How to Win Friends and Influence People
First edition, 11th printing (February 1937)
|Publisher||Simon and Schuster (1936)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover,Paperback)|
How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie(1888-1955) and first published in 1936, it has sold over 30 million copies world-wide, and went on to be named #19 on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential books in 2011.
Leon Shimkin of the publishing firm Simon & Schuster took one of the 14-week courses given by Carnegie in 1934. Shimkin persuaded Carnegie to let a stenographer take notes from the course to be revised for publication. The original book contained sections providing colorful anecdotes and insightful wisdom. It gave instruction in handling people, winning friends, bringing people to your way of thinking, being a great leader, and navigating home life successfully. Carnegie combined age-old truisms with the emerging field of psychology to present a handbook in human relations which was interesting and accessible. Emphasizing the use of other’s egotistical tendencies to one’s advantage, Carnegie maintained that success could be found by charm, appreciation, and personality. The book sold exceptionally well from the start, going through 17 editions in its first year.
In 1981, a new revised edition containing updated language and anecdotes was released. The revised edition reduced the number of sections from 6 to 4, eliminating sections on effective business letters and improving marital satisfaction.
In 2011, a 3rd edition was released, titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age“. This edition was written by Dale Carnegie & Associates. It takes Carnegie’s time-tested prescription for relationship and business success, and applies them to the digital age.
- 1Major sections and points
- 1.1Twelve Things This Book Will Do For You
- 1.2Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- 1.3Six Ways to Make People Like You
- 1.4Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- 1.5Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
- 1.6Letters That Produced Miraculous Results
- 1.7Seven Rules For Making Your Home Life Happier
- 4In popular culture
- 6External links
Major sections and points
Twelve Things This Book Will Do For You
- Get you out of a mental rut, give you new thoughts, new visions, new ambitions.
- Enable you to make friends quickly and easily.
- Increase your popularity.
- Help you to win people to your way of thinking.
- Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done.
- Enable you to win new clients, new customers.
- Increase your earning power.
- Make you a better salesman, a better executive.
- Help you to handle complaints, avoid arguments, keep your human contacts smooth and pleasant.
- Make you a better speaker, a more entertaining conversationalist.
- Make the principles of psychology easy for you to apply in your daily contacts.
- Help you to arouse enthusiasm among your associates.
The book has six major sections. The core principles of each section are explained and quoted below.
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. Human nature does not like to admit fault. When people are criticized or humiliated, they rarely respond well and will often become defensive and resent their critic. To handle people well, we must never criticize, condemn or complain because it will never result in the behavior we desire.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation. Appreciation is one of the most powerful tools in the world. People will rarely work at their maximum potential under criticism, but honest appreciation brings out their best. Appreciation, though, is not simple flattery, it must be sincere, meaningful and with love.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want. To get what we want from another person, we must forget our own perspective and begin to see things from the point of view of others. When we can combine our desires with their wants, they become eager to work with us and we can mutually achieve our objectives.
Six Ways to Make People Like You
- Become genuinely interested in other people. “You can make more friends in two months by being interested in them, than in two years by making them interested in you.” The only way to make quality, lasting friendships is to learn to be genuinely interested in them and their interests.
- Smile. Happiness does not depend on outside circumstances, but rather on inward attitudes. Smiles are free to give and have an amazing ability to make others feel wonderful. Smile in everything that you do.
- Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. “The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names in the world put together.” People love their names so much that they will often donate large amounts of money just to have a building named after themselves. We can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering their name.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. The easiest way to become a good conversationalist is to become a good listener. To be a good listener, we must actually care about what people have to say. Many times people don’t want an entertaining conversation partner; they just want someone who will listen to them.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most. If we talk to people about what they are interested in, they will feel valued and value us in return.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. The golden rule is to treat other people how we would like to be treated. We love to feel important and so does everyone else. People will talk to us for hours if we allow them to talk about themselves. If we can make people feel important in a sincere and appreciative way, then we will win all the friends we could ever dream of.
