Summary of Book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Table of Contents


The book How to Win Friends and Influence People was published in 1936. It has been a bestseller since then. People all over the world bought 30 million copies, not taking into consideration electronic versions. The reason for the success is the high value of tips given in the book. It also has a clear structure with a lot of examples. The author took them mostly from his own experience. Dale Carnegie used to be a successful salesman before starting a career as a public speaking coach. Based on his lectures, Carnegie created a self-guide for everyone who wants to succeed in communication in the spheres of business, friendship, and love affairs.

Multiuse Tips

The book consists of 6 sections and contains a vast number of recommendations, techniques, and rules in handling people. Some tips are designed for specific purposes such as convincing people to buy something. Other ones are multi-use. They are:

  • To call people by their names. Carnegie (2009) stated that a “person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language” (p.110). It is a pleasure for people to hear their names being pronounced. A person who calls one by his or her name is unconsciously perceived as a friend;
  • To be positive. Criticism, complaints, condemn are boring and repel people. Optimism is more advantageous as it attracts everyone and allows gaining profit through relations;
  • To appreciate, to pay compliments. It should not be confused with flattery. Compliments should sound sincere and come from the heart. In this way, it will be easy to make friends and to persuade business partners. Fan, Lwakatare, and Rong (2016) explain that “Carnegie presents the use of other’s egotistical tendencies to one’s advantage to get success of building trust” (p. 42).
  • To put questions. One should not be afraid to show curiosity unless it involves personal issues. A favorite topic of everyone is his or her affairs. The more a person tells, the more he or she likes an attentive listener. One should learn how to listen properly, not to interrupt, to ask specifying questions, and to make encouraging noises and moves. Besides, additional information could be useful in further communication;
  • To smile. It is like sending a companion a message that it is a pleasure to see him or her (Carnegie, 2009). A smile is the simplest way to endear someone; it lightens the communication and increases sympathetic understanding;
  • To start and end a conversation or a statement with positives. If a negative idea has to be disclosed, it is better to deliver it in-between appreciating sentences; this is called a sandwich technique;
  • To avoid an argument. An argument breaks and obstructs productive communication. It contradicts the ideas of Carnegie, who teaches to maintain control over the situation. Melroy and Smith (2015) emphasize that ‘the key is to know when and how to change the circumstances and how to properly utilize the resources that are available” (p. 49).


One of the ways to succeed is to become likable. With How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie everyone could learn to charm people. The book has the potential to stay relevant for years to come as it helps every reader to develop invaluable skills to communicate properly and to navigate through life easily.


Carnegie, D. (2009). How to make friends and influence people (80th ed.). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Fan, W., Lwakatare, K., & Rong, R. (2016). Social engineering: IE based model of human weakness to investigate attack and defense. SCIREA Journal of Information Science and Systems Science, 1(2), 34-57.

Melroy, S., & Smith, J. E. (2015). Leadership defined businesses. International Journal of Modern Engineering Research, 5(6), 46-51.

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