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on August 17, 2002
When I was 12 years old my best friend gave me a copy of this book and told me that I might find it interesting. He could not have been more right, for I delved deep into the book and I finished it in a matter of 2 weeks (to me it was a record to finish a book so quickly at that age!) I found the book to be very informative and entertaining at the same time. The author, Mr. Dale Carnegie, will not introduce a principle or a notion without supporting it with at least one real life story where the principle introduced was proven effective. After that point I noticed a great, almost immediate, effect on my behavior as I was growing up. I noticed that I have become a very good negotiator with my parents and teachers, more popular at school, and I even began to understand people much better than I used to prior to reading the book. I grew up believing that this book was one of the greatest factors involved in shaping my character.
Recently though, I noticed some growing criticism of the book and its teaching, and I thought that this would be a good time for me to refresh what I learned from the book and assess its quality based on the experience I've gained since the first time I read the book. So I bought the unabridged audiotapes of the book and listened to it whenever I was in the car.
Mr. Carnegie said somewhere in the book that if one thing you learn from the book, which is the ability to understand the different views of other people in different situations, then that would be enough. And I agree wholeheartedly.
My judgment is that this book will indeed teach you how to understand the motives and the different forces playing in the different people you meet. Humans all across the globe share basic needs and characteristics that play a major role in forming their attitudes and decisions. Understanding those factors and satisfying them will be the most effective method of influence you'll ever need.
Mr. Carnegie begins the book with the foundations of developing this skill of understanding others. He extends three principles that if applied will help you identify what other people want and how you can satisfy them. After that he introduces six ways to make people like you. These methods hover around the same three principles mentioned in the beginning of the book. After that the author discusses in two parts methods and principles that help you influence people to your way of thinking.
All of this seems interesting but why are people criticizing this book, you wonder. The first issue with this book is the title. It says "How to win friends and influence people." I would have called it "How to make people like you and influence their behavior." The methods Dale introduces aren't for winning friends. You don't win friends by avoiding arguments and by projecting enthusiasm that is not honest. You'll only have them like you, but they are not won as friends, yet at least. Honesty is absent in Carnegie's teachings, and sometimes even unadvised! In one story he tells of a manager of a singer who would lie to the singer just to get him on stage!
Another observation I had on the book was the relevance of some of the stories to the principle being introduced. Some of those principles would not have worked in the stories he mentioned have the circumstances been even little different! Yet Dale would acclaim the introduced principle as the reason that the story reached the happy ending it did. But, to the benefit of the author, this happened only a few times overall and it doesn't degrade the whole quality of the book.
Nevertheless, the lack of emphasis on honesty is a serious issue. This has caused many reviewers to warn readers from reading this book. But here is where I disagree.
You'll need to read this book to learn the methods, not just to be able to understand other people, but also to be ready when others are applying them to influence you. I'll have to agree that some of these methods are extremely powerful especially if the receiver isn't ready for them. Reading this book will make you resilient to the weapons of many unwanted salesmen and negotiators.
My advice is to read but with caution. Learn the methods but always remember that honesty should always be present when these methods are being applied.
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on June 26, 2004
His advice is so obvious and so easy, so how come it's so difficult to do yourself and so rarely found in others? Is it cynicism or manipulation? No, it's human nature: Do Unto Others ...
? "Speak ill of no man and speak all the good you know of everyone."
People react very badly to criticism; don't do it, not to their face nor behind their back ... especially not behind their back.
? Say "Thank You".
Express appreciation. People yearn, yearn to be appreciated.
? Talk about what people want and help them get it.
"Arouse in others an eager want."
Corollary: let others take credit for your ideas; they'll like your ideas a lot more if they believe them to be their own.
? Be happy to see people.
Greet everyone you meet and show an interest in them. Remember the things that are important to them.
? Smile!
? Remembers peoples' names!!
Remember it, use it when talking to them. A person's name sounds beautiful to them.
? Draw people out.
Encourage them to talk about themselves and their interests.
? Actively research the other person's interests.
? Every person you meet feels themselves superior to you in some way.
Strain to find out what that is and recognize their importance. Talk to people about themselves and they will listen to you for hours.
? Don't argue!
Give in! Agree that the other person is right; often they are and if they aren't, you'll never convince them of it by arguing.
? Don't ever tell a person they're wrong.
They may be but telling them so is always counterproductive. It is difficult for a person to admit to themselves that they are wrong; harder still to admit it to others.
? If you know you're wrong, admit it.
Openly and freely admit whenever you're wrong. And always leave open the possibility that you're wrong even of you think you aren't.
? Friendliness begets friendliness.
Always begin that way. Don't accuse.
? Never neglect a kindness.
Look for ways to do or say something nice.
? Start out by emphasizing areas of agreement.
When a person has said "no" it's hard to get them to change even if they know they're wrong.
? Let the other person do most of the talking.
Listen patiently and don't interrupt. Let your friends be better than you.
? Let people come to your conclusions.
First, tell me what you expect of me; then tell me what I can expect of you. People will generally live up to the commitments they make to you as long as they came up with them on their own.
? Think always in terms of the other person's point of view.
Where they stand depends on where they sit; figure out where they're sitting.
? ? of the people you will ever meet are dying for sympathy.
Give it to them and they will love you.
? A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
? Dramatize your ideas.
"Don't use logic; tell stories." Make your ideas visible, concrete. Bear in mind that people don't know until you show them what you mean.
? Stimulate in others their innate desire to excel (perhaps through a friendly challenge or through competition).
? Don't go sailing into difficult interpersonal situations with guns blazing. You'll always get a negative reaction.
? Change "but" into "and".
Be indirect in your criticism. Praise before you condemn.
? Ask questions rather than giving orders.
? Be very careful to help others preserve their dignity.
? People crave recognition: praise the smallest improvement and praise every improvement.
? Treat people as though they had the virtues you wished they possessed.
Give them a reputation to live up to and they will work like crazy to live up to it.
? Praise the good; minimize the bad: encourage.
Make achievement seem possible. Take and encourage little baby steps. Seek out even the most insignificant of successes.
? Napoleon: I could conquer the world if only I had enough ribbon.
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on March 7, 2014
EDIT: March 24, 2014.

