How to Win Friends & Influence People, Condensed
Since I am now trapped in Korea for a month with nothing to do, I finally have time to do all the things that were impossible in the last few busy years. One of the things on the top of that list was condensing all the best parts of this great book into one huge blog post. Here goes.
Part One: Fundamental techniques in handling people
Chapter One: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
Human nature in action, the wrong-doer blaming everybody but himself.
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.
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Chapter Two: Give honest, sincere appreciation
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
People sometimes become invalids in order to win sympathy and attention, and get a feeling of importance. For example, take Mrs. McKinley. She got a feeling of importance by forcing her husband, the President of the United States, to neglect important affairs of state while he reclined on the bed beside her for hours at a time, his arms about her soothing her to sleep.
Emerson said: “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”
Chapter Three: Arouse in the other person an eager want
Bait the hook to suit the fish.
The world is full of people like that: grabbing, self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.
Part Two: Six ways to make people like you
Chapter One: Become genuinely interested in other people
If we merely try to impress people and get people interested in us, we will never have many true sincere friends. Friends, real friends, are not made that way. Napoleon tried it, and in his last meeting with Josephine he said: “Josephine, I have been as fortunate as any man ever was on this earth; and yet, at this hour, you are the only person in the world on whom I can rely.” And historians doubt whether he could rely even on her.
It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulty in life and provides the greatest injury to otheres. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.
Chapter Two: Smile
The ancient Chinese are a wise lot: wise in the ways of the world; and they have a proverb that you and I ought to cut out and paste inside our hats. It goes like this: “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”
Chapter Three: Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.
When [Andrew Carnegie] was a boy back in Scotland, he got a hold of a rabbit, a mother rabbit. Presto! He soon had a whole nest of little rabbits – and nothing to feed them. But he had a brilliant idea. He told the boys in the neighborhood that if they would go out and pull enough clover and dandelions to feed the rabbits, he would name the bunnies in their honor. The plan worked like magic; and Carnegie never forgot it. Years later, he made millions by using that same psychology in business. For example, he wanted to sell steel rails to the Pennsylvania Railroad. J. Edgar Thomson was the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad then. So Andrew Carnegie built a huge steel mill in Pittsburgh and called is the “Edgar Thomson Steel Works.”
Here is a riddle. See if you can guess it. When the Pennsylvania Railroad needed steel rails, where do you suppose J. Edgar Thomson bought them? From Sears Roebuck? No. No. You’re wrong. Guess again.
Two hundred years ago, rich men used to pay authors to dedicate their books to them.
Most people don’t remember names for the simple reason that they don’t take the time and energy necessary to concentrate and repeat and fix names indelibly in their minds.
Chapter Four: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
She didn’t want to hear about my travels. All she wanted was an interested listener, so she could expand her ego and tell me about where she had been.
Was she unusual? No. Many people are like that.
What is the secret, the mystery, of a successful business interview? Well, according to that genial scholar Charles W. Eliot, “there is no mystery about successful business intercourse . . . Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that.”
Self-evident, isn’t it? You don’t have to study for four years in Harvard to discover that. Yet I know and you know merchants who will rent expensive space, buy their goods economically, dress their windows appealingly, spend hundreds of dollars in advertising, and then hire clerks who haven’t the sense to be good listeners – clerks who interrupt customers, contradict them, irritate them, and all but drive them from the store.
“The first salesman questioned my honesty. The second one intimated that I had purchased a second-rate article. I boiled. I was on the point of telling them to take their suit and go to hell, when suddenly the head of the department strolled by. He knew his business. He changed my attitude completely. He turned an angry man into a satisfied customer. How did he do it? By three things:
“First, he listened to my story from beginnning to end without saying a word.
“Second, when I had finished and the salesmen again started to air their views, he argued with them from my point of view . . .
“Third, he admitted he didn’t know the cause of the trouble and said to me very simply ‘What would you like me to do with the suit? I’ll do anything you say.’
” Only a few minutes before I had been ready to tell them to keep their confounded suit But now I answered, ‘I want only your advice.”
The chronic kicker, even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener – a listener who will be silent while the irate fault-finder dilates like a king cobra and spews the poison out of his system.
Many people will call a doctor when all they want is an audience.
The man who talks only of himself, thinks only of himself. And “the man who thinks only of himself,” says Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, “is hopelessly uneducated . . . no matter how instructed he may be.”
