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4.7 out of 5 stars
How to Win Friends and Influence People
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2002
When I was 12 years old my best friend gave me a copy of this book and told me that I might find it interesting. He could not have been more right, for I delved deep into the book and I finished it in a matter of 2 weeks (to me it was a record to finish a book so quickly at that age!) I found the book to be very informative and entertaining at the same time. The author, Mr. Dale Carnegie, will not introduce a principle or a notion without supporting it with at least one real life story where the principle introduced was proven effective. After that point I noticed a great, almost immediate, effect on my behavior as I was growing up. I noticed that I have become a very good negotiator with my parents and teachers, more popular at school, and I even began to understand people much better than I used to prior to reading the book. I grew up believing that this book was one of the greatest factors involved in shaping my character.
Recently though, I noticed some growing criticism of the book and its teaching, and I thought that this would be a good time for me to refresh what I learned from the book and assess its quality based on the experience I've gained since the first time I read the book. So I bought the unabridged audiotapes of the book and listened to it whenever I was in the car.
Mr. Carnegie said somewhere in the book that if one thing you learn from the book, which is the ability to understand the different views of other people in different situations, then that would be enough. And I agree wholeheartedly.
My judgment is that this book will indeed teach you how to understand the motives and the different forces playing in the different people you meet. Humans all across the globe share basic needs and characteristics that play a major role in forming their attitudes and decisions. Understanding those factors and satisfying them will be the most effective method of influence you'll ever need.
Mr. Carnegie begins the book with the foundations of developing this skill of understanding others. He extends three principles that if applied will help you identify what other people want and how you can satisfy them. After that he introduces six ways to make people like you. These methods hover around the same three principles mentioned in the beginning of the book. After that the author discusses in two parts methods and principles that help you influence people to your way of thinking.
All of this seems interesting but why are people criticizing this book, you wonder. The first issue with this book is the title. It says "How to win friends and influence people." I would have called it "How to make people like you and influence their behavior." The methods Dale introduces aren't for winning friends. You don't win friends by avoiding arguments and by projecting enthusiasm that is not honest. You'll only have them like you, but they are not won as friends, yet at least. Honesty is absent in Carnegie's teachings, and sometimes even unadvised! In one story he tells of a manager of a singer who would lie to the singer just to get him on stage!
Another observation I had on the book was the relevance of some of the stories to the principle being introduced. Some of those principles would not have worked in the stories he mentioned have the circumstances been even little different! Yet Dale would acclaim the introduced principle as the reason that the story reached the happy ending it did. But, to the benefit of the author, this happened only a few times overall and it doesn't degrade the whole quality of the book.
Nevertheless, the lack of emphasis on honesty is a serious issue. This has caused many reviewers to warn readers from reading this book. But here is where I disagree.
You'll need to read this book to learn the methods, not just to be able to understand other people, but also to be ready when others are applying them to influence you. I'll have to agree that some of these methods are extremely powerful especially if the receiver isn't ready for them. Reading this book will make you resilient to the weapons of many unwanted salesmen and negotiators.
My advice is to read but with caution. Learn the methods but always remember that honesty should always be present when these methods are being applied.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2003
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE is founded on the theory that everyone longs to feel important. Others are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves. Mr. Carnegie then expounds on this theory, describing how we should remember others' names, talk in terms of others' interests, let the other person think the idea was his, and always allow the other person to save face. The reason this all seemed phoney to me at first is because I had spent most of my childhood and teen years in a business that often contradicts each of these principles: show business. The performer's job is to make others interested in the performer. But making others interested in oneself is very stressful. It requires constant revision and search for what's new on the horizon. Fashions change; the latest music genre often becomes a laughing stock to the next generation. Styles become passé. Audiences' tastes shift from season to season. But Carnegie has identified one thing that has never changed throughout all of human history: the individual's desire to be important, the fact that the individual is more interested in himself than anyone else.
