How To Win Friends And Influence People Summary9 min read

How to win friends and influence people cover

One-Sentence Summary

How to Win Friends and Influence People teaches you a set of working principles that helps you in handling people, make them like you, and agree with your way of thinking, thereby shaping yourself into a better leader of tomorrow.

Favorite Quote From The Author

That is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win. That is what makes foot-races, and hog-calling, and pie-eating contests. The desire to excel. The desire for a feeling of importance

Dale Carnegie

Quick Summary

The Art Of Making Friends
Four Fundamental Rules That Will Facilitate Friendship

Being one of the oldest self-help books, How to Win Friends and Influence People has been a literary sensation amongst readers for almost 80 years since its first release. Undoubtedly, this book has laid down the very foundations of Behavioral Psychology that we know today. As the title suggests, the author has put forth a structured way that helps you make friends, and influence them into your way of thinking. However, none of the principles mentioned in the book is meant to manipulate anyone in an unhealthy manner–the book does not advocate a bag of tricks; it is rather all about creating a new way of life. The book covers four major steps to achieve the same:

  1. The art of handling different people
  2. The art of making them like you
  3. The art of winning them to your way of thinking
  4. The art of becoming a leader

This article aims to present a detailed summary of the steps mentioned above.

Part 1: The Art Of Handling Different People

The very first thing that you must work on is understanding how to handle different personalities. We meet new people on a daily basis and it is necessary to know how to interact with them. 

  • One common thing in humans is that they don’t like being criticized or complained about – it doesn’t matter if they are in the wrong. If you find someone committing a mistake, do not criticize them. Instead, try to figure out why they did what they did. Any fool can criticize, condemn or complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. Remember: “To know all is to forgive all.”
  • The deepest desire of human nature is the desire to be appreciated. People tend to go hysterical in order to find, in the dreamland of insanity, the feeling of importance that has been denied to them in this world of harsh reality. So imagine what marvel you could create by giving honest and sincere appreciation to people!
  • One must not confuse appreciation with flattery because the latter is insincere and can get you into trouble. When you are hearty in your approbation and lavish with your praise, people will remember your words, treasure them, and cherish them over a lifetime.
  • Remember: people are almost never really interested in what you want. So when you want to get something done by someone, try to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s lens, as well as from your own. By doing so, you arouse in the other person an eagerness to perform a certain task. 

Part 2: The Art Of Making Them Like You

Once you have learned how to deal with different personalities, you are good to go with learning the principles of how to make people genuinely like you. 

  • 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. Try becoming genuinely interested in them and they will start gaining interest in you.
  • Nobody needs a smile as much as those who have none left to give them do. A mere smile can get people like you in an instant because there is more information in a smile than a frown and the effect of a smile is powerful even when it is unseen. How do you smile sincerely when you don’t feel like doing so? Force yourself to smile, and act as if you were already happy to see them and that will eventually tend to make you happy. It is worthy enough to mention how Smiling Friends imparts this knowledge to its viewers.
  • People are so proud of their names that they strive to perpetuate them at any cost. Because a name makes a person unique among all others and it is the sweetest and the most important sound to them in any language. Thus, taking your time and a little effort in remembering names and using them can work wonders!
  • Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves than in you. Just like how people like to be addressed by their names, they like to talk about their wants and problems. So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. When you do so, you will become more approachable and find it easier to approach anyone too.
  • If you genuinely want to befriend someone, you must make the other person feel important, the bottom line is to do it sincerely! Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. 

Part 3: The Art Of Winning Them To Your Way Of Thinking

  • You can never win an argument because even if you do, sometimes, it will be a vain victory as you will never get your opponent’s goodwill. So the only way to win an argument is to avoid it at any cost. 
How To Be An Effective Leader in 4 easy steps
How To Be An Avoid An Argument In 4 Easy Steps
  • How do you avoid an argument? Firstly, calm your nerves down and give your opponent a chance to talk. When they are done talking, look for areas of agreement and discuss them with your opponent. Keep your opponent, if possible, from saying ‘No.’
  • Apologize for your mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm. Not only does this technique produce astonishing results, but it is also a lot more fun under the circumstances than just trying to defend oneself. 
  • Promise to think over your opponent’s ideas and study them carefully. Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Think of them as people who really want to help you and you may turn your opponents into your friends!
  • When you really want the other person to agree with your ideas, dramatize them in a friendly way. This will create a great difference! And when nothing else works, try throwing down a challenge. All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory. You can make the other person get things done by stimulating competition.

Part 4: The Art Of Becoming A Leader

  • When you find your team member slacking off or making a mistake, never start criticizing them, it can have a negative effect. Instead, start with praise and an honest appreciation of the other works they did well, then suggest a way to help them correct the mistake. This is an effective way to get things done. 
  • Begin your criticism with sincere praise followed by the word ‘and.’ Many people begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word ‘but’ and end with a critical statement. It makes the person question the sincerity of the original praise. You can easily overcome this simply by replacing the word ‘but’ with ‘and’ so the other person would accept the praise and try to live up to your expectations. Further, instead of giving direct orders, explain the situation to them and ask questions that would eventually get them to work with enthusiasm. 
  • Another way to keep your criticism indirect is to talk about your own mistakes. If the other person hears the consequences of a mistake from a person who has already been through it, he or she is more likely to correct it and not repeat it in the future. You must always remember that hurting a man in his dignity is a crime. So let the other person save face.
  • Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Give the other person a finer reputation to live up to. When you find a mistake, use encouragement and make the fault seem easier to correct. The most important thing is to make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. 
  • An effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change behavior:
How To Be An Effective Leader
How To Be An Effective Leader

Although it is naive to believe that you will always get a favorable reaction from other people when you use these approaches, the experience of most people shows that you are more likely to change attitudes this way than by not using them. It is only by diligent practice that you could benefit from these principles. You may ask if this book can address questions like “how to get a girlfriend.” Trust me, these principles can work on anyone, provided that you know how to apply them on different people. Happy socializing!


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