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How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary

Here’s How to Win Friends and Influence People summary. Learn how to become a likable person and gain influence without becoming intrusive or sleazy.


How to Win Friends and Influence People author Dale Carnegie explains how to improve your people skills. It’s true that your social skills will somehow determine your level of success.

Aside from financial success, your people skills will determine how happy will you be in your friendly and work relationships. In this summary you will learn how to gain influence and win friends at the same time.

About the Author

Dale Carnegie was an American writer and lecturer. He focused on personal skills, self-improvement, public speaking, and corporate training.

His most famous work, How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1936. That book is a classic. Many successful entrepreneurs point to this as one of the most influential books they have.

He also wrote other books. A few of these are How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Little Known Facts about Well Known People, and Five Minute Biographies.

Main takeaways: How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Remember people’s names.
  2. People like talking about themselves.
  3. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.

Remember people’s names

If you want to build a connection with a person, you should remember her name at least. A person’s name is the sweetest word to her ears. If you can’t remember her name, forget about making a connection with her.

Once you’ve got people’s names, make sure you spell and pronounce them correctly. There might be a one time that someone misspelled or mispronounced your name. How did it feel? Instantly you felt repulsive and negative to that person.

Mentioning the name of the other person makes the conversation warm and personal. That’s why one of the best email marketing practices is to add the name of the subscriber.

You see in email optin forms that you should fill your First Name and email address. The purpose of the first is so that they could address you by name. That builds a warm connection and positive feeling.

It also applies to personal conversations even at work. When you call a person by name, you get her attention. It’s rude to say “You there” or “Hey woman in red.” Say the person’s name and she will likely listen.

People like talking about themselves

Some people had it backwards. They first talk about themselves. It’s our instinct. We want to feel important that’s why we talk about ourselves every chance we get.

You can use that to your advantage. People like talking about themselves. Encourage other people to talk about their work and interests. Then listen carefully.

Good listeners are also good conversationalists. Why? Because they encourage other people to talk. People like being around them. They feel a warm and personal connection whenever they talk to a good listener.

Be genuinely interested in other people. Each of us can learn something from someone. Each person has a story to tell. If you want to learn more about people, listen to them. That’s the best way.

Once you’ve warmed up, the other person will then ask about you. It’s reciprocity at work. You become likable. You become interesting. “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care” is always true.

Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain

Focus on giving praise and appreciation. People feel good about those. If you want people to feel good about you, praise them and appreciate their efforts.

I mentioned a while ago that we want to feel important. One way to make a person feel important is to appreciate her efforts. Notice how hard she worked. Also mention how beautiful the presentation is. Say “Good job” when she accomplished a task.

Avoid criticizing. It just spreads negative energy. Avoid condemning. Most likely it’s not the person’s fault. Avoid complaining. Work instead.

Praise and appreciation spreads positive energy. People around you will become more motivated and happy. They will have extra energy to perform additional tasks.

Sometimes it’s inevitable to point out the mistakes of the other person. What you should do is this. Start with a compliment or praise. Start positively. Then point out the mistake. Finally, you end with a positive note (e.g. encouragement or praise).

Think of it like a sandwich. You put the ‘negative’ at the middle. This way the person still feels positive overall.

Aside from remembering people’s names, encouraging people to talk, and focusing on appreciation, you will also learn the following from Dale Carnegie’s book:

  • Why you should get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately
  • Dig deep enough and you’ll find an interesting detail or idea
  • Talking in terms of the other person’s interests
  • Why you should avoid arguments
  • How to admit that you’re wrong

My personal takeaways

You’ll feel good while reading the book. It’s full of examples and practical tips that will help you improve your social skills.

Some people don’t fully agree with all the contents of this book. That’s because they knew some people are manipulative and cruel. Here’s the thing though. You’ll gain much more if you make people around you feel happy and positive.

Remember that we derive most of the happiness from our relationships. Success is not all about finances. Success is also about people. Win in all areas and you’ll get much happiness and success.

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