Book Review: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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How to Win Friends and Influence People is a masterpiece for anyone who wants to improve their skills to have better relationships, make more friends, and influence people.

It’ll teach you how to effectively manage and deal with people. With the author’s techniques, you can learn how to get along with others and have more fruitful relationships. The book combines anecdotes with actionable tips that have benefited millions of people.

You’ll find everything you need to know about making a good first impression, disagreeing effectively, and becoming skillful, pleasant, and confident in your personal and professional relationships.

You do not have to read the entire book if you don’t have time. This book review provides an overview of everything you can learn from it.

Let’s get started without further ado.

In this How to Win Friends & Influence People book review, I’m going to cover the following topics:

The Principles

Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  • Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  • Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

Part 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You

  • Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people
  • Principle 2: Smile
  • Principle 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  • Principle 4: Be a good listener
  • Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  • Principle 6: Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely

Part 3: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  • Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  • Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  • Principle 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  • Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way
  • Principle 5: Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately
  • Principle 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  • Principle 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  • Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  • Principle 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
  • Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives
  • Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas
  • Principle 12: Throw down a challenge

Part 4: Be a Leader—How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Rousing Resentment

  • Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  • Principle 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  • Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  • Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  • Principle 5: Let the other person save face
  • Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  • Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  • Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
  • Principle 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

Key Insights

1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  • Never critique, condemn or claim

Nobody likes people who are always looking for faults and criticizing others. To win more friends, one must avoid criticizing others and belittling them. Criticism only hurts people’s feelings and leads to resentment. It is more efficient to praise good behavior than to criticize or punish wrong behavior.

It is necessary to put oneself in the shoes of others without ridiculing them or making value judgments. It is common to complain and criticize others, but it takes discipline to understand others and help them sincerely. When it is difficult to do so, it is important to understand why people exhibit certain behaviors.

  • Demonstrate genuine appreciation

It is very easy to get other people to do something and influence them. All someone has to do is convince the other person to do it. The best way to do this is to encourage appreciation and increase their motivation. When you praise and recognize others for their good behavior, you encourage them to continue behaving that way.

It is worth noting the difference between flattery and recognition – while the latter is honest and sincere, the former is false. To influence someone, it is important to ask how to convince them to want it.

  • Awakening the desire in others

Another important principle for getting others to do what you want is to offer them what they need. Selfish desires will not serve as a strong incentive – everyone pursues their own needs and goals. So to influence someone, you have to see life through their eyes and understand how to make something a necessity for your goals.

2. Six Ways to Make People Like You

People become friends with other people they like and admire. Dale Carnegie highlights six ways of being liked by others. These are:

  • Demonstrate interest in people

If someone wants to be loved and admired by others, he must show it, and he must show it by deeds. For example, when greeting people, one must be excited and enthusiastic, look them in the eye, and show interest. A person must greet all the people present, not just the most important ones.

  • Always smile

Facial expression has a great effect; it is even more important than the way someone dresses. A sincere smile has a great effect and can improve other people’s day, at no cost. Being happy makes someone happy. People who are always smiling are liked more by others!

  • Remember names, always

People enjoy it when they hear their names from others’ lips. In order to be liked by others, it is crucial to be able to memorize their names and, whenever possible, call them by their names, as this demonstrates interest and offers them attention.

  • Listen actively

Everyone likes an active listener, as this shows interest in their ideas and thoughts. Encouraging others to voice their points of view, and listening carefully to what they have to say demonstrates attention and care. The listener needs to be calm, without interruptions but asks questions when appropriate.

  • Speak about their interests

Another way to make someone likable is to show interest in their passions and the things that are important to them. If someone wants to attract the attention of others, they need to explore their interests. Basic knowledge of what interests other people not only provides a foundation on which to build an interesting conversation but also helps to expand knowledge and learn new things about others.

  • Make them feel important

Most people enjoy feeling superior to others. One way to attract their attention is to emphasize that their importance is sincerely appreciated. It is critical to praise them generously, be honest, and make them feel important by talking about their lives, themselves, and their activities. In addition, respectful phrases such as ‘Would you mind? ‘, ‘Excuse me’ and ‘Thank you’ can go a long way.

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3. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

In many everyday activities, you have to convince other people to act differently than you do. However, this can become a negative experience for both parties. The art of influencing is what helps people become better influencers and convince others to do what they want to accomplish. The principles of influencing people who have similar opinions are:

  • The only way to win an argument is to avoid it

In nine out of ten cases, both parties feel they are in the right at the end of the discussion, even more so than at the beginning. For this reason, arguments should always be avoided. Even if one person wins the argument, the other ‘loser’ party will end up feeling inferior and resentful of the other’s victory.

Persuading people against their will is not persuasion and cannot be called the art of influence. It is important to avoid arguments at all costs, to have conversations that focus on areas of agreement, and to listen to the other person. In such situations, it is wiser to be willing to admit your mistake rather than continue the argument.

