30 Pillars of “How To Win Friends and Influence People”
By Joe Jarvis - May 23, 2017

Turns out, actually being a genuinely good person is the easiest way to have influence over others, and get them to like you–weird, I know.

In 1936 Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People after intense study of effective leadership, the psychology behind why people like each other, and how to approach tough situations without giving offense.

Far from being sneaky ways to get what you want, or sleazy selling tactics, the ways Carnegie describes how to properly interact with others would make the world a better place if universally adopted. You could recognize one of these tactics being used on you, and still feel no ill will towards the person employing it.

This is an overview of the key takeaways from How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleRead the whole book to get the most benefit from Carnegie’s lessons, and bookmark this page for a quick reference.

Think of How to Win Friends and Influence People, as oil for the gears of society.

1. “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.”

It just makes people defensive and breeds resentment. Criticizing and condemning makes it harder for someone to admit they are wrong because they feel the desire to justify their actions or thoughts. Even if they change their mind, it will not be a lasting change.

2. “Give honest and sincere appreciation.”

Everyone wants to feel needed and important. Those who fulfill this craving for others will be held in high esteem. But it is easy to tell shallow flattery from actual recognition of good qualities and hard work. Look for qualities worthy of commendation.

3. “Arouse in the other person an eager want.”

Dale Carnegie didn’t like to eat worms, but strangely enough, he fished with worms and did pretty well. How well would he have done if he fished with what he loved: strawberries and cream? Talk about the other person’s desires, and show them how to get there.

4. “Become genuinely interested in other people.”

You don’t need to be nearly as interesting as you need to be interested. People can tell if you are faking it, so you really need to find pleasure in learning about others. Make it a sort of game to dig deep enough to find something exotic about even the banalest acquaintances.

5. “Smile.”

You have control over your thoughts, so choose to be happy. Being positive goes a long way and is infectious. Having an authentic smile on your face is an easy way to increase the chances that someone is going to like you.

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

Remember names! And say their name often. It shows others they are important enough to you to be remembered. Better yet, name something after them! Maybe not your dog…

7. “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.”

It is easy to think we need to say the right things to get someone to like us, but it is more about allowing them to have their say. We all have interests that we are passionate about and want to talk about. When we find a sincerely interested audience, it makes us feel appreciated and important.

8. “Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.”

If you are interested in others, they will be interested in you. Just find something about a person that you know interests them, and set out to learn about it. Ask them to explain the interest, and they will enjoy your company while telling you.

9. “Make the other person feel important–and do it sincerely.”

Everybody wants to be appreciated. Don’t you remember countless times when you achieved something or put a lot of energy into a project only to be met with silence? It’s like no one even noticed! Dinner was great, the yard looks nice, great job on that assignment! If there is something important to someone, recognize their work and it will make them feel important.

10. “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.”

Even when you “win” an argument, the other person generally reverts back to their old opinion as soon as you part ways. From the get-go, an argument actually makes us dig in because we feel like we have something on the line and can’t admit we were wrong. When you disagree with someone, take the opportunity to sincerely reflect on why, and welcome hearing about the new perspective. You never know, maybe cats are better than dogs after all.

11. “Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, you’re wrong.”

If you are right more than 50% of the time, then why don’t you work on Wall Street? Ask questions if you truly think you are right, and the person will usually come over through their own thought processes. Allow yourself to understand the other person, even (or especially) if they are wrong.

12. “If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.”

It is liberating to admit when you are wrong. It removes such a burden of having to always figure out how to stay right. We are going to be wrong sometimes, just a fact. Being wrong doesn’t have to be embarrassing, and admitting it quickly is the easiest way to save face, and in fact get more respect and agreement from those involved.

13. “Begin in a friendly way.”

Why make life hard for yourself? “The sun can make you take off your coat more quickly than the wind; and kindliness, the friendly approach, and appreciation can make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster and storming in the world.”

14. “Get the other person saying, ‘yes, yes’ immediately.”

Always start with, and continue to emphasize, what you agree on. Start small with something you know they will say yes to, and lead them gently down a path of agreement until they embrace “a conclusion they would have bitterly denied a few minutes previously.”

15. “Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.”

The best illustration of this principle is in dealing with children. Instead of constantly yelling, ordering, and demanding of a disobedient child, what works better is to hear them out. Sometimes all people need to be agreeable is to be heard, and if you sincerely listen to them, frustration and negativity usually evaporate.

16. “Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.”

Who cares about getting credit? If you want someone to agree with you, it is better to let them think any plans you had were their ideas. We are much more likely to support and be excited about our own concoctions.

