There’s a reason that “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has sold 15 million copies – because it’s really that good.
As you read the book, you’ll lose count of the number of times you say to yourself, “Well, that’s obvious.” But seeing all the advice in one place, with real life stories of how people resolved tricky situations, really made their importance stick in my mind.
You could sum up the whole book a few sentences: Everyone is the most important person in their own life, and they believe that they are right about everything. Treat them that way, and you can get whatever you want. But I still recommend reading this book, to see how people have done this in their lives.
One question that still buzzed around in the back of my mind, after finishing, was, “If I do this, who’s going to ‘stroke my ego’?” I think that’s why most of us don’t practice these principles, even though they are fairly simple. If I figure out a way to resolve this issue, I may need to write my own book.
In their own minds, everyone believes themselves to be good.
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 interest.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
How to 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 opinion. 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 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.
How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment
- 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 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.
Guidelines to keep in mind when trying to change attitudes or behavior:
- Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
- Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
- Be empathetic. Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants.
- Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
- Match the benefits to the other person’s wants.
- When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he will personally benefit.
Six maxims of King George V in Buckingham Palace (one was mentioned in the book)
- Teach me to be obedient to the rules of the game.
- Teach me to distinguish between sentiment and sentimentality, admiring the one and despising the other.
- Teach me neither to proffer nor receive cheap praise.
- If I am called upon to suffer, let me be like a well-bred beast that goes away to suffer in silence.
- Teach me to win, if I may; if I may not win, then teach me to be a good loser.
- Teach me neither to cry for the moon nor over spilt milk.
These investigations revealed that even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering – to personality and the ability to lead people.
My popularity, my happiness and sense of worth depend to no small extent upon my skill in dealing with people.
The way to develop self-confidence, he said, is to do the thing you fear to do and get a record of successful experiences behind you.
As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation.
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.
“I speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.” Benjamin Franklin
“A great man shows his greatness,” said Carlyle, “By the way he treats little men.”
Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.”
“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,” said Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”
“There is nothing I need as much as nourishment of my self-esteem.” Alfred Lunt
Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself, “How can I make this person want to do it?”
If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.
Everybody in the world is seeking happiness – and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.
If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of the sentence.
Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.
“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.” – Galileo
“Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so.” – Lord Chesterfield
“If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.” – La Rochefoucauld
“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I would rather walk the sidewalk in front of a person’s office for two hours before an interview, than step into that office without a perfectly clear idea of what I was going to say and what that person – from my knowledge of his or her interests and motives – was likely to answer.” – Dean Donham
The only reason, for example, that you are not a rattlesnake is that your mother and father weren’t rattlesnakes.
… a person usually has two reason for doing a thing: one that sounds good and the real one.
This great contemporary psychologist [B.F. Skinner] has shown by experiments with animals and with humans that when criticism is minimized and praise emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy for lack of attention.
“Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him.”
“The first thing to learn in intercourse with others is noninterference in their own peculiar way of being happy, provided those ways do not assume to interfere by violence with ours.” – Henry James
“I would give up all my genius, and all my books, if there were only some woman, somewhere, who cared whether or not I came home late for dinner.” – Turgenev
What I’ve done in my life, based on this book
- Every Sunday morning, write a review of my last week (what went right and wrong), and how to improve the coming week.
- Every weekday, I look for an opportunity to send a sincere message of appreciation to someone – even if I’ll never meet them in person, or do business with them. Besides the benefits described in the book (for people you hope to ‘get’ something from), I think this builds up a mental ‘appreciation muscle’, which will be a good thing to have in all facets of my life.
- The principles listed are great tactics. Now I need to work on how to apply them strategically, to help me create the life I want to have. It’s going to take a little while to figure that out, but I expect it will have a huge impact on the quality of my life.
To get your own copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, click here.