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How to Win Friends and Influence People (1948)

by Dale Carnegie

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Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
How to Win Friends & Influence People is still one of the Top 40 Amazon Bestsellers for a reason. Dale Carnegie wrote this book in 1936 because no one was aware of anything like it in existence. All recent works I've read on the Great Depression marveled at its importance. Carnegie taught public speaking and became such a popular lecturer that eventually he turned his lectures into this book and updated it throughout his life with real-life illustrations that his students sent to him.
(The edition I read was revised in 1981 and has been updated by the editors with some 1970s examples, making the book slightly odd). More than 8 million people in 80 countries have taken his training course.
"Dale Carnegie would tell you that he made a living all these years, not by teaching public speaking-- that was incidental. His main job was to help people conquer their fears and develop courage."

Carnegie was scholarly beast in studying people, having read hundreds of biographies and critiqued something like 150,000 speeches.

What Carnegie writes jives with recent articles on what Google is looking for in an employee-- how to be someone who leads with confidence. The importance of humility and personal ownership of your own mistakes, while emphasizing others' achievements. Expertise is the least-important to Google and to Carnegie:
"15 percent of one's financial success is due to one's technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering-- to personality and the ability to lead people." (p. 22-23)

This is a book that probably been little improved on by other self-help books of the same genre, only the details remain-- for which you can find in psychology books. Carnegie gets his point across with probably a couple hundred stories, ranging from tales of Presidents (Lincoln, Taft, Hoover, TR, FDR) and titans of industry (Andrew Carnegie, Rockefeller, Schwab) to various lecture attendees who wrote Carnegie over the years (the index is impressive). Some of these stories--particularly those of Lincoln-- make the point stick in my mind quite vividly. The American history in the book is great. There are also oft-overlooked biblical references, much of what Carnegie is saying is strongly encouraged in the New Testament.You can read an outline of the chapters on wikipedia.

I have read many works on pop psychology, and even though I'm aware of my own cognitive biases I still am quite susceptible. A smile from a person makes me like them more-- makes me assume other positive attributes about the person.

"'People who smile, tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, and to raise happier children. That's why encouragement is a much more effective teaching device than punishment'" (quoting a psychologist, pg. 204).

I am often around politicians in hallways and have noticed that they tend to greet strangers with a warm smile, hold the door open for people far behind them, and perform other people-pleasing gestures. It's central to their core. Carnegie gives several examples of politicians and industry leaders in this book who do exactly the same thing-- it's central to their personalities and helps explain their success. People like them just because they seem warm and friendly. I need to smile more. I need to remember more names and call people by their names. All the time.



This week I had a rather critical email written to someone, with a complete rational argument. I felt it was my duty, conviction to correct the person's error. I then shelved it. I am going to re-write tactfully Carnegie style. I may still never send it.

One of the more powerful points Carnegie makes is that "You can't win an argument." (One of his principles is to "never criticize," but he later has a chapter entitled "How to Criticize--and Not Be Hated for It.")

"Why prove to a man he is wrong? Why not let him save his face? He didn't ask for your opinion. He didn't want it. Why argue with him?... What price will I have to pay if I win?" (p. 312, 326)
It demeans people when you set out to prove them wrong, it says "I'm smarter than you and here's why."
"It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self-esteem which is threatened" (338) when someone challenges us. "Two thousand years ago, Jesus said: 'Agree with thine adversary quickly'" (356).

"(A)s Charles Schwab put it, 'hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise.' All of us want that. So let's obey the Golden Rule and give unto others (lavish praise) what we would have others give unto us. How? When? Where? All the time, everywhere."

Owning up to one's owns faults is important, especially before entering into a critique of another or in an argument.
"When we are right, let's try winning people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong--and that will be surprisingly often...let's admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm" (376).

"Almost all people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance..." (290).

So, encourage others to talk about themselves, talk in terms of their interests, and make them feel important.

Criticism in the absence of an understanding of total love and/or respect is going to be harmful. I can scold my son or criticize my wife for something only if they know that they are 100% secure in my unconditional love. I should draw attention to their mistakes "indirectly," and ask questions rather than giving orders-- for which Carnegie gives several examples. An important point in all cultures I've lived in is to "let the other person save face" (556).

Carnegie has reinforced much of my belief in positive reinforcement of my son-- a cornerstone of ABA therapy for autism. There's principle of "Make the fault seem easy to correct"(590) and this is crucial in dealing with my son-- the example in the book is one of a mentally challenged child who overcomes by gradually building his strength and confidence in certain tasks.


He ends the book on ways to encourage people toward success-- namely focus on the process and small improvements. "Give a dog a good name" (579). Put the seed in the other person's mind that they are greater than what they realize-- the results will follow as they become that person.

Fantastic, classic book. I give it 5 stars. ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
It's like the college class you always needed but never thought to take. Carnegie was definitely well-read, and even if it sometimes makes you feel like a used car salesman, there's a lot of useful knowledge in here. Also, it will help you manipulate your friends! ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Wow. You might feel silly reading a book called "How to win friends..." but wow. wow. ( )
  aegossman | Feb 25, 2015 |
Smile more. Speak to peoples self interest when trying to persuade. Those 2 reminders alone make it worth the read. ( )
  DaveHowe | Jan 8, 2015 |
Dynamite! Fantastic! First-class book. Amazing how long ago it was published yet the principles in it are still effective today. I would definitely be getting my son to read this book when he is a teenager. The values Carnegie shares in his book is perfect to install in our young people. One of my favourite passages in his book, "Happiness doesn't depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. 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." ( )
  Mark_Oszoli | Nov 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
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This book is dedicated to a man who doesn't need to read it - My cherished friend Homer Croy
First words
Introduction by Lowell Thomas - a short-cut to distinction. On a cold, winter night last January two thousand five hundred men and women thronged into the grand ballroom of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York. Every available seat was filled by half past seven.

Introduction by Dale Carnegie - How this book was written - and why.  ... Why, then, have I had the temerity to write another book? And, after I have written it, why should you bother to read it?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Relocated from 'first words' Common Knowledge entry -"How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1937 in an edition of only five thousand copies." Which appears to be from the preface written by Dorothy Carnegie (Mrs. Dale Carnegie) to the 'revised' addition.

Following copied from Simon & Schuster (original publishers) web page on 10 May 2015 "Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies."
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Book description
Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Become genuinely interested in other people.
Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're wrong."
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Begin in a friendly way.
Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
Appeal to the nobler motives.
Dramatize your ideas.
Throw down a challenge.
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Let the other person save face.
Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671027034, Paperback)

This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today as it was when it was first published, because Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated. Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to "the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people." He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasizes fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated. Carnegie says you can make someone want to do what you want them to by seeing the situation from the other person's point of view and "arousing in the other person an eager want." You learn how to make people like you, win people over to your way of thinking, and change people without causing offense or arousing resentment. For instance, "let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers," and "talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person." Carnegie illustrates his points with anecdotes of historical figures, leaders of the business world, and everyday folks. --Joan Price

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:46 -0400)

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The inspirational personal development guide that shows how to achieve lifelong success.

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