I've been giving a lot of thought as to why this book didn't work for me, and I think I've figured it out.

There is an old saying -- walk softly, but carry a big stick. I've heard it said often, but was never really clear on what it meant. I have it now. The thing is, your niceness is only valuable if there's a threat you might cut it off at any moment. The "big stick" is there to say 'I'm inoffensive now, but I might attack if needed.' Carnegie does not teach that -- he tells you to be nice, and be nice, and keep being nice, and somehow everyone will reciprocate. But this does not really happen, at least in anything but the most superficial relationships. You know how they say "chicks don't like nice guys?" It's that phenomenon at work.

If you read the book, you'll notice that most of his example success stories are about people who are already in authority trying to get better behavior out of underlings -- like the construction manager whose workers wouldn't wear their hardhats, or the story of Charles Schwab fixing his employees who ignored the No Smoking sign at work. Of course it makes them happy and agreeable if THE BOSS is being nice to them! But if you're just a nobody who hasn't any power over their lives, who cares? They've got more important things than to go out of their way for you in turn. You can give give give, but if they don't perceive your kindness as valuable, it doesn't matter.

I also highly recommend the review at as this person had a very similar experience to mine as far as the kind of "friends" you win by trying this.
(original review:)

When I first got this book, about 10 years ago, I was extremely impressed with it and most pleased with my discovery. I learned a lot about how people think and how we can unintentionally hurt people, how kindness can be more influential than criticism, etc. My copy of this book is all dog-eared and full of underlined passages. I've read it multiple times.

But I can say after 10 years of putting it to practice, that for me, this book really seems to have utterly failed in the promise of its title.

I have a suspicion some of this failure is ultimately a failure caused by the book's past success -- that is, the book became so influential, especially amongst business people, that the public has grown accustomed to these tactics. They've become immune. The recommended actions consequently don't have power anymore. Example: the book talks about the value of greeting people with a smile. But now, everyone expects to be greeted with a smile during business exchanges, and knows subconsciously it's an effort to manipulate them. They don't return the smile or become better humored; instead they seem to perceive your staged(?) grin as evidence that you're not a "real" person who is to be treated respectfully, but a flunky who is just trying to kiss up to them.

I also had a problem, personally, as a female with this book's recommended behaviors. I have discovered, time and again, that following the advice about being nice and pleasant seems to just make men think I'm trying to have sex with them, leading to many unpleasant situations, both in business and daily life. I'll bet Carnegie didn't worry that women come off as flirty and submissive when following his advice, because in the 30s women didn't usually need to conduct business with men. Which brings me to my next point --

I notice most of the reviews that complain about the book being dated are referencing the writing style or the anecdotes. Actually, I think the book is dated because it was born out of a totally different culture. A lot of stuff has changed since 1937. A lot of behavior that nowadays is acceptable would have been considered shocking or very low-class when this thing was written, and so this book was not written to anticipate.

All in all, I just find no one cooperates with the recommended behaviors, even when you literally do them by the book. I'll try to overlook people's flaws and mistakes as advised -- and the people seem to just take advantage of it to do worse quality work or be more rudely behaved. I'll try to make the other person feel important and take interest in them -- and wind up getting molested for my trouble because they think it's an act of sexual interest. I'll suggest instead of instructing -- and find my idea beaten down all the worse because it sounds "unsure." I'll try to be friendly -- and get walked all over.