  • Never say, ‘You are wrong.’

When someone needs to prove something, they need to do so discreetly, without pointing out the error, especially when the opinion was not requested. People need to fix their mistakes without realizing it, and they do not enjoy being told ‘you are wrong’, especially in public. Phrases such as ‘I may be wrong, but I think differently about…’ or “Let’s examine the facts, I may have been wrong…” are a wiser choice. People’s beliefs are part of who they are, so they do not enjoy open criticism that they are wrong.

What is more, when people are wrong, they might be willing to admit it to themselves. When they do so, they might become willing to accept their mistakes with others, as well. Ridicule is not the way to convince others that they are wrong, and it is important to avoid imposing their own beliefs on other people. Lastly, opinions should be expressed carefully and lightly, using words such as “I think…” or “I imagine…” instead of making strong statements.

  • Admit your mistakes.

For people who want to influence others, admitting their own mistakes is a necessary part of the process. Avoiding defensive statements and quickly admitting mistakes honestly facilitates the process and is easier than allowing others to criticize or point them out. Most people make the mistake of trying to justify their mistakes – but a quick, transparent admission of mistakes is the better choice in this case.

  • Start by being friendly.

To persuade someone, it is important to start with understanding and reconciliation. Honest appreciation and friendly behavior make people more willing to agree with others. Coercion is weaker than friendship, and people are more inclined to cooperate.

  • Make the person say yes.

The right questions should have a positive answer. However, turning a no into a yes can be tedious work. Therefore, you must first emphasize the things you agree with, and then ask questions step by step to finally get a positive answer, always looking at the situation from the other person’s point of view.

  • Speak less.

People talk a lot with the desire to convince others that they are correct. Instead, active listeners who allow others to talk will reap all the benefits, without disagreements, and interruptions, and encourage them to speak as much as they wish to feel understood.

  • Let the other person feel ownership of the idea

People tend to stick to the ideas they have developed themselves, and they are not so enthusiastic about the opinions of others that they have to adopt. Therefore, it is important to make suggestions and allow the interlocutor to draw his own conclusion without feeling forced to do or buy anything. The main focus must be on the acceptance of the message and not on the recognition of those whose idea it is.

  • Place yourself in their shoes

People are convinced that their own ways are the right ones, even if they are totally wrong. Understanding and tolerance can help pave the way to revealing why they think that way, focusing on the arguments behind the idea.

  • Be careful with people

People need attention and solidarity. If someone has negative feelings toward someone, they need to be understood, apologized to, and sympathized with. You can quickly turn hostility into friendship with phrases like “I understand that you are worried” or “I would feel the same way if I were in your position.”

  • Appeal to noble cases

People’s behaviors are dictated by two reasons: one that sounds well and one that is real. In order to make a case, one needs to appeal to the nobility. Most people are honest, and they want to honor their promises – most people will do their deeds if they are considered fair, honest, and correct.

  • Just citing truths is not enough

People notice dramatized truths. Their attention is caught by vividly explained truths. People buy into ideas easier when their senses are engaged.

  • Challenge them

People enjoy being winners and conquerors. They enjoy the competition, and they strive to be their best version. They can be influenced by posing them a challenge – successful people enjoy challenges that allow them to prove their value and win.

4. Be a Leader

In order to influence other people, one must be a leader. The fundamental principles on how to become one are:

  • Criticism is better received after a praise

It is inevitable to criticize others, but this is best done when it follows praise. When reporting a fault, the leader must first praise the other party, emphasize the positive aspects, and then mention the fault. The compliment initially acts as a numbing agent, softening the harshness of the criticism and making it easier for people to process it.

  • Indirectly draw attention to errors

Very few people enjoy criticism, but change comes with it. When people should correct their behavior, it is essential to do it indirectly by replacing the word ‘but’ with ‘and.’ This is because the word ‘but’ is usually followed by failure, while ‘and’ is a positive term that regards a future challenge, e.g., “We are very happy with you for [reason] and if you continue like this, [the desired effort] you will also have similar results soon.”

  • Speak first of your errors

The next principle is about helping others to change without triggering a negative reaction. This can be done by first talking about one’s own mistakes, which suggests that the speaker is also prone to making mistakes. It is easier to internalize mistakes when the other party humbly mentions their similar mistakes from the past.

  • Ask questions, do not give orders

No one enjoys receiving commands, so a good leader should not be authoritative. Orders should be replaced with commands – such as “Do you think this can work?”. Orders can cause negative retaliation, while suggestions open the way towards fruitful cooperation, encouraging them to become proactive.