Remember that the man you are talking to is a hundred times more interested in himself and his problems than he is in you and your problems. His toothache means more to him thatn a famine in China that kills a million people. A boil on his neck interests him more than forty earthquakes in Africa Think of that the next time you start a conversation.
Chapter Five: Talk in terms of the other man’s interests
“Whether it was a cowboy or a Rough Rider, a New York politician or a dipomat, Roosevelt knew what to say to him.” And how was it done? The answer is simple. Whenever Roosevelt expected a visitor, he sat up late the night before reading up on the subject in which he knew his guest was particularly interested.
“A middle-aged man called one evening, and after a political skirmish with my aunt, he devoted his attention to me. At that time, I happened to be excited about boats, and the visitor discussed the subject in a way that seemed to me particularly interesting. After he left, I spoke of him with enthusiasm. What a man! And how tremendously interested in boats! My aunt informed me he was a New York lawyer; that he cared nothing whatever about boats – took not the slightest interest in the subject. ‘But why then did he talk all the time about boats?’
“‘Because he is a gentleman. He saw you were interested in boats, and e talked abut the things he knew would interest and please you. He made himself agreeable.'”
Chapter Six: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
I was waiting in line to register a letter in the Post Office. I noticed that the registry clerk was bored with his job – the same monotonous grind year after year. So I said to myself: “I am going to try to make that chap like me.” Obviously to make him like me, I must say something nice, not about myself, but about him. So I asked myself, “What is there about him that I can honestly admire?” That is sometimes a hard question to answer, especially with strangers; but in this case, it happened to be easy. I instantly saw something I admired to no end. So while he was weighing my envelope, I remarked with enthusiasm: “I certainly wish I had your head of hair.”
He looked up, half startled, his face beaming with smiles, “Well, it isn’t as good as it used to be,” he said modestly. I assured him that although it might have lost some of its pristine glory, nevertheless it was still magnificent. He was immensely pleased. We carried on a pleasant conversation and the last thing he said to me was: “Many people have admired my hair.”
I told this story once in public; and a man asked me afterwards: “What did you want to get out of him?”
What was I trying to get out of him!!! What was I trying to get out of him!!!
If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to screw something out of the other person in return – if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.
Philosophers have been speculating on the rules of human relationships for thousands of years and out of all the speculation, there has evolved only one important precept. It is not new. It is as old as history. Zoroaster taught it to his fire-worshipers in Persia three thousand years ago. Confucius preached it in China twenty-four centuries ago. Lao-Tse, the founder of Taoism, taught it to his disciples in the Valley of the Han. Buddha preached it on the banks of the Holy Ganges five hundred years before Christ. The sacred books of Hinduism taught it a thousand years before that. Jesus taught it among the stony hills of Judea nineteen centuries ago. Jesus summed it up in one thought – probably the most important rule in the world: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
You want the approval of those with whom you come in contact. You want recognition of your true worth. You want a feeling that you are important in your little world. You don’t want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery but you do crave sincere appreciation. You want your friends and associates to be, as Charles Schwab puts it, “Hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise.” All of us want that.
Little phrases such as “I’m sorry to trouble you,” “Would you be so kind as to-,” “Won’t you please,” “Would you mind,” “Thank you” – little courtesies like that oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life – and, incidentally, they are the hallmarks of good breeding.
Do you feel that you are superior to the Japanese? The truth is that the Japanese consider themselves far superior to you. A conservative Japanese, for example, is infuriated at the sight of a white man dancing with a Japanese lady.
Do you consider yourself superior to the Hindus of India? That is your privilege; but a million Hindus feel so infinitely superior to you that they wouldn’t befoul themselves by condescending to touch food that your heathen shadow had fallen across and contaminated.
Do you feel you are superior to the Eskimos? Again, that is your privilege; but would you really like to know what the Eskimo thinks of you? Well, there are a few native hobos among the Eskimos, worthless bums who refuse to work. The Eskimos call them “white men” – that being their utmost term of contempt.
Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism – and wars.
And the pathetic part of it is that frequently those who have the least justification for a feeling of achievement bolster up their inner feeling of inadequacy by an outward shouting and tumult of conceit that are offensive and truly nauseating.
