How to Win Friends and Influence People is the grand-daddy of all people-skills books. First published in 1937, it was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. The book still carries a lot of weight. BNET includes on its list of 10 Underrated Business Books and it is one of the books on The Personal MBA Recommended Reading List.
Carnegie believed success, came from 15 percent knowledge and 85 percent ”the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” He teaches these skills through principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated.
The book gives tips and strategies for communicating with people. In contrast with some modern theories of psychology, which emphasize autonomy, self-expression and assertiveness, Carnegie believed that pleasing others is both a duty and a route to personal success.
Here is Dale Carnegie’s summary outline of the book:
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six ways to make people like you
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
Win people to your way of thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to the nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
A leader’s job often includes changing your people’s attitudes and behaviour. Some suggestions to accomplish this:
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Let the other person save face.
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.