How to Win Friends & Influence People Book Summary - How to Win Friends & Influence People Book explained in key points
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How to Win Friends & Influence People summary

Dale Carnegie

Basic rules for how to make a good first impression

4.7 (1103 ratings)
21 mins
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    How to Win Friends & Influence People
    Summary of 12 key ideas

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    If you want others to like you, don’t criticize them.

    Famous airplane test pilot Bob Hoover was flying back from an air show in San Diego when all of sudden both of his engines cut out. Through some impressive flying he was able to land the plane, saving those on board. Unfortunately, the aircraft was badly damaged.

    The reason for the harrowing engine failure was that the World War Two propeller plane had been accidentally filled with jet fuel.

    Back at the airport, Hoover saw the mechanic who had made the mistake. The young man was in tears, knowing how furious Hoover must be over the loss of his expensive airplane and the danger posed to the three people on board.

    So did Hoover yell at him? Scold him? Criticize him?

    Not at all. In fact, Hoover said that to demonstrate his faith in the mechanic having learned his lesson, he’d like the same mechanic to service his plane the next day.

    The reason for Hoover’s benevolence was perhaps that he knew something that psychologist B.F. Skinner had discovered a long time ago: animals rewarded for good behavior will learn more effectively than those punished for bad behavior.

    The same is true of people: criticizing them won’t encourage them to change their behavior because they’re not primarily driven by reason but by emotion. Thus the person you criticize won’t truly listen to what you’re saying. They’ll just feel like they’re under attack, and their natural reaction will be to dig in and fight back.

    So while voicing criticism might help you blow off steam, in the long-term, it will just make others like you less.

    Many successful people actually made it a habit to never openly criticize others. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, claimed that the secret of his success was to “speak ill of no man.”

    Abraham Lincoln learned this lesson as well. He used to publicly criticize his opponents until one day his criticism so offended someone that he was challenged to a saber duel! The duel was only called off at the last instant, and from then on, he stopped openly criticizing others. Even during the Civil War he famously told those who spoke harshly of the Southerners, “Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”

    Criticizing someone is easy, but it takes character to be understanding and to forgive others for their mistakes and shortcomings.

    So if you want others to like you, think about why they did what they did, accept their shortcomings and make it a rule to never criticize them openly.

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    What is How to Win Friends & Influence People about?

    How to Win Friends & Influence People (1936) provides a masterclass in managing and dealing with people. From making a good first impression to disagreeing effectively, it contains all you need to know about becoming skillful, pleasant, and assured in your personal and business dealings.

    How to Win Friends & Influence People Review

    How to Win Friends & Influence People (1936) by Dale Carnegie is a timeless guide on building meaningful relationships and enhancing communication skills. Here's why this book is a must-read:

    • Employs practical techniques that can be applied in various aspects of life, fostering positive interactions and personal growth.
    • Spotlights the importance of empathy and understanding others, laying the groundwork for successful social interactions and collaborations.
    • Offers real-life examples and anecdotes that bring the principles to life, ensuring the content remains engaging and relevant for readers.

    Best quote from How to Win Friends & Influence People

    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. – Dale Carnegie

    —Dale Carnegie
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    Who should read How to Win Friends & Influence People?

    • Salespeople, managers, parents, teachers – anyone dealing with people
    • Business leaders trying to boost their charisma
    • Self-help enthusiasts interested in a genre-defining classic

    About the Author

    Dale Carnegie (1888–1955) was an American speaker, author, and communication and motivation consultant. In his own lifetime, Dale Carnegie’s professional training courses helped to advance the careers of almost half a million people, and his books have sold over 15 million copies.

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    How to Win Friends & Influence People FAQs 

    What is the main message of How to Win Friends & Influence People?

    The main message is to build strong relationships and influence others positively through communication and empathy.

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    It typically takes a few hours to read the book, while the Blinkist summary can be read in a fraction of the time.

    Is How to Win Friends & Influence People a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The book is worth reading for its timeless advice on improving interpersonal skills and achieving success.

    Who is the author of How to Win Friends & Influence People?

    The author of How to Win Friends & Influence People is Dale Carnegie.

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