Tonight, or tomorrow night, bring her some flowers or a box of candy. Don’t merely say, “Yes, I
ought to do it.” Do it! And bring a smile in addition, and some warm words of affection. If more
wives and more husbands did that I wonder if we should still have one marriage out of six shattered on the rocks of Reno?
Said Disraeli, one of the shrewdest men who ever ruled the British Empire, “Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours.”
Part Three: Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
Chapter One: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
“We were guests at a festive occasion, my dear Dale. Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didn’t ask for your opinion. He didn’t want it. Why argue with him? Always avoid the acute angle.
“Here lies the body of William Jay,
Who died maintaining his right of way-
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.”
“No man who is resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take the consequences, including personal vitiation of his temper and the loss of self-control. Yield larger things to which you show no more than equal rights; and yield lesser ones though clearly your own. Better to give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.” -Abraham Lincoln
Chapter Two: Show respect for the other man’s opinions. Never tell a man he is wrong.
If you can be sure of being right only 55 percent of the time, you can go down to Wall Street, make a million dollars a day, buy a yacht, and marry a chorus girl. And if you can’t be sure of being right even 55 percent of the time, why should you tell other people they are wrong?
Never begin by announcing, “I am going to prove to you so and so.” That’s bad. That’s tantamount to saying: “I’m smarter than you are. I’m going to tell you a thing or two and make you change your mind.” That’s a challenge. That arouses opposition, and makes the listener want to battle with you before you even start.
Be wiser than other people, if you can; but do not tell them so.
I believe now hardly anything that I believed twenty years ago – except the multiplication table, and I begin to doubt even that when I read about Einstein. In another twenty years, I may not believe what I have said in this book. I am not so sure now of anything as I used to be. Socrates said repeatedly to his followers in Athens: “One thing only I know; and that is that I know nothing.”
There’s magic, positive magic, in such phrases as” I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.” That is what a scientist does.
I once interviewed Stefansson, the famous explorer and scientist who spent eleven years up beyond the Arctic Circle and who lived on absolutely nothing but meat and water for six years. He told me of a certain experiment he had conducted and I asked him what he tried to prove by it. I shall never forget his reply. He said: “A scientist never tries to prove anything. He attempts only to find the facts.”
You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong. It will make [the other fellow] want to admit that he, too, may be wrong.
Few people are logical. Most of us are prejudiced and biased. Most of us are blighted with preconceived notions, with jealousy, suspicion, fear, envy, and pride. And most citizens don’t want to change their minds about their religion or their hair cut or Communism of Clark Gable.
Most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.
When we are wrong, we may admit it to ourselves. And if we are handled gently and tactfully, we may admit it to others and even take pride in our frankness and broad-mindedness.
“I even forbade myself the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix’d opinion, such as ‘certainly’, ‘undoubtedly’, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, ‘I conceive,’ “I apprehend,’ or ‘I imagine,’ a thing to be so or so; or ‘it so appears to me at the present.’ When
another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny’d myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition: and in answering I began observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appear’d or seem’d to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engag’d in went more pleasantly.” -Benjamin Franklin
Chapter Three: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
That policeman, being human, wanted a feeling of importance; so when I began to condemn myself, the only way he could nourish his self-esteem, was to take the magnanimous attitude of showing mercy. But suppose I had tried to defend myself – well, did you ever try to argue with a policeman?
I said “Mr. So-and-so, if what you say is true, I am at fault and there is absolutely no excuse for my blunder. I have been doing drawings for you long enough to know better. I am ashamed of myself.”
Immediately he started to defend me. “Yes, you’re right, but after all, this isn’t a serious mistake. It is only-“
I interrupted him. “Any mistake,” I said, “may be costly and they are all irritating.” For the first time in my life I was criticizing myself – and I loved it.
Any fool can try to defend his mistakes – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.
Remember the old proverb: “by fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.”
Chapter Four: Begin in a friendly way.
Remember what Lincoln said: “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”
When a person has said ‘No,’ all his pride of personality demands that he remains consistent with himself. He may later feel that the ‘No,’ was ill-advised; nevertheless, there is his precious pride to consider. The skillful speaker gets at the outset a number of yes responses. He has thereby set the psychological processes of his listeners moving in an affirmative direction.
It doesn’t pay to argue, it is much more profitable and much more interesting to look at things from the other man’s viewpoint and try to get him saying ‘yes, yes.’