17. “Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”

“Stop a minute,” says Kenneth M. Good in his book How to Turn People into Gold, “stop a minute to contrast your keen interest in your own affairs with your mild concern about anything else. Realize then, that everybody else in the world feels exactly the same way! … success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.”

18. “Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.”

The magic phrase is: I would feel the same if I were in your position. Be sympathetic! Just telling someone you understand their frustration does wonders to calm them, even if you cannot do another single thing to help.

19. “Appeal to the nobler motives.”

This is why people get their way when they can convince others what they want is “for the children.” J.P. Morgan said there are two reasons a person does something, “one that sounds good, and a real one.” Appeal to the one that sounds good, because we are all “idealists at heart.” Basically, emotion works better than logic.

20. “Dramatize your ideas.”

“Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic.” Think of interesting and fun ways to present your ideas that catch people off guard, and draw them in.

21. “Throw down a challenge.”

Or maybe you’re too scared to throw down a challenge. No? Why don’t you prove it then? It’s a great tactic to challenge someone to persevere, but it takes a special man or woman to do it right. Think you can handle it?

22. “Begin with praise and honest appreciation.”

“A barber lathers a man before he shaves him.” Sometimes it is necessary to be a critic or give someone a difficult answer. The cushion for this pain–the dentist’s Novocaine for an unpleasant but necessary drilling–should be honest praise and appreciation.

23. “Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.”

Change the word “but” to “and”. Begin with sincere praise, and don’t bring doubt to the initial sincerity by using the word but. Still, begin with honest appreciation, and relate the praise to what you are trying to change. Would I feel better about hearing, “I love your book, but it would make a better movie,” or “I love your book, and the action would play out especially well on screen.” It’s the same message.

24. “Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.”

I have a treasure trove of mistakes to pull from, so this one comes easy for me! Criticizing yourself puts you in the same boat as the person you need to critique, so they aren’t so defensive. The best advice available is from others who have made similar blunders.

25. “Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.”

If you are in a position of power and give a direct order, you can expect it will be done. You can also expect to stoke an “us versus them” mentality between the order givers and the order takers. If you make a question or suggestion of the order, however, this makes the receiver a participant, and might even stoke enough creativity to get the thing accomplished in a better way. Certainly, it will quell any resentment on the part of subordinates.

26. “Let the other person save face.”

If a bird gets in your house, is it more effective to corner it and trap it, or to leave a window open for it to fly out? The number one rule of diplomacy is to always give the other person an out without damaging their ego. If your kid loves to help you garden, but crushes the flowers, promote him to head leaf raker.

27. “Praise the slightest improvement, and praise every improvement.”

Praise to humans is like sunlight to plants, it is the warm sunshine we need to grow. Nowhere is this more obvious than with children. They want to please their parents, and if they can’t do that they will settle for whatever attention they can get. Clearly, the best idea is to praise the good behaviors so that their outlet for attention will be positive. It’s the same with dogs and adults, though you might have to be less obvious about it. “Who’s a good employee? Yes, you are! Want a belly rub?” Maybe not.

28. “Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.”

I know everyone reading this was naturally doing most of these things anyway, and this article will only strengthen the reserve to continue on the path of making friends and influencing people just by being empathetic, intelligent, and thoughtful in your interactions, which comes so easy to you anyway.

29. “Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.”

Telling someone they are terrible at something is a sure way to discourage them, make them internalize that feeling, and perhaps they even give up. Instead, tell someone they just need the practice to get better. Pick out the good from the bad to encourage perseverance, and better outcomes and any mistakes will naturally smooth out.

30. “Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.”

When you know someone isn’t going to like what you have to tell them, best to frame it in a way they will like or follow immediately with a great alternative. If you have to let them down, bring attention to a positive route forward. “Make sure you check out that beautiful full moon while taking out the garbage!”

These are the basics, but the real fun in reading How to Win Friends and Influence People is the historical examples that Carnegie gives. It’s a classic that is still just as interesting and relevant as when it came out. It provides countless solutions on how to properly get your point across without alienating others.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

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  • georgesilver

    If a person does these 30 points unconsciously then they are a very nice person or a saint. They are also very boring.
    If on the other hand a person reads these points and adopts them they are a manipulative psychopath.
    Carnegie was the latter.

    • Doc

      Why would you be a psycopath for trying to improve how you are towards other people? If you follow these steps you have changed yourself, not manipulated others. I’m not sure I follow you so please help me out.

