How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Written by Dale Carnegie and first published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies world-wide.[1]

Leon Shimkin of the publishing firm Simon & Schuster took one of the 14-week courses given by Carnegie in 1934. Shimkin persuaded Carnegie to let a stenographer take notes from the course to be revised for publication.

In 1981, a new revised edition containing updated language and anecdotes was released.[2] The revised edition reduced the number of sections from 6 to 4, eliminating sections on effective business letters and improving marital satisfaction.


 [hide*1 Major sections and points

Major sections and points[edit]Edit

Twelve Things This Book Will Do For You[edit]Edit

This section was included in the original 1936 edition as a single page list, which preceded the main content of the book, showing a prospective reader what to expect from it. The 1981 edition omits points 6 to 8 and 11.#Get you out of a mental rut, give you new thoughts, new visions, new ambitions.

  1. Enable you to make friends quickly and easily.
  2. Increase your popularity.
  3. Help you to win people to your way of thinking.
  4. Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done.
  5. Enable you to win new clients, new customers.
  6. Increase your earning power.
  7. Make you a better salesman, a better executive.
  8. Help you to handle complaints, avoid arguments, keep your human contacts smooth and pleasant.
  9. Make you a better speaker, a more entertaining conversationalist.
  10. Make the principles of psychology easy for you to apply in your daily contacts.
  11. Help you to arouse enthusiasm among your associates.

The book has six major sections. The core principles of each section are quoted below.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People[edit]Edit

  1. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You[edit]Edit

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking[edit]Edit

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're Wrong."
  3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment[edit]Edit

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

Letters That Produced Miraculous Results[edit]Edit

This section was included in the original 1936 edition but omitted from the revised 1981 edition.:In this chapter, notably the shortest in the book, Carnegie analyzes two letters and describes how to appeal to someone's vanity with the term "do me a favor" as opposed to directly asking for something which does not offer the same feeling of importance to the recipient of the request.

Seven Rules For Making Your Home Life Happier[edit]Edit

This section was included in the original 1936 edition but omitted from the revised 1981 edition.#Don't nag.

  1. Don't try to make your partner over.
  2. Don't criticize.
  3. Give honest appreciation.
  4. Pay little attentions.
  5. Be courteous.
  6. Read a good book on the sexual side of marriage.

References in popular culture[edit]Edit

  • Lorenz Hart wrote a song titled "How to Win Friends and Influence People" in 1938 for the Broadway Musical I Married an Angel.
  • Warren Buffett took the Dale Carnegie course "How to Win Friends and Influence People" when he was 20 years old and to this day has the diploma in his office.[3]
  • Charles Manson used what he learned from the book in prison to manipulate women to kill on his behalf.[4]
  • Lenny Bruce titled his 1965 autobiography How to Talk Dirty and Influence People.
  • Fagin references the book in his song "Reviewing the Situation" in the 1960 musical Oliver!.
  • David Letterman used the phrase "How to Shoot Friends and Influence People" as number ten in his Top 10 list of "Chapter Titles in Dick Cheney's Memoir", referring to the Dick Cheney hunting incident.[5]
  • Terrorvision's album, How to Make Friends and Influence People.
  • Bob Dylan humorously referenced the book's title in his song "Tombstone Blues" with the lyrics "With a fantastic collection of stamps/To win friends and influence his uncle".
  • Toby Young's memoir How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, later made into a film of the same name, is a titular parody of the book's title.
  • Season 7, episode 9 of the TV series Supernatural is titled "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters".
  • In an episode of the television series Wind at My Back (season 5 – "For God and Country"), the character of Callie Cramp (played by Lynne Griffin) becomes obsessed with reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. She tries to follow the book's advice to gain political influence as her husband campaigns for mayor, but in the end, she fails to achieve the desired results and throws the book into a rubbish bin, where it is picked up by a lonely window cleaner (possibly a reference to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying).
  • On the first page of the second chapter of his 1961 novel Service with a SmileP. G. Wodehouse wrote: "A peremptory manner and an autocratic disposition combined to prevent him winning friends and influencing people."
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