After years of struggling with this book, I finally realize that, in fact, Carnegie is advocating that I be myself. I am genuinely interested in other people. However, this doesn't mean that Carnegie's techniques are always used in humanitarian ways. Many phone solicitors, debt collectors, and salesmen, use these techniques as means of making the sale. This is not how one "makes friends." That is called manipulation. I recall a story of Mother Teresa being granted a large donation of money with instructions on how to spend it. She reportedly returned the donation, saying that the giver should give freely with no attachment to the outcome. I think that that is truly the only way one can be sure that one is coming from a positive place: if you have no investment, no attachment, in the outcome. To that end, I focus more on Carnegie's techniques for getting along with others than on his techniques for trying to get things from people.(...)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2002
Take two handfuls of dazzling writing, then mix it with pure brilliance and you have one of the greatest books of all phases. This book stood and will continue to stand the test of time. This is chiefly because of the universal thoughts expressed by Carnegie. All readers will be able to relate to it, no matter how their popularity rates. No wonder it went on to sell over fifteen million copies in a space of sixty odd years. There have been countless editions of this book and particularly, the Harper Collins Business Classic edition, is the most prominent.
The primary reason why I admire Carnegie's writing is because he always, always backs up his ideas with examples and past accomplishments based on the same specific thoughts. This makes it easier for the reader to understand the principles which are conveyed. True, the book could have been shortened to half its size, but what good would that have done?
Carnegie has laced his incredible thoughts with quotes from well-known individuals and this assists to make the book far more interesting than others in its self-help category. I can't begin to tell you how many connections Carnegie had in his existence.
It's interesting to note that the author wasn't a pure success in his early days. He explains that his family were at the bottom of the economical scale and it took him years to discover what he so eloquently writes about. In fact, it took him around fifteen years to write, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." In that time he interviewed hundreds of successful people and accumulated knowledge of their sensational victories. A reader tends to gain more from self-help books knowing that the author wasn't always a genuine success and that he essentially had to work his way up the ladder of achievement. It conveys the message that accomplishments can be carried out by almost anyone and at anytime of their lives.
Some people attempt to read the book thinking that it will be an easy journey, so it's imperative to note that a person cannot change without persistence and diligence. Carnegie mentions early on that to get the most out of his words, you will need to have a "deep desire" to learn. Everything we do in our existence goes hand in hand with how much passion we have. This book will not change your life, unless, you willingly make it change your life. The principles he outlines are difficult to carry out in reality. But with practice and continued determination, it will almost inevitably help you on your odyssey.
Common sense? Well, maybe. But most people don't realise the true meaning of courtesy and lack essential people skills.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2013
I only bought this because I read it as a youth and found it interesting. After re-reading it, I still think it is very good. I almost never read self-help books, but this has a lot of ideas that, while seeming obvious, are easy to overlook, and easy to lose sight of. It isn't so much an instruction book on how to be a "player" as it is a commonsense guide on how to be a more likable person (and a less obnoxious person).
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on January 14, 2015
How to Win Friends and Influence people is often considered *the* classic on how to improve one's social skills and standing. Structured around a few key objectives, such as winning people to your way of thinking and how to do it without offending or creating resentment, Carnegie's best-seller breaks each goal into easy-to-digest bullet points, then backs each up with numerous anecdotes.

For the most part, Carnegie's 1936 message can be summarized in modern terms as "don't be a jerk", but the book does contain some relatively non-trivial insights when it comes to concrete implementations of that idea. For example, a chief concern of any individual, Carnegie says, is the desire to feel important; if you can sincerely phrase a difficult request in a way that hints at the value of the other party, they will be more likely to carry it out. Similarly, people love to hear their own name—by simply using someone's name frequently in conversation, you can establish a better rapport. Many people will also respond better to a challenge than to straight orders, so it can be useful to tap into someone's natural competitiveness.

With that said, I found many of Carnegie's suggestions to be quite deferential—he recommends, for instance, letting your boss take credit for your ideas, and to never flat-out state that someone is wrong. I'm now interested to see if this humble tone is taken up in the more aggressively-titled 48 Laws of Power.

Though I haven't had time to implement many of Carnegie's recommendations (and a few of them are a bit sales-specific), the small changes I've been able to make in social settings feel slightly more polished and friendly. Time will tell how much of an impact the book will have on me, but for now, four stars.
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on April 22, 2002
Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is a handbook providing the reader with basic guidelines on how to improve one's communication with others in order to build healthy, long-lasting relationships.
