How To Win Friends And Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People by DaleCarnegie

ISBN 0671027034 One of the most important and influential works on effective communication skills. Despite the title (it was originally written in the 1930s), it teaches honest and simple techniques for getting along with other people, not deception and scheming. A must for anyone who wants to advance in their career.

Why "despite"? The title, I think, indicates exactly what is in the book.

On the other hand, the term "win" was used a bit differently in the 1930s, so it may not be intended as arrogant at all. "Win" was probably meant to convey "gain", which makes the title more in tune with today's understanding and the good-natured purpose of the book.

The summary below is intended as a summary only. Remember, this book was written originally in the 1930s, and some of it may appear to be condescending on the surface, simply because times change. However, the book's genuineness shines through when you read it.

This is Dale Carnegie's summary of his book, from 1936

Part One

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. DontCriticizeCondemnOrComplain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Part Two

Six ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

Part Three

Win people to your way of thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately
    • build on what they already agree on rather than trying to change their mind.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking (while listening carefully).
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Part Four

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:

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

In at least two places it also claims that people are inherently illogical. Trying to appeal to logic tends not to work unless you do it gently on their own terms and make them feel that any conclusions are their own ideas.

Not being logical and playing indirect games in order to win people, may be a reason why truthful and honest people should not follow every word they read in a book, just because it is a book. It could, however, greatly improve marketing and industrial success for one. Just because a book says to do so and so things, does not mean that so and so things are ethically the best (especially, for the long term, and for the human population centuries later).

Consider, that if the man who discovered the moon was not flat - had been illogical and gentle - we may still go on illogically claiming the earth is flat.

Is it Propaganda?

Propaganda, is a very successful method of winning massive amounts of friends and influencing many people (even if for temporary bouts of time) due to the illogical nature of propaganda. If spread throughout nations to promote certain positive but horrid ideas, using convincing signs, pamphlets, and brochures, it is a written word assumed correct by a great population - even if that written word is completely illogical. In fact, propaganda is all about convincing the masses. So if one wants to win people and influence people heavily, one should also consider reading up on propaganda techniques (and also marketing, sales, and hype tactics). There are books out there that cover these topics. The bible, too - may provide some interesting stories about positivity, how to win friends and influence people.

There's some overlap between "getting along" and "propaganda". But remember that propaganda tends to only work in the shorter term. In the longer run if your actions and deeds don't match your pitch, you will be ignored. Soviet propaganda was merely background noise to those living under the system. Even if their leaders told the truth, nobody would believe it anymore. Further, HumansAreLousyAtSelfEvaluation. We are not a logical species when it comes to behavior in which we are a participant. This is why the most objective researchers tend to be outsiders. Thus, we must compensate by using approaches that may seem illogical. It's fighting illogic with illogic, in a sense. And the techniques can be misused, as is true with any tool. The ideas in the book are merely tools. What you do with them is up to you. You can use them for good or evil.

As far as the Bible as a guide to social harmony, I find it "bipolar": kindness and tolerance in one section and rule-centric authoritarian no-excuse condemnation and punishment in another. Thus, it ends up being a kind of Rorschach test where there's enough material and ambiguity to see and find whatever you want to.

Some people may look at the book title and/or the section titles and decide not to read this book based solely on their impressions of the titles. DontJudgeaBookByItsCover. The book was written in the 30s when these titles would have seemed totally normal. Today they may sometimes seem manipulative or condescending. Times change. The contents of the book are what's important, not the titles.

Some people see a book like this as a training manual on how to be manipulative. That's not really what it is. Most of it can be summed up as "Be friendly, pay attention to others, address their interests, and try to reach a mutually beneficial outcome." Note that there is nothing about how to lie convincingly, or how to trick someone into doing something they don't want to do.