      • Dimitri Ledkovsky

        Re: georgesilver – Dale Carnegie dreamt up this unrealistic formula during the decade when capitalism was being severely tested by other ideologies and economic theories. His book is a guide for fitting into a challenged society and becoming the perfect drone. It’s the “How To Fit In And Thrive” in a social order where theft by big business is government sponsored and protected. Armed with the ideas in this book countless millions sallied forth dressed in identical gray flannel suits to serve their corporate masters with the glow of all-knowingness beaming from their gullible faces.

        • Doc

          My question was why changing yourself makes you a manipulative psychopath.

          Can’t see what’s wrong with fitting in and thriving. Surely there are good ways and bad ways to do that as well.

          • JohnnyZ

            You guys are like the guy in the Matrix (Cypher) that wanted to go back in and found the (fake) steak well tasting, so he betrayed Neo. If you can’t see that these are the tools of superficially charming psychopaths, then your references are too corrupted by too long exposure to a satanic system. And the name Carnegie says it all. Getting rich is no problem, but noone really rich got this way the honest way.

          • Doc

            How do you define rich? A lot of stuff? Money? Land? Friends? How much of it is “really rich”?

            I agree that the vast fortunes we see wouldn’t be what they are without the current corrupt system, but where do you draw the line.

            I referred to fitting in and thriving, not getting such vast fortunes that we see everywhere today.

          • JohnnyZ

            Fitting in and thriving in a corrupt system using the techniques of the elite psychopaths on a smaller scale…makes you a smaller (potentially unwitting) psychopath and a drone.

          • Doc

            You have to think a bit more about this. You are basically saying that all the people in the world that fit in and thrive are psychopaths and drones.

            Have you ever considered that large parts of society is working well despite the corrupt system? These are still people that fit in and thrive.

          • JohnnyZ

            I would say that everybody in this system is affected to a degree by the top-down psychopathy, especially the ones who cope well (me included). So the solution is not to praise these techniques of the psychopaths, but to expose them and distance yourself from them. If you deliver a good service or product, then you do not really need these sleazy techniques and pretenses.

          • Doc

            So you can fit in and thrive and still not be a psychopath then. Agreed.

        • Doc

          My question was why changing yourself makes you a manipulative psychopath.

          Can’t see what’s wrong with fitting in and thriving. Surely there are good ways and bad ways to do that as well.

          • Sheila


      • georgesilver

        Try helping yourself by studying Carnegie rather than have others spell it out for you. Rockefeller and the Carnegie Foundation plus the AMA destroyed the health industry and substituted a petrochemical medical system that kills thousands today.

        • Doc

          That’s besides the point. Whatever Rockefeller and the Carnegie Foundation plus the AMA did in the US has no obvious connection to the book at hand and the review.

          I have read several of his books and can’t see why you would become a manipulative psychopath by changing your own attitude and behavior.

          Manipulative – exercising unscrupulous control or influence over a person or situation.

          Changing yourself doesn’t fit that description. Trying to change others would.

          Psychopath – a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.

          Not sure why that’s even mentioned.

          I can see that the organizations you mention have been doing bad stuff. The man himself only lived a handful of years after establishing the foundation so not sure how much bad it did back then. He might have been a manipulative psychopath, I don’t know. But these 30 points wouldn’t necessarily make you one. Either people already are, or become later.

          • Samarami

            The fallacy of the naysayers is ad hominem.

          • robt

            The whole point of the book is to change yourself to make yourself appealing to others in order to manipulate them and thus be successful, particularly in sales: get them to say yes, yes, get them to talk about themselves, etc etc.
            And read up about the psychopaths: manipulative, charming, forceful in getting their own way by convincing others to do what they wish. They are most often attractive, physically appealing, but they are not necessarily violent – because they use their superior verbal skills to convince others to do what they want; they are persuasive. They are, however, most often successful pathological liars – because they believe whatever they are saying at the moment, and have many clever ways of deviously answering questions. As an example, if you ask someone a direct question and they respond: ‘I believe so’, that potentially may be a symptom – because if someone catches them out later they can just say it’s what they believed so it technically isn’t a lie – even though of course, they didn’t really believe it at all. That’s also why it’s a favorite technique of politicians. What you then do is try to nail down a firm answer – if they dance around without some sort of firm answer – even (or especially) ‘I don’t know’, you should be on high alert.
            Special alert: most children are psychopaths but grow out of it.

          • Doc

            If you make yourself appealing to others, the only person you have manipulated is yourself. It’s true that being more appealing makes it easier to influence people in a bad way, but also in good ways. It’s up to the individual to decide what they do with it. How difficult is it to see that?

        • The Carnegie Foundation was started by Andrew Carnegie, this book was written by Dale Carnegie, no (or very distant) relation.