The book, comprised of four sections, with each section devoted to a certain aspect of communication, provides the reader with a multitude of ways to improve both personal and work relationships. Within each section, Carnegie promotes his "principles" - guidelines by which to live and succeed. These principles, though seemingly simplified and elementary on the surface - (smile, listen to others, show respect for opinions differing from one's own, etc...) - are truly sensible and contain quite a bit of wisdom. These are the principles which we are taught as children and which we subsequently forget as adults. Although he seems to prefer good manners and etiquette over proficiency, Carnegie clearly states that his target audience is comprised of competent individuals who are lacking the personal or communication skills to succeed in the workplace. Thus, Carnegie asks us to (re)develop these skills which are often lacking by the time we reach adulthood in order to improve our communication and human relationships. Additionally, Carnegie punctuates and illlustrates his ideas with narratives and anecdotes - although somewhat dated - to provide a sense of how the principles may be applicable for a number of diverse situations. The handbook is relatively accurate, and though many of the ideas are not new, they are certainly helpful in providing one with a sense of the necessity for improving one's communication. The book enables the individual to acknowledge his or her faults and setbacks, and ultimately empowers them to strive to succeed in becmoing a better person.
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on April 20, 2002
It's been nearly 20 years since I read this book, but think it deserves more credit than it may get. While some may dismiss the book as being manipulative, the book stresses, developing a sincere interest in others. That's a "sincere" interest in others, not a phoney, "I-want-something-from-you-so-I'm-pretending-to-be-interested" interest in others. Other basic maxims of the book, such as smiling, being "lavish in your praise and hearty in your approbation" are as timeless today as they were in 1936. Much of this book has become cliched, but that may be because there is something to these very basic principals. Again, the book stresses sincerity. A phoney will be a fraud no matter how many creases he puts in the spine of this book. Several years ago, I met some top economists from the Russian Republic visited my city, and mentioned what they learned from "Carnegie." Everyone assumed they meant Andrew, until they had to point out, they meant Dale. If Dale Carnegie is the source Russia turned to as it made its transition from communism to capitalism, doesn't it sound like something you ought to read?
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on September 20, 2000
This book proffers "Golden Rule"-type advice that, in the long run, ought to work. The basic theme of the book is that to make friends and influence people, one should not antagonize nor control people. This is undoubtedly a universal truth. A real friend would not do these things. It's easy to see why this advice would come as a revelation to many nowadays. The problem is that our society and its definition of "friend" has changed since this book was written in the late 1930s. Nowadays, being "nice" won't make you too many friends of the type that society currently values, that is, short-term friends. To make friends, being arrogant and controlling is probably more effective in the current social climate but, again, this doesn't work in the long term. Don't be surprised if following the advice in this book won't bring you lots of friends. On the other hand, maybe if everyone read the book, it would! I guess the only real criticism I have is that the advice tends to be a bit redundant, variations on a theme, if you will.
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on February 24, 2004
This book is based on solid timeless principles and tells us what is required so as to get along with others well.
We need to meet people everyday once we left our home. However, it is a difficult philosophy to handle the relationship well and to build a good relationship with others. So, in this book, Dale Carnegie teaches us many applicable principles to handle people in suitable and nice ways.
I like the second part of this book very much. It tells us how to make people like us. The principles to make a good impression are to give a simple smile, to recall others¡¦ name and to be a good listener. I think these principles are simple, but extremely good.
Since meeting people is unavoidable matter throughout our life, it is a must for us to learn how to win friends and influence people in order to make our life more beautiful via having good relationship with others. So, I highly recommend you to read this book as soon as possible.
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on May 23, 2003
This book really stresses mainly on the psychology of people and how we interact and respond to each other. This will give you the knowledge how to improve in business relationships, improve yourself as a whole person or to manage people in general.
Some of the theory described is how we should remember others' names, talk in terms of their interests, let the other person think the idea is his, and most importantly always allow the other person to save face. Promoting understanding other peoples behavior and this may have very positive effect of reducing day-to-day conflict.

Some of the book may come off as Phony, but I think it is how you read it. You are not being phony if you apply this in your life if you truly do care about other people. I have heard a lot about this book and read all the reviews. This is certainly a book that you cannot take what other people have to say, you need to read it and then judge for yourself.
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