The Chinese have a proverb pregnant with the age-old wisdom of the changeless East: “He who treads softly goes far.”
Chapter Six: Let the other man do a great deal of the talking.
Let the other man talk himself out. He knows more about his business and his problems than you do. So ask him a few questions. Let him tell you a few things.
The truth is even our friends would rather talk to us about their achievements than listen to us boast about ours.
La Rochefoucauld, the French philosopher, said: “If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.”
The Germans have a proverb: “Die reinste Freude ist die Schadenfreude,” which, being interpreted, goes something like this: “The purest joy is the malicious joy we take in the misfortunes of those we have envied.”
We ought to be modest, for neither you nor I amount to mush. Both of us will pass on and be completely forgotten a century from now.
Come to think about it, you haven’t much to brag about anyhow. Do you know what keeps you from becoming an idiot? Not much. Only a nickel’s worth of iodine in you thyroid glands. If a physician were to open the thyroid gland on your neck and take out a little iodine, you would become an idiot. A little iodine that can be bought at a corner drug store for five cents is all that stands between you and an institution for the mentally ill. A nickel’s worth of iodine! That isn’t much to be boasting about, is it?
Chapter Seven: Let the other man feel that the idea is his.
Isn’t it bad judgment to try to ram your opinions down the throats of other people? Wouldn’t it be wiser to make suggestions – and let the other man think out the conclusion for himself?
No man likes to feel that he is being sold something or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying of our own accord or acting on our own ideas.
When Theodore Roosevelt was Governor of New York, he accomplished an extraordinary feat. He kept on good terms with the political bosses and yet he forced through reforms which they bitterly disliked.
When an important office was to be filled, he invited the political bosses to make recommendations.
“At first,” said Roosevelt, “they might propose a broken down party hack, the sort of man who has to be ‘taken care of.’ I would tell them that to appoint such a man would not be good politics, as the public would not approve it.
“Then they would bring me the name of another party hack, a persistent office holder. I would tell them that this man would not measure up to the expectations of the public.
“Their third suggestion would be a man who was almost good enough, but not quite. Then I would thank them, asking them to try once more, and their fourth suggestion would be acceptable; they would name just the sort of man I should have picked out myself. I would appoint this man – and I would let them take the credit for the appointment . . . I would tell them that I had done these things to please them and now it was their turn to please me.”
“The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. So the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them. Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it an injury” – Lao Tse
Chapter Eight: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
I should rather walk the sidewalk in front of a man’s office for two hours before an interview, than step into his office without a perfectly clear idea of what I am going to say and what he – from my knowledge of his interest and motives – is likely to answer.
If, as a result of reading this book you get only one thing – an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view, and see things from his angle as well as your own – if you get only that one thing from this book, it may easily prove to be one of the milestones of your career.
Chapter Nine: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
You deserve very little credit for being what you are – and remember, the man who comes to you irritated, bigoted, unreasoning, deserves very little discredit for being what he is. Feel sorry for the poor devil. Pity him. Sympathize with him. Say to yourself “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
“Sympathy the human species universally craves. The child eagerly displays his injury; or even inflicts a cut or bruise in order to reap abundant sympathy. For the same purpose adults show their bruises, relate their accidents, illnesses, especially details of surgical operations. ‘Self-pity’ for misfortunes real or imaginary is, in some measures, practically a universal practice.
Chapter Ten: Appeal to the nobler motives.
A man usually has two reasons for doing a thing: the one that sounds good and the real one.
When John D. Rockefeller, Hr. wished to stop newspaper photographers from snapping pictures of his children, he too appealed to [photographers’] nobler motives. He said: ” You know how it is, boys. You’ve got children yourselves, some of you. And you know it’s not good for youngsters to get too much publicity.
I am convinced that individuals who are inclined to chisel will in most cases react favorably if you make him feel that you consider him honest, upright and fair.
Chapter Eleven: Dramatize your ideas.
The element of curiosity holds the prospects’ attention.
Experts in window displays know the trenchant power of dramatization.
Chapter Twelve: Throw down a challenge.
The desire to excel! The challenge! Throwing down the gauntlet! An infallible way of appealing to men of spirit.
“I have never foiund that pay and pay alone would either bring together or hold good men. I think it was the game itself.” – Harvey Firestone
If you want to win men – spirited men, men of mettle – to your way of thinking, throw down a challenge.