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. Whenever we argue with someone, no matter if we win or lose the argument, we still lose. The other person will either feel humiliated or strengthened and will only seek to bolster their own position. We must try to avoid arguments whenever we can.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re wrong.” We must never tell people flat out that they are wrong. It will only serve to offend them and insult their pride. No one likes to be humiliated, we must not be so blunt.
- If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Whenever we are wrong we should admit it immediately. When we fight we never get enough, but by yielding we often get more than we expected. When we admit that we are wrong people trust us and begin to sympathize with our way of thinking.
- Begin in a friendly way. “A drop of honey can catch more flies than a gallon of gall.” If we begin our interactions with others in a friendly way, people will be more receptive. Even if we are greatly upset, we must be friendly to influence people to our way of thinking.
- Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes. Do not begin by emphasizing the aspects in which we and the other person differ. Begin by emphasizing and continue emphasizing the things on which we agree. People must be started in the affirmative direction and they will often follow readily. Never tell someone they are wrong, but rather lead them where we would like them to go with questions that they will answer “yes” to.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. People do not like listening to us boast, they enjoy doing the talking themselves. Let them rationalize and talk about the idea, because it will taste much sweeter to them in their own mouth.
- Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers. People inherently like ideas they come to on their own better than those that are handed to them on a platter. Ideas can best be carried out by allowing others to think they arrived at it themselves.
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. Other people may often be wrong, but we cannot condemn them. We must seek to understand them. Success in dealing with people requires a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. People are hungering for sympathy. They want us to recognize all that they desire and feel. If we can sympathize with others, they will appreciate our side as well and will often come around to our way of thinking.
- Appeal to the nobler motives. Everyone likes to be glorious in their own eyes. People believe that they do things for noble and morally upright reasons. If we can appeal to others’ noble motives we can successfully convince them to follow our ideas.
- Dramatize your ideas. In this fast paced world, simply stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth must be made vivid, interesting, and dramatic. Television has been doing it for years. Sometimes ideas are not enough and we must dramatize them.
- Throw down a challenge. The thing that most motivates people is the game. Everyone desires to excel and prove their worth. If we want someone to do something, we must give them a challenge and they will often rise to meet it.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation. People will do things begrudgingly for criticism and an iron-fisted leader, but they will work wonders when they are praised and appreciated.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. No one likes to make mistakes, especially in front of others. Scolding and blaming only serves to humiliate. If we subtly and indirectly show people mistakes, they will appreciate us and be more likely to improve.
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. When something goes wrong, taking responsibility can help win others to your side. People do not like to shoulder all the blame and taking credit for mistakes helps to remove the sting from our critiques of others.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. No one likes to take orders. If we offer suggestions, rather than orders, it will boost others confidence and allow them to learn quickly from their mistakes.
- Let the other person save face. Nothing diminishes the dignity of a man quite like an insult to his pride. If we don’t condemn our employees in front of others and allow them to save face, they will be motivated to do better in the future and confident that they can.
- Praise every improvement. People love to receive praise and admiration. If we truly want someone to improve at something, we must praise their every advance. “Abilities wither under criticism, they blossom under encouragement.”
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. If we give people a great reputation to live up to, they will desire to embody the characteristics with which we have described them. People will work with vigor and confidence if they believe they can be better.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. If a desired outcome seems like a momentous task, people will give up and lose heart. But if a fault seems easy to correct, they will readily jump at the opportunity to improve. If we frame objectives as small and easy improvements, we will see dramatic increases in desire and success in our employees.
- Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest. People will most often respond well when they desire to do the behavior put forth. If we want to influence people and become effective leaders, we must learn to frame our desires in terms of others’ desires.
Letters That Produced Miraculous Results
- In this chapter, the shortest in the book, Carnegie analyzes two letters and describes how to appeal to someone with the term “do me a favor” as opposed to directly asking for something which does not offer the same feeling of importance to the recipient of the request.
Seven Rules For Making Your Home Life Happier
- Don’t nag.
- Don’t try to make your partner over.
