Review: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

July 1, 2020

Who Is Dale Carnegie?

As a 20th century lecturer and writer, Dale Carnegie has taught millions of people lessons in self-improvement, salesmanship, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.

During the era of the Great Depression, Carnegie made his living by teaching young adults and working professionals several courses and one was on the art of “human relations”. Specifically, how to interact with people effectively, in ways that can help you grow your social capital, build deep and lasting relationships, and become a respected leader.

Written in 1936, How to Win Friends & Influence People essentially serves as the syllabus for that course. The principles laid out by Carnegie have withstood the test of time, proving essential to the careers of many successful figures throughout history. In our review of How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, we will shed light on his students and famous figures of the Industrial era, to illustrate how these principles can be applied to your daily life.

These lessons have helped many people, including Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, and Charles Schwab, improve their interpersonal skills and achieve their maximum potential.

Review Of What You Will Learn In How To Win Friends & Influence People?

Dale Carnegie divided this book into four parts.

1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

This section outlines some of the fundamental “do’s and don’ts” when dealing with people. For example, it offers alternatives to criticizing or condemning others and emphasizes the importance of sincere appreciation. The section also highlights what neurologist Sigmund Freud and philosopher John Dewey described, as one of the strongest forces or “urges” that motivate human behavior:

“…the desire to be important”

Carnegie, pg. 17

2. Six Ways to Make People Like You

This section contains simple things you can do to improve your interpersonal skills in your day-to-day interactions. These include an easy way to make a great first impression, to improve as a conversationalist, how to interest others, etc. This section is incredibly practical and invaluable, and even describes how we can learn from one of our most loyal companions, dogs!

3. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Section 3 describes the dangers of arguing and offers alternative ways of persuading others effectively. Specifically, how pointless and counterproductive it is to argue with someone because:

“…A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Carnegie, pg. 111

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

The final section describes how to best have those tough conversations that those in managerial/leadership roles have with their employees. This includes effective ways to criticize, give a command, provide feedback, motivate others, etc. This section is especially important for those that have direct reports or who work in a collaborative environment.

Final Verdict: 9.3/10

We all know someone either in our social group or in our workplace that we describe as “charismatic” or “extroverted”. Chances are, it’s because they either smile often, are happy and enthused to see others, they listen, they speak positively of others, etc. These are some of the very principles described in this ageless classic. Carnegie proves that we CAN be more like that person. All it takes is a few simple changes in how we interact with others. 

How to Win Friends & Influence People includes proven strategies for improving your interpersonal skills. Principles that helped Andrew Carnegie and Abraham Lincoln lead the steel industry, and the nation, respectively. However, I must mention that these principles cannot be faked. They must be applied genuinely, sincerely, and consistently. As Dale himself wrote:

“The principles taught in this book will work only when they come from the heart. I am not advocating a bag of tricks. I am talking about a new way of life.”

Carnegie, pg. 219

As we re-engage with our friends and colleagues post-quarantine, it would behoove us to read this book and apply the principles Dale describes. I will be reviewing this book monthly, and I recommend everyone else to do the same!

If you’ve read this book, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below!

Use this link to get yourself a copy of Dale Carnegie’s famous book and if you enjoyed this review, check out my others!

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