Checklist of 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'


This is a summary of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. The goal of this book is obviously stated through its title 😜. Although at first sight, you might believe this is achieved by tricking others, actually the basic answer is very simple: just give your honest appreciation to others. See the world with their eyes, understand them, and sincerely try to help them.

The principles taught in this book will work only when they come from the heart. I am not advocating a bag of tricks. I am talking about a new way of life.

However, even though this is simple in principle, it is quite far from our first instinct. We tend to focus on ourselves, and me the first. So here I want to make a kind checklist from the book 📃. This way anyone can quickly go through it regularly and be sure to always have it fresh in their mind. I would still recommend reading the book if you haven’t done it yet. It will be easier to get in Carnegie’s mindset this way.

The Fundamentals

In this first part, Carnegie explains the base principles to apply. Then in the following parts, the author gives more specific and directly applicable advice.

1. Never Criticize

While criticizing, you run into the risk of turning people against yourself, for the improbable upside of getting them to do what you want. It rarely works and is very likely to backfire on you.

2. Praise People

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. […] I believe in giving incentives to work.” Charles Schwab

For most people, a priority in life is to feel important. By providing them with this feeling, you give them a reason to do what you want. Just give them your honest appreciation for their own personnality or their action and they will feel their importance.

3. Arouse an Eager Want

No one cares about what you want. People care about their interests. To be able to influence others, you need to understand what matters to them. And once you identify their needs, show them how to get it. First, arouse an eager want, then show them how to obtain it.

Example when in an apparent contradiction:

  1. Start positive.
  2. But … describe the problem for them.
  3. Explain a solution for them.

Make People Love You

Now let’s get into the more practical advice.

1. Show Genuine Interest

A dog makes its living by giving nothing to you but love.

Basically, just show genuine love to others. It can be in little things, like daily greetings. Do things for others, give them time, energy and thoughtfulness. Before you realize it, they will have given it back to you.

Careful though: always be sincere.

2. Smile

It costs nothing but creates much.

You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.

3. Call People by Name

People place big importance on their own name. Remember it and call it easily.

4. Be an Active Listener

Everyone wants an opportunity to expand their ego. So give them an opportunity to do so by actively listening to them. Be interested: Ask questions, encourage them to talk.

Letting people talk is a favor to them: it helps clarify their minds.

5. Find and Talk about Their Interest

Talking in terms of the other person’s interest pays off for both parties.

6. Make Others Feel Important

Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.

Honestly admire others. We all crave for importance. Give to others what you would like to be given → To apply all the time!

Change People Thinking

1. You Cannot Win an Argument

You can’t win an argument. If you lose it, you lose it; If you win it, you lose it.

Arguing only creates resentment. The other person may do what you want, but they won’t do it with goodwill. They won’t change their way of thinking. Just never tell them they are wrong. At least partially agree with them. Make them feel good. Promise to consider their position. Show respect for their opinion.

If you are going to prove anything, don’t let anybody know it. Do it subtly. […] With a few low-keyed suggestions at proper intervals, I let them develop my system themselves.

2. Willfully Admit when you are Wrong

It is also quite likely that you are wrong. It happens surprisingly often. And when we catch ourselves, let’s admit it quickly and with enthusiasm. It will surprise others and put them in a non-fighting mindset. Astonishingly, we may get more from them this way.

3. Begin Friendly

At the start of the conversation or presentation, start in a “friendly mode”. It will put people in a positive mindset. They will be more inclined to see the good side of what you say.

4. The “Yes, yes” Technique

Famously used by Socrates: He often began conversation emphasizing the thing which he knew the other person will agree with. Seeking others agreement with a question, forces to commit to your side. It creates a good atmosphere and makes it easier for them to accept new ideas.

5. Let Others Talk

This will make sure you understand them. If you talk too much and do not give the others enough opportunity to express themselves, you might get into the wrong argument which may not matter to them. Just restrain yourself to an active listener position.

Even better, if you are subtle enough to guide them in their talk, you can make suggestions and give them the feeling of ownership of ideas that you provide them. Once they feel it is their idea, they will become their strong supporter.

6. Understand Others Point of View

Do not condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them.

This is really the key to this book. Try to see things as others experience them. This is the best way to find how to change their mind.

Cooperativeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own.

Everyone craves for the sympathy of other people. Be sympathetic to their ideas. Welcome them with an open mind.

7. Appeal to Nobler Motives

“A person usually has two reasons for doing something: one that sounds good, and a real one” J.P. Morgan

If you want to change people, appeal to their nobler motives. People are honest and fair, or at least they want to feel so.

8. Dramatize, use Showmanship

It makes your idea more vivid. It makes abstractions more concrete and thus easier to grasp. Numbers or concepts do not stick.

9. Challenge People

Carnegie advices using this when nothing else works. Stimulating competition, challenging people will drive their desire to excel. In the end, we are all motivated to do the best we can in the task we achieve.

Being A Leader

How to change people without offending them or causing resentment?

1. Always Begin with Praise

Only critic after you praise. You will set yourself as a friendly figure and thus your point will be received with a more positive mind.

2. Praise the Slight Improvement

Praise as the power to inspire people to go beyond what they thought they could do. The more you use this power, the more they will feel encouraged.

Be specific in your praise. It shows the other you are really sincere. Your words are not empty, they have substance because you can precisely point what is praiseworthy.

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.

3. Fake It Till They Make It

If you show you believe someone has a virtue, state it openly, they will want to live up to the reputation you have given them! It will motivate them, give them a challenge.

Plus, whenever they make mistakes, minimize it. Make it look like a small thing, like something easy to overcome. They may discover something they thought was hard, it actually easy for them once you give them the strength to go beyond their limits.

4. Criticize Indirectly

This one is harder to grasp. Basically, if you point mistakes directly, people may resent you. Instead, only suggest it indirectly. Make the other person understand your point by going around it. The danger is that you wander off too far from your target and that they do not see the point you critic at all.

An example from the book I found quite helpful: A guy wrote a speech and asks the opinion of his wife on it. The speech was quite bad because it would not flow well as a spoken performance. Instead of directly saying so, his wife said that it would make an excellent article. Praising it while making it clear that it would be a boring speech.

5. Start by Stating Your Mistakes

We have seen several starting tips so far. The way you start is important, it sets the mood. It can open or close the mind of the other person. So if you begin talking by criticizing yourself, you communicate to the other that you are a fair and humble person. You are not a distant boss too full of himself.

It isn’t nearly so difficult to listen to a recital of your faults if the person criticizing begins by humbly admitting that he, too, is far from impeccable.

6. The Power of Suggestions

No one likes to receive orders. So instead, try to only suggest a way of doing. Ask them questions that only hint at what you think would be a good way of proceeding. People will be much happier doing things if they feel it is their decision. Or at least that they are involved in the decision process.

Plus, always try to understand what benefits them. Why would they be happy of following your suggestions? How would it benefit them? Sincerely try to match what would be a good outcome for them with what you want to be accomplished. This way, others may be happy of doing what you suggest.

7. Let Others Save Face

I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man dignity is a crime.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

If you destroy other people’s ego, they will always resent you and never follow you.


All these points are simple one by one. But all together they create a system of communication which doesn’t come easily. It’s important to practice it as much as possible. In all our interactions. And there are many recommendations, so it’s hard to keep them all in mind. So come back to this list regularly to refresh your mind 😉.

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