read Think and Grow Rich. Looks like I need to put it in my “candidate” list. Thanks.


    Every time we’re with someone we have another opportunity to practice them.

    I agree. Real life is the best laboratory of relationship principles.

    Nice additions.

    … especially not behind their back.

    It’s an important principle. We should never say anything bad about other people behind their back.

  8. In the words of a great man:
    Criticism is the life-blood of the movement. Don’t surround yourself with yes-men. – Nelson Mandela

  9. […] Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People [Life Optimizer] […]

  10. […] is the original post: How to Win Friends and Influence People – Tips Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 16:30 Tags: books, business development, carnegie, dale carnegie, […]

  11. Im just wondering how i can get my hands on this book as some told me to read so can be a better person

  12. My father gave me this book when I was about 18 and he told me “if you read this book, you will always be successful.” i used to read it every year to remind me of the importance of treating people and making them feel special. I refer to this book all the time and have given it to friends and family as gifts that lasts a lifetime. The new book by Dale’s daughter on “How to win friends and Influence People for Teen Girls” is excellent.

    Thank you Dale Carnegie for being such an influence on my life!

  13. Thank you very much for your good ideas and useful advice in the way treating people in normal life to get their feelings and …..

    Read it agin and again to remind you day after day and improve ourself.

    Thank you so much

  14. sir thank you very much for your good ideas to influence people

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