  • Let them keep their dignity

A leader should be considerate of the feelings of others. Criticism should never be groundless. When he criticizes, he must protect the self-esteem of others and never point out their lack of ability, but rather their lack of experience. Even if the other party is in the wrong, it is important to offer them a way to leave the situation gracefully and preserve their dignity and honor.

  • Sincerely and generously encourage success

One of the most important and powerful human skills is helping others succeed. People do this by highlighting the strengths and qualities of others and using praise to do so.

Although it may be difficult to find a positive quality to praise, a leader must try harder and find something to encourage. If you praise people for every little progress they make, they will make even more progress. Skills fade with criticism, but they grow with praise.

  • Give someone a reputation he/she will live up to

Everyone wants to have a good reputation and reinforce their positive features. A leader talks to the people as though they already possess that, encouraging and stimulating the skill all the time.

  • Make the faults seem easily correctable

When people are told that they have no talent for something or that they make one mistake after another, it dampens their motivation to get better. A leader must use the opposite technique by inspiring, motivating, and encouraging others to keep going. Someone can do this by telling others that they believe in their ability to hone their skills.

  • Make them happy for following your suggestions

People enjoy it when they have the authority to make their own decisions. When they do so and offer the leader’s recommendations, they should receive praise and incentives. Recognition nurtures development and growth, and offering authority and autonomy will achieve success.

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1. Build self-confidence and personal leadership competence

The first reason why I like this book is that it helps readers build self-confidence and personal leadership competence. Carnegie emphasizes the importance of having a positive attitude and belief in oneself. He provides practical advice on how to overcome fear and develop a can-do mindset. This is an essential quality for anyone who wants to succeed in life, whether in business, relationships, or personal goals.

2. Strengthen skills in relating to others and build inclusivity within their organization

The second reason why I like this book is that it teaches readers how to strengthen their skills in relating to others and build inclusivity within their organization. Carnegie provides valuable insights into human nature and how to communicate effectively with people. He emphasizes the importance of listening, empathizing, and showing appreciation. These are crucial skills for anyone who wants to build strong relationships, whether at work or in their personal life.

3. Develop leadership skills to inspire and motivate others

The third reason why I like this book is that it helps readers develop leadership skills to inspire and motivate others. Carnegie provides practical advice on how to become an effective leader, how to empower others, and how to create a positive work environment. He emphasizes the importance of being flexible, innovative, and proactive. These are essential qualities for anyone who wants to be a successful leader, whether in business or in their personal life.


1. The book was written in a different era

One potential drawback of How to Win Friends and Influence People is that it was written in a different era, and some of the advice may not be as applicable or relevant today. For example, the book emphasizes the importance of sending personal, handwritten letters, which may not be as effective in the age of email and social media.

2. The advice may not work for everyone

Another potential drawback is that the advice provided in the book may not work for everyone. Different people have different personalities, communication styles, and cultural backgrounds, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some readers may find that the advice provided in the book feels forced or insincere when applied to their own life.

3. It may not address deeper underlying issues

Finally, a potential drawback of How to Win Friends and Influence People is that it may not address deeper underlying issues that may be contributing to a lack of social skills or difficulty in building relationships. For example, if someone struggles with anxiety or low self-esteem, simply following the advice provided in the book may not be enough to overcome these deeper issues. In these cases, seeking professional help or therapy may be necessary to make lasting changes.


I find the importance the book accords to ego and self-esteem particularly intriguing. Dale Carnegie emphasizes two primordial concepts in his book: the emotional nature of humans and their deep connection with others.

  • Men and women, regardless of what they claim, are above all emotional beings who must treat themselves kindly.
  • Any argument, no matter how rational it may seem, will be rejected if it hurts their self-esteem.

Once you understand these two concepts, many of the principles in the book are simple to comprehend. It’s just a matter of putting them into action. Almost all Personal MBA books can benefit from Carnegie’s eight pieces of advice at the beginning of the book. In my opinion, they are an excellent starting point.

We must apply this advice moderately or else we risk becoming bland and hypocritical consensus machines. In addition, I believe that a good kick in the rear will produce better results than all the diplomacy in the world.

However, Carnegie’s approach does not rely on trickery to artificially increase his influence. 

Having understood the two above concepts, internalizing them, and transforming our perspective on human relationships, we must not lose sight of the fact that the other person will benefit from our arguments, confrontations, and other discussions.

Human relationships would be much smoother if everyone followed the guidelines in this book.

About The Author

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) was an American speaker, author, and motivation and communication, consultant. 

Nearly half a million people advanced their careers with Carnegie’s professional training courses, and his books have sold over 15 million copies.

How To Win Friends and Influence People Quotes

“The rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.”


“A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”


“Every successful person loves the game. The chance to prove his worth, to excel, to win.”


“Success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.”


“Remember a name and call it easily and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment.”

Buy The Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People

If you want to buy the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, you can get it from the following links:

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