After analyzing the issues, I'm convinced the book ought not be called How to Win Friends and Influence People. A more apt title would be How to Be Friendly and Avoid Conflict. Those are the valuable lessons of the work. The rest -- it's stuff that applies to old men making business relationships, not real friendships, nor typical social interaction for joy's own sake, nor trying to get superiors to heed your views.

In the end, I think I might actually be worse off for having read this book and trained myself to its techniques. I've been brought much harm and little good from it.
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on February 9, 2004
I have to admit that people skills were never my strongpoint. While I had no problem making friends, my problem was handling problem people and taking a leadership role.
I read the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" many times. It made all the difference in human relations and I made the transition to a people person to the point where I can handle anybody and have developed strong leadership skills.
While the book is great, I really enjoy the cd's. Nice 8 pack that helps to reinforce the material while driving around. Great program.
Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" was the first and best self help book. In my opinion it is still the best.
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on April 3, 2005
For those of us who work in psychology, there is often a tendency to look down on works that were created for the mainstream population. They are sometimes dismissed as "pop psychology." I believe that I regarded How to Win Friends... until I read it upon the recommendation of a friend. I could not have been more wrong about a book. Although Carnegie's title is often the target of derision, it is a deceptively deep and important work. There's a very good reason why How to Win Friends... has been a bestseller for seventy years as the man shares essential truths with us about human behavior. Every single one of us can profit from his advice. His central ideas, such as that one should avoid arguments whenever possible, cannot be questioned. The command that one should listen to others and let them talk about themselves is crucial to being liked. A "simple" idea like that one is one that actually works. I'm considering putting his nine rules for effective leadership on my wall so I can remember to generate enthusiasm in others and lead by example.

I was really surprised as to how much this book matters and how much I learned by reading it. Yes, some of the advice may be obvious, but it brings the correct way in which to interact with others to the forefront of the mind and that's why it's so valuable.
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on May 23, 2004
It's simply A-maz-ing that this great book is still the best human realtions book on the planet and remains a best seller after 80 years!
I've been through 6 copies so far. Great book. Highly recommended.
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on February 9, 2004
A friend of mine just got me started in a network marketing company. I asked his upline what is the best way to get my business started off quickly. And he said, "people--you need to go out and meet people."
I was ready to quit. Nobody I knew would be a good candidate for a business and meeting new people and approaching them on a business opportunity scared the heck out of me.
He suggested that I read How To Win Friends and Influence People and that this book would teach me what I needed to know to develop the ability to positively influence other people. Cool.
I read the book and it worked. I overcame my fears and created a great downline. Now I am recommending How To Win Friends and Influence People to everyone I know. By the way, I also overcame my fear of public speaking and am conducting both business presentations and trainings for my reps.
The book is great. I highly recommend it.
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on August 27, 2003
In discussions with clients, I am becoming increasingly aware that many scientific and technical folks are being placed in leadership positions for the first time with little or no training and the most popular topic of discussion is "How do I motivate people?"
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great place to start. Although its title provokes images of snake oil salesmen, or Chris Farley's Saturday Night Live bit as Matt Foley, motivational speaker, the book is filled with timeless instruction written in plain language. For example, in his chapter on listening skills, Carnegie explains why listening is so important:
"Remember that the people you are talking to are 100 times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. Remember that a person's toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people."
Although the book was originally penned in 1936, it has been updated over the years and its popularity has not diminished. It contains thirty principles of human behavior that are illustrated with copious examples. Quotations and anecdotes are included from scores of historical figures including Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Sigmund Freud, Charles Schwab, and Confucius. I found the top ten principles to include the following:
* Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
* Give honest and sincere appreciation.
* Become genuinely interested in other people.
* If you are wrong, admit it quickly andemphatically.
* Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
* Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view
* Dramatize your ideas.
* Let the other person save face.
* Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
* Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
If you can get past the title, I highly recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People as guidebook for motivating people.
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on May 30, 2004
To sum this book up very briefly it is both powerful and life changing. Anyone can benefit from reading and applying the time tested principles in this classic by Carnegie.
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on March 27, 2004
Without a doubt, How To Win Friends and Influence People is the #1 all time best book on human relations. Carnegies ideas worked 70 years ago and they work today. Why? People are the same. We all have the same needs, wants, desires and dreams that we had 70 years ago. The core hasn't changed. So that makes this book even more valuable today, now than ever.
Also, take a look at what is going on in the world. If even there was a time when people needed people skills it is now. Take a look at the Democrat Party. If ever there was a group that needed people skills, it is there.
If I had to pick out just one point that is the most important in this book it is being genuinely interested in the other person. In fact, I think a lot of reviewers here on this board can take a clue from that one.
How To Win Friends and Influence People is a fantastic book---more valuable now than ever.
Buy it - read it - use it.
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