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Littler Books cover of How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary

How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary, Notes, and Quotes

Dale Carnegie

4.2 minutes to read
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How to Win Friends and Influence People: One Sentence Summary

A timeless classic that teaches practical techniques for building relationships, gaining influence, and achieving success in both personal and professional settings.

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Bullet Point Summary, Notes, and Quotes

  1. Psychologist B.F. Skinner found that animals rewarded for good behavior will learn more effectively than those punished for bad behavior. Humans work the same way.
  2. Don't criticize people. Humans are primarily driven by emotion and not by reason. When you criticize someone, they'll feel like they're under attack, and naturally they'll be defensive instead of trying to understand what you're saying. Criticizing someone might help you release frustration, but it'll make people like you less.
  3. Benjamin Franklin attributed his success to "speaking no ill of man." Abraham Lincoln stopped openly criticizing others when someone he offended challenged him to a duel. Abraham Lincoln also later famously said of Southerners during the Civil War, "Don't criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances."
  4. Frequently show appreciation of others. Everyone is receptive to genuine praise.
  5. Ralph Waldo Emerson said every person he met was superior to him in certain ways. You can always find something in someone to show appreciation of. The author once made a bored postal employee's day simply by praising his full head of hair.
  6. It's important to smile to make a good first impression.
  7. A stock broker asked the author for advice to improve his life. The author simply asked the stock broker to commit to smiling more. People were immediately affected by the stock broker's change, and they smiled back. The stock broker claimed this experiment brought more happiness in two months than the entire previous year. He also found improvements at work -- complaints became easier to deal with, and his revenue earnings increased.
  8. We tend to automatically like those who smile at us. Psychologists also found not only do we smile as a response of positive emotions, consciously smiling can actually induce positive emotions. If you'd like to feel happier, try smiling more.
  9. People love the sound of their own names. It's important to remember them and use their names frequently during conversations.
  10. Jim Farley was Postmaster General and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He attributed his success to remembering people's names. He could recall 50,000 people by their first names.
  11. Theodore Roosevelt was popular among his staff because he remembers all their names. This shows people you care about and appreciate them. The author also made it a habit to remember people's birthdays to achieve the same effect.
  12. Napoleon the Third remembered people's names by repeating it back to them multiple times to associate it with the person.
  13. Being a good listener is crucial in making connections.
  14. The author attended a dinner party in which he met a botanist. The author found him interesting and asked him questions and listened to him for hours. The botanist later commended the author's conversational skills, even though the author barely spoke. The key to being likable is being interested in others and truly listening by consciously making an effort to give the other person your full attention.
  15. People tend to enjoy talking about themselves. A study showed that "I" is the most commonly used word in phone conversations. However, talking about yourself too much, and not listening and interrupting will make you seem self-centered and disagreeable.
  16. Benjamin Disraeli said, β€œTalk to people about themselves, and they will listen for hours.”
  17. Ask questions about people's accomplishments and the things they love.
  18. When you want someone to do something for you, think about how you can make them want to do it?
  19. For example, the author once booked a hotel ballroom for lectures, but the hotel informed him the price would triple. The author thought about the hotel's perspective, and explained to the hotel the higher price would result in the hotel losing a significant amount of free advertising, since the author would have to move the popular lectures elsewhere due to the new price. The hotel responded by only raising the price by 50%.
  20. It is invaluable to be knowledgeable of what other people's interests are if you'd like to win their favor.
  21. Theodore Roosevelt routinely read about a person's interests before meeting them for the first time.
  22. Try to avoid arguments. Even if you win the argument, the other person will find you disagreeable for having hurt their pride.
  23. When there is a disagreement, don't reject the opposition and get defensive. Instead, see the disagreement as a positive -- a new perspective. Focus on the areas that you agree on. Admit mistakes. Consider if the other person could be correct.
  24. Patrick was a salesman for White Motor Trucks. He was having trouble selling because he tended to retort when a customer said anything negative about his trucks. After Patrick attended the author's lectures, Patrick agreed with the customers more. This strategy quelled any arguments before they began, and Patrick was able to quickly redirect the conversation to all the good things about his trucks. Patrick then became his company's star salesman.
  25. Do not unequivocally tell people they are wrong. Avoid using terms like "obviously" and "certainly". You're essentially saying you know better or are smarter. This is an attack on people's self-esteem. People will be defensive, retaliate, and you'll seem disagreeable.
  26. Use language like "I think" or "I imagine". For example, "I think it might be this, but I could be wrong. I've often been wrong before. Let's look at the facts and discuss." This will lower resistance to your views.
  27. The author overpaid for draperies for his home. When a visiting friend confronted the author that he was overcharged, the author felt insulted and defended his actions by claiming the draperies were of high quality. When another visiting friend complimented the draperies first, the author was disarmed, and easily admitted that he overpaid and regretted the purchase.
  28. Admit your mistakes and apologize immediately. When you do so, people tend to be lenient and generous, because granting forgiveness gives a sense of satisfaction and self-importance. Also, you'll feel much better and achieve better relationships than having others point out your mistakes and you defending them.
  29. Be friendly, and do not boast or show anger.
  30. John D. Rockefeller Jr. had to address miners who were striking for over two years for higher wages and better working conditions. The situation was tense and contentious, as some died during the strike. Rockefeller's strategy was friendliness. His speeches and his interactions with the miners all conveyed that he was a friend and shared many interests with them. This gained the trust of the miners. The miner's leader concluded Rockefeller is honestly trying to improve conditions and his efforts will probably result in betterments.
  31. Get others to say "yes" often to be convincing.
  32. Think of agreements you have with the other person, and ask questions that will elicit "yeses". This makes it harder for people to say no later, and it builds momentum to gain more "yeses".
  33. A hunting store clerk was able to sell a bow to a customer who was only looking to rent by applying the getting-yeses technique: "Have you rented a bow before?" "Yes." "You probably paid around $20 to $30?" "Yes." "We have bow-sets for sale for $34.95, so you can buy a set for only $4.95 more than the cost of a single rental, which is why we don't rent them anymore. Is that reasonable?" "Yes."
  34. Be generous with sincere praises.
  35. People are more inclined to hear what you have to say after receiving praise.
  36. William McKinley saw room for improvement for a speech written by his speech writer. McKinley first praised the speech and said the speech would be perfect for many scenarios, but this occasion required something different.

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Resources