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How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)

by Dale Carnegie

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Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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 |
How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) by Dale Carnegie is a useful, concise book of tips and guidelines for interacting with others. I think two factors predominantly determine the quality of a self-help book: the writing style and manner of presenting the advice, and the applicability and usefulness of the advice itself. Carnegie's book is successful on both counts. It is well worth a look, if you are interested in improving your interpersonal relationship skills.

The fist half of the book is about how to make people like you and how to get along well with people. It is broadly applicable to all sorts of relationships, such as parent-child and salesperson-customer. The second half of the book is primarily about how to convince people to do certain things, to improve the quality of their work output, etc. The latter half of the book is most useful and applicable to relationships in the working world (though Carnegie does include some non-business examples even in the second half). The writing is clear and concise throughout.

The book is divided up into many small chapters, each of which focuses on a single, simple principle. For example, one tip in the first half of the book is to show honest appreciation for the other person's accomplishments or good points. The bulk of each chapter consists of numerous stories illustrating the principle in action. Carnegie draws heavily on examples from early 20th century business, including famous entrepreneurs and everyday people. Some examples are from earlier times- Abraham Lincoln is one of Carnegie's favorite models of good, diplomatic behavior.

The stories are the highlight of the book. Humans remember stories more easily than abstract rules, and the stories help ground Carnegie's principles, some of which sound dubious when read only in the form of Carnegie's single-sentence summaries at the end of each chapter. The stories do a great job highlighting what Carnegie means and why it works. Some of the stories (particularly the ones about everyday businesspeople) have a bit of a too-good-to-be-true quality to them ("I did such-and-such, and suddenly the customer who ignored me for years placed a huge order and became a good friend.") However, even if the reaction sometimes seems more positive than one might expect, the underlying principle still seems sound, and you can imagine it eliciting a similar if slightly less strong reaction.

This brings me to the second aspect of the book that must be considered: Just how good is this advice that Carnegie provides? In my view, it's quite good. I'm not going to be like one of Carnegie's examples and tell you a story in which I applied the principles and thereby changed my life. In fact, I'm writing this review pretty soon after finishing the book. But what I can say is that Carnegie's principles accord with what I've observed myself in the course of improving interpersonal relationship skills, through the golden rule ("How would I want to be treated?"), trial-and-error, and reasoning. Carnegie covers many of the important approaches I've identified, and he suggests a number of others that I had not previously thought about, or had observed a few times but hadn't decided whether they were important or not. Perhaps surprisingly, I didn't particularly disagree with any of the principles- while they are by no means equally effective or broadly applicable, at least none of them seemed counter-productive to me.

So, what are the flaws in Carnegie's work? Well, for one thing, the book's title makes it sound a lot more sinister (at least to modern ears) than the book really is. It's not about tricking or fooling people. It's just a collection of tips for interpersonal relationships, and in the second half, some hints on good managerial skills.

A few of the tips, particularly in the second section, are a little more gimmicky and feel less honest than most of the tips in the book. For example, Carnegie points out that you can praise someone for possessing a trait or skill that you want them to develop. They will then be motivated to work hard on that trait or skill to live up to the good reputation you've given them and not disappoint you/others. This technique may in fact provide motivation, at least temporarily, without arousing resentment (Carnegie's stated goal regarding influencing others). But it may not be true, or you might have to stretch the truth just a bit and praise their trait or skill on the basis of a so-so performance. The use of such tips is, at best, more limited and more complicated than the more straightforward tips that form the majority of the book, because you have to worry if the person him/herself will find it sincere, or how others might react (for example, other workers at the same company who have independently interacted with this person and formed their own opinions of his/her ability in this particular area). Despite these sorts of issues, I think these slightly gimmicky tips do have value, as long as you know to use them judiciously and only in suitable circumstances.

Although this isn't really Carnegie's fault, reading a book of tips on how to make people like you and how to convince people of things makes you realize that sometimes these goals will conflict with other goals. One can think of at least a few business-related examples (for instance, perhaps some of the tips to be a very well-liked manager might work against the goal of promoting a meritocratic business culture and duly recognizing top performers), but I think the more important issue might be when the tips in the first section might interfere with your own, personal enjoyment of interpersonal interactions. While having people like you is great, sometimes you might feel constrained by the need to behave in a particular way- you might want people to "like you for who you are." Carnegie recommends internalizing the principles (they are "a new way of living"), such that there is no longer any difference, but if you find yourself unable to fully achieve this state of mind, you might sometimes find yourself making trade-offs between doing what will make people like you and doing what you really want to do.

Lastly, one could critique Carnegie for some omissions. For instance, humor can be a great tool for improving interpersonal interactions and making people like you, but humor is not mentioned.

In any event, no self-help book is going to be perfect, and it is impressive that Carnegie's advice stands up as well as it does almost 80 years after it was written. If you read the book with an understanding that it's simplye a list of tips, and you should use the tips that make the most sense to you, then I think almost anyone interested in the topic will find the book worthwhile. ( )
  jrissman | Nov 13, 2014 |
I read Dale Carnegie when I was in my teens. His books are life changing and give you a fresh perspective on life. ( )
  Thomas_Cannon | Nov 5, 2014 |
I read Dale Carnegie when I was in my teens. His books are life changing and give you a fresh perspective on life. ( )
  Thomas_Cannon | Nov 5, 2014 |
According to me, this is this the best book ever written on human relationship and communication skill. I must have read it several times and I always find something interesting every time. It may not appeal to people who are young and yet to see the realities of life, but for those who have flexible and mature mind, this book is not to be missed. However, you must never use the formula of the book because that will not work, if copied. The author provides an alternative thought that should be explored before you decide your action based on impulse or commonsense. ( )
  Awdhesh | Oct 8, 2014 |
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This book is dedicated to a man who doesn't need to read it - My cherished friend Homer Croy
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How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1937 in an edition of only five thousand copies.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:30 -0400)

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

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