- Don’t criticize.
- Give honest appreciation.
- Pay little attentions.
- Be courteous.
- Read a good book on the sexual side of marriage.
Before How to Win Friends and Influence People was released, the genre of self-help books largely did not exist. Dale Carnegie began his career not as a writer, but as a teacher of public speaking. He started out teaching night classes at a YMCA in New York and his classes became wildly popular and highly attended. The success of the classes in New York prompted YMCAs in Philadelphia and Baltimore to begin hosting the course as well. After even greater success, Carnegie decided to begin teaching the courses on his own at hotels in London, Paris, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Because he could not find any satisfactory handbook already in publication, Carnegie originally began writing small booklets to go along with his courses. After one of his 14-week courses, he was approached by publisher Leon Shimkin of the publishing house Simon & Schuster. Shimkin urged Carnegie to write a book, but he was not initially persuaded. Shimken then hired a stenographer to type up what he heard in one of Carnegie’s long lectures and presented the transcript to Carnegie. Dale Carnegie liked the transcript so much he decided to edit and revise it into a final form. He wanted it to be extremely practical and interesting to read. To market the book, Shimkin decided to send 500 copies of the book to former graduates of the Dale Carnegie Course, with a note that pointed out the utility of the book for refreshing students with the advice they had learned. The 500 mailed copies brought orders for over 5,000 more copies of the book and Simon & Schuster had to increase the original print order of 1,200 quickly. Shimkin also ran a full page ad in the New York Times complete with quotes by Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller on the importance of human relations. Originally published in November 1936, the book reached the New York Times best-seller list by the end of the year, and did not fall off for the next two years. Simon & Schuster continued to advertise the book relying heavily on testimonials as well as the testable approach the book offered.Carnegie had created a new kind of book, one that was not read with passive interest, but rather a manual of active participation.
How to Win Friends and Influence People became one of the most successful books in American history. It went through 17 print editions in its first year of publishing and sold 250,000 copies in the first three months. The book has sold over 30 million copies worldwide since and yearly sells copies in the six-figure range. A recent Library of Congress survey ranked Carnegie’s volume as the seventh most influential book in American history. 
The book met widespread popularity, but also stark criticism in many cases. Despite many of the negative comments from his critics, Carnegie’s book established a new genre. Carnegie described his book as an “action-book” but the category he created has since become known as the self-help genre. Almost every self-help book since has borrowed some type of style or form from Carnegie’s “path-breaking best seller.”
Although How to Win Friends and Influence People ascended quickly on best-seller lists, the New York Times did not review it until February 1937. They offered a balanced critique arguing that Carnegie indeed offered insightful advice in dealing with people, but that his wisdom was extremely simple and should not overrule the foundation of actual knowledge.
The satirical writer Sinclair Lewis waited a year to offer his scathing critique. He described Carnegie’s method as teaching people to “smile and bob and pretend to be interested in other people’s hobbies precisely so that you may screw things out of them.” However, despite the criticism, sales continued to soar and the book was talked about and reviewed as it rapidly became mainstream.
Scholarly critique however, was little and oscillated over time. Due to the book’s lay appeal, it was not significantly discussed in academic journals. In the early stages of the book’s life, the few scholarly reviews that were written explained the contents of the book and attempted to describe what made the book popular. As time passed however, scholarly reviews became more critical, chiding Carnegie for being insincere and manipulative.
Despite the lack of attention in academic circles, How to Win Friends and Influence People was written for a popular audience and Carnegie successfully captured the attention of his target. The book experienced mass consumption and appeared in many popular periodicals, including garnering 10 pages in the January 1937 edition of Reader’s Digest.
The book continued to remain at the top of best-seller lists and was even noted in the New York Times to have been extremely successful in Nazi Germany, much to the writer’s bewilderment. He wrote that Carnegie would rate “butter higher than guns as a means of winning friends” something “diametrically opposite to the official German view.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People continues to have success even into the 21st century. The book ranks as the 11th highest selling non-fiction book on Amazon of all time and shows no signs of slowing down. The combination of Carnegie’s mid-west charm and the drive of the American dream have created an environment in which the book has flourished.
