How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1937 in an edition of only five thousands copies. It’s now one of the all-time international bestsellers with more than 16 million sold. It’s also my latest read. Here’s the blurb (and a free copy giveaway further down).
“In his exuberant, conversational style, internationally bestselling author Dale Carnegie offers practical advice and techniques for how to get out of a mental rut and make your life more rewarding.
“His advice has stood the test of time and will tell you how to:
- Make friends quickly and easily
- Win people over to your way of thinking
- Improve your conversation skills and become more entertaining
- Acquire new clients and customers
“How to Win Friends and Influence People has the potential to turn around your relationships and improve your dealings with all of the people in your life.”
A justifiably bold statement, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the book is aimed primarily at business relationships (when you have something to sell or promote), and less-so at personal relationships, where you expect people to see both your ups and your downs.
Here are a few quotes from throughout the book that will give you a taste of what’s included.
“Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people, that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of his success? ‘I will speak ill of no man,’ he said, ‘…and speak all the good I know of everybody.'”
“Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.”
“Abe Lincoln once remarked that ‘most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.'”
“‘Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof,’ said Confucius, ‘when your own doorstep is unclean.'”
“‘A great man shows his greatness,’ said Carlyle, ‘by the way he treats little men.'”
“Lincoln once began a letter saying: ‘Everybody likes a compliment.’ William James said: ‘The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.'”
“If some people are so hungry for a feeling of importance that they actually go insane to get it, imagine what miracle you and I can achieve by giving people honest appreciation this side of insanity.”
“‘I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,’ said [Charles] Schwab, ‘the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.'”
“Wise words from General Obregon’s philosophy: ‘Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.'”
“I once read a definition of flattery that may be worth repeating: ‘Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.'”
“Here is one of the best bits of advice ever given about the fine art of human relationships. ‘If there is any one secret of success,’ said Henry Ford, ‘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.'”
“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.”
“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”
“A long time ago, a hundred years before Christ was born, a famous old Roman poet, Publilius Syrus, remarked: ‘We are interested in others when they are interested in us.'”
“‘There is nothing either good or bad,’ said Shakespeare, ‘but thinking makes it so.'”
“Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”
“I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
I was going to give my copy to one of you, but it’s the kind of book I see myself picking up from time-to-time, reading a section here and there as a refresher.
So I’ll send a new copy instead. Just leave a comment with the title of a favourite business book, and I’ll draw a winner on Friday 23rd (updating the post with the winning name and emailing the recipient for a mailing address).
Update: 23 April
Congrats to Rob Cubbon, who was randomly drawn as the winner. Email sent, Rob.
Purchase How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Looking for more? A few good books.