Chapter One: Begin with praise and honest appreciation
It’s always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
A barber lathers a man before he shaves him.
Chapter Two: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign which said “No Smoking”.
Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read?” Oh no, not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.” They knew they had broken a rule – and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important.
Chapter Three: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
Chapter Four: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
He always gave suggestions, not orders. He never said, for example “Do this or do that,” or “Don’t do this or don’t do that.” He would say, “You might consider this,” or “do you think that would work?”
Mustapha Kemal made a Napoleonic speech to his soldiers, saying “Your goal is the Mediterranean,” and one of the bitterest wars in modern history was on. The Turks won; and when the two Greek generals, Tricoupis and Dionis, made their way to Kemal’s headquarters to surrender, the Turkish people called down curses of heaven upon their vanquished foes.
But Kemal’s attitude was free from triumph.
“Sit down, gentlemen,” he said, grasping their hands. “You must be tired.” Then, after discussing the campaign in detail, he softened the blow of their defeat. “War,” he said, as one soldier to another, “is a game in which the best men are sometimes worsted.”
Chapter Six: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
Chapter Seven: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
The average person can be lead readily if you have his respect and if you show that you respect him for some kind of ability.
Give him a fine reputation to live up to and he will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.
There is an old saying: “Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him.” But give him a good name – and see what happens!
If you must deal with a crook, there is only one possible way of getting the better of him – treat him as if he were an honorable gentleman. Take it for granted he is on the level. He will be so flattered by such treatment that he may answer to it, and be proud that someone trusts him.
She kept praising the things I did right and minimizing my errors. “You have a natural sense of rhythm,” “You really are a natural born dancer.” Now common sense tells me that I always have been and always will be a fourth-rate dancer; yet, deep in my heart, I still like to think that maybe she meant it. To be sure, I was paying her to say it; but why bring that up?
Napoleon was criticized for giving ‘toys’ to war-hardened veterans, and Napoleon replied, “Men are ruled by toys.”
Part Five: Letters that produced results
Almost all the progress ever made in human thought has been made by the Doubting Thomases, the questioners, the challengers, the show-me crowd.
Note that Ken Dyke doesn’t waste time talking about how important his company is. Instead, he immediately shows the other fellow how much he has to lean on him.
Benjamin Franklin asked his enemy to fo him a favor. A favor that
pleased the other man, a favor that touched his vanity, a favor that gave him recognition, a favor that subtly expressed Franklin’s admiration for his knowledge and achievements.
Part Six: Seven rules for making your home life happier
Chapter One: Don’t, don’t nag!
The great tragedy of Lincoln’s life also was his marriage. Not his assassination, mind you, but his marriage. When Booth fired, Lincoln never realized he had been shot; but he reaped almost daily, for twenty-three years, “the bitter harvest of conjugal infelicity.” “Conjugal Infelicity?” That’s putting in mildly. For almost a quarter of a century, Mrs. Lincoln nagged and harassed the life out of him.
Chapter Two: Don’t try to make your partner over
Chapter Three: Don’t criticize
Chapter Four: Give honest appreciation
Chapter Five: Pay little attentions
From time immemorial, flowers have been considered the language of love . . . Yet considering the rarity with which the average husband takes home a bunch of daffodils, you might suppose them to be as expensive as orchids and as hard to come by as the edelweiss which flowers on the cloud-swept cliffs of the Alps.
Chapter Six: Be courteous
We wouldn’t dream of interupting strangers to say, “Good heavens, are you going to tell that old story again!” We wouldn’t dream of opening our friends’ mail without permission,, or prying into their personal secrets. And it’s only the members of our own family, those who are nearest and dearest to us, that we dare insult for their trivial faults.
Many men who wouldn’t dream of speaking sharply to a customer, or even to their partners in business, think nothing of barking at their wives. Yet, for their personal happines, marriage is far more important to them, far more vital, than business.
Compared with marriage, beaing born is a mere episode in our careers, and dying a trivial incident.
Chapter Seven: Read a good book on the sexual side of marriage
Happy marriages are rarely the product of chance: they are architectural in that they are intelligently and deliberately planned.
Sentimental reticence must be replaced by an ability to discuss objectively and with detachment attitudes and practices of married life.