In popular culture
- Warren Buffett took the Dale Carnegie course “How to Win Friends and Influence People” when he was 20 years old, and to this day has the diploma in his office.
- Charles Manson used what he learned from the book in prison to manipulate women into killing on his behalf.
- The title of Lenny Bruce’s autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People is a parody of the title of this book.
- English rock band Terrorvision titled their second album How to Make Friends and Influence People in reference to the book.
- In August 2015, the book was featured on Showtime’s Masters of Sex, with portions recited in a voiceover as a main character studies the text.
- The title of Toby Young’s memoir How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is a parody of the title of this book. The memoir was also adapted into a 2008 film of the same namestarring Simon Pegg.
- An episode from season 7 of Cheers is called “How to Win Friends and Electrocute People” as a play on the title of the book.
- Season 7 episode 9 of Supernatural is titled “How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters”, in reference to the title of the book.
- Season 2 episode 3 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is titled “Making Friends and Influencing People”, in reference to this book. It aired October 7th, 2014.
- The book is referenced in the 2016 film Imperium, in which an undercover FBI agent uses principles from the book to infiltrate an extremist group.
- “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age”. Dalecarnegie.com. 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- Walters, Ray (September 5, 1982). “Paperback Talk”. New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
- Each section is a paraphrase of the main ideas written and developed by Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (Gallery: New York, 1998).
- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (Gallery: New York, 1998) 52.
- Dale Carnegie. How to Win Friends and Influence People (New York: Gallery, 1998) 73.
- Dale Carnegie. How to Win Friends and Influence People (New York: Gallery, 1998) 143.
- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People New York: Gallery, 1998. 220.
- Lowell Thomas, Shortcut to Distinction Introduction to How to Win Friends and Influence People. (New York: Gallery, 1998) 103.
- Steven Watts, Self-Help Messiah (New York: Other, 2013)
- Silverman, Al (2008). The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors, and Authors. Truman Talley. pp. 252–254. ISBN 978-0312-35003-1.
- Giles, Kemp. Dale Carnegie (New York: St. Martin’s, 1989) 137–141
- Giles, Kemp. Dale Carnegie (New York: St. Martin’s, 1989) 141.
- Giles, Kemp. Dale Carnegie (New York: St. Martin’s, 1989) 142.
- Display ad 42 – no title. (1936, Dec 07). New York Times (1923–Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/101624338
- Steven Watts, Self-Help Messiah (New York: Other, 2013) 2–4
- Giles, Kemp. Dale Carnegie(New York: St. Martin’s, 1989) 147.
- “Miscellaneous Brief Reviews.” 1937. New York Times (1923–Current File), Feb 14, 104. http://search.proquest.com/docview/101971502
- Sinclair Lewis, quoted in Tom Sant, The Giants of Sales. (New York: AMACOM, 2006) 96.
- Giles, Kemp. Dale Carnegie(New York: St. Martin’s, 1989) 152.
- Symons, A. E. 1937. The Australian Quarterly 9 (3). Australian Institute of Policy and Science: 115–16. doi:10.2307/20629470
- Parker, Gail Thain. 1977. “How to Win Friends and Influence People: Dale Carnegie and the Problem of Sincerity”. American Quarterly 29 (5). Johns Hopkins University Press: 506–18.doi:10.2307/2712571
- Display ad 49 – no title. (1937, Jan 25). New York Times (1923–Current File) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/102017737
- “Books and Authors.” 1940.New York Times (1923–Current File), Dec 29, 1. http://search.proquest.com/docview/105230738
- “Amazon.com: Top 20 Lists in Books: Books”.
- Lasson, Sally Ann (February 16, 2009). “Warren Buffet: The secret of the billionaire’s success”. The Independent. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
- Brady, Diane (July 22, 2013). “Charles Manson’s turning point: Dale Carnegie classes”. Business Week. Retrieved October 23, 2013.