How to Win Friends and Influence People — Key messages and takeaways.

Alex Aristidou
2 min readJun 19, 2020

An outdated classic or a contemporary gem? Do we need an introduction here? “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is the all-time classic and best-selling book in the categories of self-help / personal development. Read and utilized by millions of people across the world. I remember being introduced to this book by my dad long time ago, when I was too young to appreciate the benefits of such a book. 15 years later, I found myself reading it ferociously. It’s no surprise why. An easy to read manuscript divided into small easily-digestible chunks with practical advice and examples to back each advice up. Dale Carnegie did not just decide one day to write a book about strategies of personal relationships. Before writing the book he taught thousands of people on such techniques and through his classes and seminars heard and analyzed myriads of stories of success and failure in human relationships. This book is the result of a lifetime of work and experience in human psychology and relationships.

Still though, the question of whether the advice in this book is dated remains. My take is that, the advice and examples given are indeed a tiny bit dated. However the overarching theme of each chapter and the takeaway messages are as strong and relevant now as ever. Here’s what you should get out of this book.

(1) TECHNIQUES IN HANDLING PEOPLE

  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want.

(2) WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile.
  • Remember that a persons’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.

(3) HOW TO WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING

  • 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 feel that 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.

(4) HOW TO CHANGE PEOPLE WITHOUT GIVING OFFENSE OR AROUSING RESENTMENT

  • 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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