Book Review: How to Win Friends & Influence People

This book is one of those books that I should have read earlier in life. In fact, it is a book I should have read every year for the past 56 years. This book has sold more than 30 million copies and is one of the most read books in history. The book is How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is a book you definitely need to read.

Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends & Influence People in 1936 because he could not find a suitable book on public speaking and getting along with people. The book is 260 pages long and divided into four major parts with 30 chapters. The major parts include:

  • Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
  • Six Ways to Make People Like You
  • How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
  • Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

As I was reading each chapter, I could visualize countless occasions where I could have approached a situation better. As Carnegie noted, “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face” (Carnegie & Carnegie, 1981, p. xvi). It is more difficult if you (I) insist on being right.

Throughout the book, Carnegie tapped into the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin, and others. He often asked, “What would Lincoln do?” He illustrated his points through storytelling. These are one to two paragraphs highlighting a key lesson. Primarily, they focused on successes and struggles others have had.

Each chapter clearly stated the principle of the chapter. At the end of each part, Carnegie listed all of the principles.

Perhaps the greatest takeaway I had with this book is that I need to attend to the needs of others rather than focus on my need to be right. By helping others to excel will also help my causes. I need to empathize more.

Here are specific chapters that resonated with me:

  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile.
  • Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
  • The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

In the beginning of the book, Carnegie suggested quickly reading through the book and then going back to make notes and an action plan. Well, I have read the book and marked it up, I now need to put what I have learned into action. I have a lot to put into action.

If you have to work with people, and who doesn’t, you really need to read How to Win Friends & Influence People. It will make life much easier, and you will have much more success.


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