        • robt

          Rockefeller and Carnegie spent much of their lives giving billions to charities, public works, and education, with the goal of improving less privileged peoples’ lives.

    • Boysie

      Tht was my conclusion several decade ago when I read the book, before I knew what a phsyco as,,,but you are absolutelyc correct – thatis one of the classic methods used by America to buld it’s coeterie of lsychopantic states,, America bribed and corrupted the Head nd the Tail public) duly followed,,,Fortunately (Very Fortunately) someone at about the same time said – There are NO Free Lunches….

    • Sheila

      Carnegie was a psychopath?


  • Boysie

    This book which I read several decade ago – was nothing more than the Traditional American Fraud – (Read Th Book) – It was meant to codify athe Advantage Over Hapless Fools – (Just ask yourself this question – What happens when the person that you are trying so hard t impress – has also “Read The Book” – That was my conclusion after reading the book all those years ago – back then I did not imagine that Americ would devolve / degenerate to it’s current stae – so when you re-read the book – it all becomes very clear – Do what it takes to gain the advantage – then take their clothes – then charge them for being NAKED, that should get you 25 to life…

    • Did we read the same book? What happens if two people sincerely try to see things from the other perspective? What happens if two people who have the read the book admit when they are wrong, use encouragement, and are sympathetic to others’ desires? Doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

      • Doc

        I agree. And what other means do we have if we want to convince others while maintaining peace?

        • Samarami

          Full agreement to both comments

      • Boysie

        Speak for yourself – for myself -I try to avoid / listening to / Talking / a lot of / Reading / RUBBISH / and if I do happen to hear / read / such rubbish / Then I make my views known – it is for the writer or any other interested individual to put me straight …if possible..

      • Boysie

        The boo was a FRAUD – IT WAS ASSUMED THAT THE READER WOULD GAIN AND DISTINCT ADVANTAGE – which is absolutely NOT possible – unless ofcourse as another commentator pointed – the person who expects or is trying to gain the advantage is on his / her way to becoming a fully fledged phsycopath…

    • Sheila


      • Boysie

        I do a lot of stuff – but I simply cannot read minds – especially yours – what does /HUH / mean ?

    • robt

      A perfect example of a patronizing attitude is related early in the book. The author goes into a hotel and sees the desk clerk. He then agonizes how to say something nice to this poor fool who is just a desk clerk, a nobody, a zero in a nothing job, unlike the author whom we are to imply is superior in every way, or at least he considers himself so. After reflecting on this situation briefly, the author decides the only worthwhile attribute of the clerk is his luxuriant hair.
      He compliments the clerk on his hair, and the clerk smiles back, probably trying to understand why a man would compliment him on his lovely hair.
      The clerk probably decided not to speculate why, but just just smile back at the fool.
      I suppose this could be considered a successful interaction, at least by the standards of the book.

  • autonomous

    A more honest title for the book might have been, “How to Get Rich By Getting People to Buy Anything.” A good person would not need this advice. A bad, manipulate person would use these bits of ‘wisdom’ as tools of trade.

    • Samarami

      And what, my friend, is ignominious about “getting rich”??? (Presuming that was the gist of your comment — which I may have interpreted incorrectly, in which case I apologize). And is a seller of products and/or services “a bad, manipulative person”???
      I think Dale Carnegie, through “Winning Friends…”, admonished throughout the book that a seller of products and/or services had responsibility to always be an expert advisor and never recommend a purchase that was negative. Sam

      • autonomous

        I have nothing against getting rich. I have experienced much that is negative about sellers of products/services, having met and known many who were manipulative and otherwise sleazey, no better than carnival barkers, convinced they could sell ice-makers to Eskimos.

        • Samarami

          We agree. Kinda/sorta.
          Dale Carnegie’s principles have made me the wealthiest man in my city — without becoming “…manipulative, otherwise sleazey, no better than carnival barkers…”
          But Carnegie was no libertarian — the idea of “anarchy” would have turned him cold. He used many example-types the likes of Franklin Roosevelt et al: hardened criminals of the political class. But his love for the criminal (political) class does not take away from the principles of winning friends and influencing people he expresses.
          And at the outset of this political holiday week-end it is important to remember that is the example-type of “success” in the minds and spilling out of the pens of almost every media writer one might encounter. It is our job to — with endurance and patience — set them straight.
          The enormity of the truth is incredible.

  • Sven

    Let him who has ears to listen, hear.

  • robt

    Another observation: Read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, the fairly obvious source for many of Carnegie’s ideas. Great little book to be read many times.