First published in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People remains a classic. Dale Carnegie lays out the essential principles for interacting with others. Although much of his advice might be considered common sense, the lessons he teaches are powerful. The core message of this book is to treat people well, and understand that we are all sensitive creatures who simply long to be understood.
1) Understand human nature
“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”
Although we’d like to believe ourselves to be rational, the truth is that we are all inherently emotional creatures. People are proud, sensitive, and protective of their fragile egos.
2) Treat people well
“Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.”
Rather than tear people down, we should build them up. Our first impulse towards others is often to criticize or acknowledge faults. But no one likes to feel bad about themselves or their mistakes. Be supportive of those around you. Focus on the positive.
3) Become interested in others
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Most of us are so caught up in our own worlds that we rarely pause to focus on those around us. Turn your gaze outward. Ask people about their interests. Make them feel important. Listen intently and genuinely try seeing things from their perspective.
4) You can’t win an argument
If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent's good will.”
According to Dale Carnegie, you can never really win an argument— if you lose it then you lose, but if you win you still lose. The best way to handle arguments is to avoid them altogether.
5) Arouse an eager want
“Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
Don’t underestimate the ability to inspire. By appealing to a noble cause and challenging people to do better, we can motivate others to accomplish great things.