Too many techies don't understand how important it is to get along with other people. It's always a good idea to treat others with kindness and respect. Carnegie's book is a training manual for those who don't have these natural tendencies. -- KrisJohnson

An important point to make is that some people are positioned such that it is not necessary to exercise the techniques explained in this book. They have all the friends they need (from zero to multitudes), they already have all the Influence the want (from zero to considerable). The book is a book of suggestions, not commands. One may accept that the techniques are desirable or not. They certainly form the framework of many successful endeavors, from the time of writing to the current scene. Success may be achieved without using the techniques, but I think success is enabled and enhanced by the application of techniques in part or in total.

The book suggests that one readily let others take credit for our own ideas. Us geeks tend to love credit more than money or friends. That is a hard pill to swallow. In many ways, the book is disturbing because it paints a picture of the world that most techies won't want to believe in. It is almost like having to finally face the conclusion that there is no God, or that your friends, family, and dog are all just a big computer simulation. Be prepared for a reality bath. You will want to deny it, but you will look back on your life and career and realize that Dale is right.

What the book lacks though is tips on motivating ourselves to follow the principles it outlines. It is almost like a book that describes the benefits of dieting, but offers no tips on motivating yourself to stay on a diet. Letting others take credit for our own good ideas is comparable to passing up a table of variety donuts at work. Carnegie teaches us that donuts are bad for us. But now that we know that, how do we motivate ourselves to pass them up? Part II is missing.

There is a certain primal satisfaction in telling stupid people how stupid they are; if not explicitly, then at least implicitly. Dale is telling us that we must suppress this urge for the sake of longer-term gains. This is back to square one: we all need more discipline; to act like diplomatic detached-but-engaged robots when in fact we are just emotional and tribal apes with big brains. We need discipline in our work habits and in our communication habits yes yes, but HOW to acheive that?

- There is a book called Willpower: Rediscovering Humanity's Greatest Strength, by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, that explains how to develop and practice your self control (yes, you have to practice it). This answers both the above questions. It is that "part II" you seek. As a side point, willpower is NOT sufficient to counter a tendency to be fat/overeat (it IS, however, immensely useful in all aspects of life).

Carnegie says people love to hear their own name. Now, this can be carried too far, like a salesman who uses you name three times in every sentence, but I seem to get along with people at work better since I have started using people's names when I greet them in the morning.

I think sometimes geeks have a different sense of ego than non-geeks, and Carnegie's advice assumes a kind of "generic" person.

For an opposing view on this book, read Coercion, by Douglas Rushkoff

ISBN 157322829X .

Googling for Rushkoff finds the following possibly related material.

Hopefully we consider quality of friends, versus quantity of friends.

A more fitting title to the book would be "Getting Along with People". The word "friends" is not very fitting for the book in my opinion.

Quote: "According to a new CareerBuilder? survey, 71 percent of human resources managers say they place more emphasis on emotional intelligence -- a person's ability to control his or her emotions, sense the emotions of others and build relationships -- than they do on IQ. Fifty-nine percent of employers even said they wouldn't hire someone who had a high IQ but low EI."

Re: "11. Dramatize your ideas."

Once I wasn't getting any help from the server room on a server that had a critical, life-threatening problem. So, I found a picture of a dead frog on it's back (Kermit puppet), Photoshopped the server name on it's belly, and sent that off with my 3rd plea.

Professional military and intelligence interrogators use similar techniques. It was an issue after the "waterboarding" flap. They've found that once you use extreme torture, you've lost any chance of voluntary cooperation.

This includes accidentally volunteering info. Normally, captives isolated in cells like to talk to just about anybody given a chance, but usually twist their stories to hide the truth. However, the patterns of twisting often reveal clues and can be compared to "stories" told by other detainees to help determine truth from fiction (or further areas of exploration). But after torture, detainees tend to avoid conversation altogether.

See Also: AlternativesToConflict, HowToSellGoldenHammers, HumansSuck

CategoryBook CategoryCommunication CategoryManagement CategoryLeadershipPatterns

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